Fun Nautilus Facts For Kids

Joan Agie
Nov 16, 2022 By Joan Agie
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Nautilus facts about the advanced mollusk species with a different brain structure.

Have you ever played with a shell and wondered where it came from? Yes, these shells belong to the members of the Mollusca phylum.

Nautilus is one such member that belongs to the Nautilidae family that relies on jet propulsion to roam around the ocean. They are known to have existed 500 million years ago, that is, even before the dinosaurs, and are one of the first ancestors of the cephalopoda.

They are also called living fossils that exist at the bottom of the sea. They are distant cousins to octopuses and squids and are found in the Indo-Pacific area.

There are many interesting characteristics about these living ocean creatures that will make you keener about them. Here are some fun facts on nautilus mollusks. For more relatable content, check out these blue-ringed octopus facts and mimic octopus facts for kids.

Nautilus Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a nautilus?

Nautilus is a marine mollusk that belongs to the Nautilidae family. They are the oldest ancestors of the Cephalopoda class. They have beautiful shells which protect them from the attack of other animals. They are small in size and rely on jet propulsion for movement in the ocean.

What class of animal does a nautilus belong to?

Nautilus is a marine mollusk that belongs to the cephalopod class. Nautilus is a genus that comes under the Nautilida order of the Nautilidae family. Its common species name is Nautilus pompilius. They are also called pearly nautilus or chambered nautilus. They are still unchanged after so many years and are called living fossils.

How many nautiluses are there in the world?

There is no accurate estimate of the total number of nautilus in the world. Nautilus pompilius is listed as the vulnerable species under Endangered Species Act.

Where does a nautilus live?

Nautilus is found in the oceans. They live in the bottom parts of the Indo-Pacific area. They are seen in the shallow waters of the Loyalty Islands and New Caledonia.  They are also found in the coastal areas of the Indian Ocean.

What is a nautilus's habitat?

Nautilus prefer to live at the bottom of the shores and the deep slopes of coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific areas where they can easily search for the food. They are known to occupy a very deep area. They do prefer temperatures above 77 °F (25 °C).

Who do nautiluses live with?

In its natural habitat, the nautilus mollusk species tends to live alone and search food food all by themselves. But in aquarium settings, they can get along well with several other aquatic animals.

How long does a nautilus live?

Nautilus has an average lifespan of 20 years and sometimes it can be more than 20 years under an ideal habitat.

How do they reproduce?

Nautilus are sexually dimorphic and reaches sexual maturity at 15-16 years of age. Fertilization happens internally. Female nautilus lay 10-20 eggs and these eggs are hatched and develop within 8-12 months. Female nautilus spawns once a year. Newly hatched nautilus at first has a small chamber that is about 1 in (2.5 cm) in diameter.

What is their conservation status?

Nautilus is Not Evaluated by IUCN, but they do face a reduction in population in their different habitat areas. Humans search for them to obtain beautiful shells that can be used as ornaments as well as souvenirs and collected by shell collectors.

Nautilus Fun Facts

What do nautiluses look like?

Nautilus is a marine mollusk known for its beautiful shells that have a pattern of brown stripes over the white shell. The shell contains around 30 chambers which develop into logarithmic shapes.

In the outermost chamber, which is the largest of all chambers, lies their soft body and the other chambers are used for maintaining buoyancy. They have around 90 tentacles that do not have suckers.

The interior chambers are connected by a siphuncle. They roam around the sea with jet propulsion. Nautilus lacks a solid lens.

Nautilus has one mouth comprising of a parrot like beak with two jaws.

How cute are they?

Nautilus shells are very beautiful and are in high demand. These animals are small and cute in appearance, as a result they can please anyone who looks at them even once.

How do they communicate?

Sounds and vibrations can be detected in mollusks. Even though they have good eye structure, they do not have a solid lens. They use smell for communicating with each other and for foraging.

How big is a nautilus?

Nautilus has a length of 8-10 in (20.3-25.4 cm) of diameter as they are spiral in shape. They are much smaller than an octopus.

How fast can nautiluses move?

Nautilus uses jet propulsion to move fast inside the sea, which is in a see-saw motion. They move fast with the help of this type of motion wherein the water pumps through the living chamber and the creature expels water through pulling its body into the chamber.

This creates a jet propulsion that allows this animal to thrust itself backwards and to make turns.

How much does a nautilus weigh?

On an average scale, a nautilus weighs around 0.9-1.3 lb (0.4-0.6 kg). This may vary according to its food habits and surroundings. Lobsters are nearly 10 times bigger than nautilus.

What are the male and female names of the species?

As nautilus is a mollusk, its common species is N. pompilius.  A male and a female nautilus do not have any particular name. Hence, they are known as males and females respectively.

What would you call a baby nautilus?

A baby nautilus is commonly called a larvae.

What do they eat?

Nautilus are carnivores and are opportunistic predators. Their diet includes crabs, lobsters and carrions. They are scavengers. Predators of nautilus include octopus, teleost fish, sharks, and snappers.

Are they dangerous?

Compared to other cephalopods, nautilus are not dangerous and do not attack humans. But most of the cephalopods are known to be venomous. But still, you are requested to please exercise caution while handling these creatures.

Would they make a good pet?

Nautilus cannot be kept as a pet because they are very difficult to maintain in aquariums. They need refrigerated, cylindrical tanks and several other living conditions. Cephalopods are not suitable for keeping pets. So, please gather all necessary information before you decide to adopt a nautilus.

Did you know...

Nautilus lack suckers, unlike octopus. Instead of suckers, their arms contain sticky substances which help them to capture their prey.

Ocean Exploration Trust Inc (all rights reserved) and the Nautilus Exploration Program aim to search the ocean for making new discoveries.

This marine creature has inspired the name of Nautilus Inc. (all rights reserved) engaged in development of fitness equipment.  

The literal meaning of Nautilus is sailor, as in ancient Greece, paper nautiluses were thought to use two of their arms as sails.

How to get nautilus shells?

Nautilus shells are usually seen on the beach drifts. They are deposited on the shores by the waves.

What to do with nautilus shells?

Nautilus shells are beautiful and are used for making jewelry, bags, and collected by shell collectors. They are also used as souvenirs by tourists.  They are also used in homes as decorative items as well as the artwork.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Dungenees crab facts and jellyfish facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our Nautilus coloring pages.

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Written by Joan Agie

Bachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

Joan Agie picture

Joan AgieBachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.

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