Animal Encounters

Fun Animal Encounters

From a hairy tarantula to a talking African gray parrot, you never know what you’ll bump into in Ranger Rick's Backyard Safari at the Tennessee Aquarium!


Animal Keeper

Animal Keeper Updates

Get a peek behind the scenes of the Aquarium’s Husbandry department. Read their weekly animal updates and get an insider’s look at caring for over 10,000 animals and plants.


Emperor Nautilus

Nautilus pompilius

ON EXHIBIT:  Boneless Beauties at Ocean Journey.

Emperor Nautilus

Nautiluses are related to octopi, squid and mollusks. However, unlike their close relatives, nautiluses lack an ink gland, have very poor eye sight, an external shell and can reproduce more than once in their lifetime.  Nautiluses can have as many as 100 tentacles. These tentacles lack the suction cups common on other cephalopods’ tentacles and instead use ridges to grip.

The nautilus has a soft body with no internal skeleton. A hard external shell protects the nautilus. The large size and vibrant coloration of the shell makes the emperor nautilus a common victim in the shell trade. A nautilus cannot live if separated from its shell.

Fan Photo

Send us your photo

About This Animal

SIZE: Shell diameter to 7 inches

RANGE: Andaman Sea to Fiji and southern Japan to the Great Barrier Reef

HABITAT: Steep reef walls to 1300 feet deep

DIET: Small crabs, remains of other animals.