In the world of seahorses, it is the male’s duty to incubate the eggs and give birth. In this case, that means shooting hundreds of babies out of his brood pouch like an underwater shotgun.
The video was filmed at The Deep’s submarium, a public aquarium and research facility near Humber estuary in Hull, England, that houses thousands of different sea creatures.
This underwater duo was part of a batch of illegally imported seahorses that were seized by customs officials. Too many for the London Zoo aquarium to care for, The Deep helped out by taking this breeding pair. And good thing too: Seahorses are monogamous and mate for life. We wouldn’t want to separate life partners, now would we.
You may notice the tank is not exactly an inviting, comforting habitat. That’s because the video was taken when they were in quarantine. They were later moved to better facilities at The Deep. Many seahorses such as these are classified as vulnerable on the ICUN Red List due to habitat destruction, pollution, harvesting and illegal trade for use in traditional Asian medicines.
Apart from the rarity of a male giving birth in the animal kingdom, seahorses are unique in another way: They have no teeth and no stomach, which means they need to eat almost constantly. And contrary to what many think, they are actually carnivores—feeding on plankton and small crustaceans, such as brine shrimp.
In the video below, the action really starts at the 55 second mark. Make sure you stay until 1:40 when the last little baby zips out. The animal kingdom is full of weird and wonderful surprises. Enjoy!