Urchin Facts for Kids

Cartoon Urchin | Alphabetimals.com

Urchin

Join Albert as he explores amazing urchin facts for toddlers, preschoolers and kindergartners. Click on the images to hear silly sounds and then read about fun urchin facts like what do urchins look like?, what sound do urchins make?, how big are urchins?, what do urchins eat?, where do urchins live?, and more fun facts about urchins!

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What do urchins look like?

Sea urchin

Urchins are invertebrates. This means that they don’t have a backbone like we do.

They look like round, hard balls covered in spines. If you touch these, they can hurt. This helps to protect them from animals that might eat them.

Urchins can be very pretty. Different types are different colors. Some are pink and purple, others are blue, green or red.  

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What sound do urchins make?

Cartoon Urchin | Alphabetimals.com
Microphone

Click the the image to hear the sound!

Urchins don’t make any sounds to speak to one another but when they scrape food off rocks, the scraping could be heard if you had very good hearing.

Cute cartoon boy measuring with a stick

How big are urchins?

Cartoon Urchin | Alphabetimals.com
Cartoon soccer ball

Some urchins are small enough to fit into your hand, about 2 inches (5 centimeters) round. Some urchins are very big, about the size of a soccer ball (24 inches, 60 centimeters).

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What do urchins eat?

Cartoon seaweed
Cartoon clam
Blue fish
Cartoon jellyfish

Urchins are omnivores. That means that they eat both vegetation and meat.

They are also opportunistic which means that they’ll take the opportunity to eat anything that comes along. 

They have a beak-like mouth underneath them and only have 5 teeth! They scrape off algae, seaweed, barnacles and mussels to eat. They also eat kelp and comb the sea floor looking for dead animals to scavenge. They eat dead things like fish and jellyfish.

Amazingly, urchins can be predatory which means that they can hunt and eat prey! They might not move as fast as a cheetah, but they chase prey such as starfish (sea stars) to eat.

Some urchins sift through sea water, sand and mud to find nutrients. This is called filter feeding.

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Where do urchins live?

Ocean background
Cartoon Urchin | Alphabetimals.com

Urchins live in the oceans all around the world. Some live in warm water and some live in cold water. You can find urchins in the shallows and on coral reefs as well as on the murky depths of the sea floor. 

Some live 3 miles (5 kilometers) deep underwater!

More fun facts about urchins for kids

  • Sea urchins have been on the Earth for 500 million years! That’s before the dinosaurs even existed!
  • Sea urchins are symmetrical. That means that each part of their body looks the same as another part. The urchin can be chopped into 5 identical parts. We are symmetrical too. If we draw a line down our body from head to toe you can see on each side of the line we have one eye, one nostril, one arm, one hand, one leg and one foot. We have 2 lines of symmetry, urchins have 5.
  • Urchins have hundreds of feet. Their feet don’t look like ours though. They are more like little tubes or suckers. These help them stick onto things and pull themselves along.
  • Urchins use their feet to see! Their feet are tentacle-like tubes that stick out of their shell. These tubes (or feet) can sense light, helping the urchin move in the right direction.
  • The flower urchin is the most dangerous in the world. It has venom in its spines which can kill a person. Clown fish can make themselves immune to the flower urchin. That means that they will be ok if they get pricked by the urchin’s spines. They lightly touch the urchin so that they get used to the venom then, when they are immune, they can eat the parasites on the urchin’s body.
  • Some people eat sea urchins! The Japanese love eating them raw.
  • Some sea urchins can live up to 200 years old! However, pet urchins usually only live until about 30.

Sources: Wikipedia, Live Science, Creative Commons, Britannica.com and Freesound.org

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Alphabetical list of animals that start with U

A full alphabetical list of popular animal names that begin with the letter U for toddlers and preschool kids.

  1. Uakari
  2. Umbrellabird
  3. Unau (sloth)
  4. Unicorn (mythical)
  5. Urchin
  6. Urial
  7. Uromastix

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