May 16, 2012 - National Sea Monkey Day

Do you know what “Sea Monkeys” are?

Well, they certainly aren't monkeys!

Sea Monkeys are teeny-tiny brine shrimp that are sold through the mail. Supposedly the brine shrimp tails are like monkey's curling tails—but if you buy some expecting the critters to look like those in the ad, you are going to be really disappointed!

Here's a magnified picture of one sort of Sea Monkey. 

And this is what Sea Monkeys look like in a tank.

One thing that is fun about Sea Monkeys is that they seem to come instantly to life. Do you want to know the secret of how that happens? If so, read the rest of this paragraph. If you want to order some Sea Monkeys and try to figure it out for yourself, you will want to skip to the next paragraph... Apparently the Sea Monkey kit includes a packet that is labeled “Water Purifier.” That packet includes salt and some brine shrimp eggs. After 24 hours, the Sea Monkey owner is prompted to add a packet labeled “Instant Life Eggs”; this packet includes (as you might imagine) a lot more brine shrimp eggs, plus more salt, plus yeast for food, and sometimes a dye—and the brine shrimp that had already hatched from eggs over the previous day see to appear instantly. You see how the trick is done? The eggs you just poured in don't instantly come to life—but you'd poured eggs into the water the day before, when you thought it was just water purifier!

Once Sea Monkeys are safely hatched, owners can feed them the packet labeled “Growth Food,” which is yeast and algae. Many owners are disappointed that their Sea Monkeys don't live two years, as promised in ads, but brine shrimp CAN live that long—they just usually don't. Some owners have had good batches of Sea Monkeys that live about three months.

For some strange reason, Sea Monkeys have a cult following—people who love these hard-to-spot, short-lived “pets” and who start websites and declare today National Sea Monkey Day! Sometimes Sea Monkeys are mentioned on TV or in movies, and in 1992 there was even a cartoon called The Amazing Live Sea Monkeys, whose characters were based on the humanlike pictures in the ads. I think the coolest thing about Sea Monkeys may be that astronaut John Glenn took a package of them (not yet hatched) into space for nine days—and later they hatched and grew up to be completely normal.

If you are interested in buying Sea Monkeys, you can purchase them at Discover This

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  1. When I was a kid I had Sea Monkey a few times but I never knew exactly what they were all about. My kids and I enjoyed this post and we will get some Sea Monkeys soon :)

    1. My parents never let me order Sea Monkeys. They thought the ads were very deceptive, and when they explained what I would really get, if we did order them, I was quite disappointed. So I guess the ads had really fooled me.

      It's hard to remember being so young and gullible that I could think for a moment that teensy little people who lived underwater could really be ordered by mail for just a few dollars!