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!

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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.

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Leather Sea Star

Dermasterias imbricata

ON EXHIBIT:  Boneless Beauties at Ocean Journey.

Leather Sea Star

FUN FACTS
This sea star gets its common name from its smooth skin.  Its soft skin can exude a mucous making it feel slippery to the touch. The leather sea star does not have spines like other sea stars, but six-eight rows of papulae, small feathery sacks used for respiration on each of its five arms. Sea stars are unique because unlike most other animals they do not have blood but instead use sea water to pump around their bodies.


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About This Animal

SIZE: Up to 10 inches diameter

RANGE: Prince William Sound, Alaska to Sacramento Reef, Baja California

HABITAT:Mostly found in rock areas from intertidal to about 300 ft deep

DIET: Sea anemones, sea cucumbers and sea urchins