Fun Atlantic Salmon Facts For Kids

Oluwatosin Michael
Oct 26, 2022 By Oluwatosin Michael
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Deeti Gupta
One of the interesting Atlantic Salmon facts is that they have red and blue spots all over their body.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.8 Min

Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) is a fish known for sea and ocean migration. They are dominant in the Atlantic Ocean, in the American, European, and Baltic regions. The wild fish populations prefer the fresh water of rivers and also the waters of the sea. The sea provides them adequate food, while the sea water's energy is a sufficient quantity for them. Adult Atlantic salmons like to feed on other smaller fishes. Fishes like trout or char are very close relatives of an Atlantic salmon. Black salmon is one common name that you might come across for this fish.

They mostly eat codes, and herrings. Other smaller fishes like mackerel, capelin are also there in its diet. The population level of this fish is entirely below the target, for which rebuilding is taking place. This fish population is anadromous and can grow to massive sizes. They return to their cozy freshwater to breed. Climate change influences are visible in the shift of their spawning time, which has changed drastically.

By the end of this article, you will have knowledge on Atlantic salmon life cycle, Atlantic salmon range, Atlantic salmon size, and so on.

You may also check out the fact files on skate fish and fluke fish on Kidadl.

Atlantic Salmon Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Atlantic salmon?

An Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar, is a type of freshwater fish found in the waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. Atlantic salmon prefer rivers and freshwater sources. It is a sub-species of ray-finned fish populations.

What class of animal does an Atlantic salmon belong to?

The wild Atlantic salmon, which is also known as black salmon, belongs to the class of Actinopterygii within the Animalia kingdom. They belong to the Genus Salmo.

How many Atlantic salmon are there in the world?

The population count of Atlantic salmon was around 8-10 million in the 1980s. But this count has steeply declined today to 2-3 million.

Where does an Atlantic salmon live?

An Atlantic salmon, much like other salmons, are anadromous. They live in the coastal waters, especially in temperate marine regions. They are also found in freshwater habitats like streams and rivers. They prefer freshwater for their breeding. These fishes grow to enormous sizes. When they grow to massive sizes, they migrate to ocean waters. They are known for long-distance migration to oceans.

What is an Atlantic salmon's habitat?

U.S Atlantic salmon enjoys the pristine waters of the ocean, coastal waterways, sea, and rivers. They occupy the north Atlantic Ocean and are most commonly found in the sea waters surrounding North America and Europe. They love the American, European and Baltic waters. Maine is a spot for their recreation, while they can also be seen gathering around in the waters surrounding Europe (in Greenland, Faroe Island). Atlantic salmon migrate to ocean waters when they reach a specific size. They relocate to the sea when they are ready to spawn.

Who do Atlantic salmon live with?

Wild salmons are fishes that are solitary in nature. They do not live in packs. They do not live with other Atlantic salmon populations throughout their life.

How long does an Atlantic salmon live?

The average life span of Atlantic salmon populations is between 5-13 years.

How do they reproduce?

The U.S Atlantic salmon is a fresh water loving fish, which moves upriver to spawn. This movement to the sea is seasonal, and these wild Atlantic salmon hatch their eggs in rivers or streams. The female fishes try to find some appropriate location in the sea, where she digs nest. This nest is shallow and is termed "red." After the females lay eggs, the fertilization is completed by the males. After fertilization, females bury the eggs with gravel. After repeating this process several times, the process of reproduction is completed. After they grow, they return to spawn spot, which is their spot to breed.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN list, the wild populations of Atlantic salmon are listed as "Least Concern." This indicates that the populations of this salmon species are declining fast but not yet endangered. The Atlantic salmon (specifically the Gulf of Maine species) was listed as endangered in 2000. This tag was given by NOAA Fisheries jointly with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service. They enlisted the Gulf of Maine species to be endangered under special provisions of the Endangered Species Act. The Endangered Species Act is a special act, which provides protection to various species of Atlantic salmon while giving special focus to the species thriving in the Gulf of Maine.

Atlantic Salmon Fun Facts

What do Atlantic salmon look like?

The Atlantic salmon has a body that resembles a spindle. Their body is rounded in front. In the middle part, it is broad. The end of their body is tapered. The sides of their body are flattened. Atlantic salmons have black-bordered fins. This flattening is typical for all salmon species. They have a head that is proportionately smaller than their bodies. The head is almost less than one-fifth of the length of the body. Young Atlantic salmon have a body color different from adult Atlantic salmons. Their entire body remains covered with spots that are either blue or red. When they become adults, these spots turn to bluish silver.

An Atlantic salmon has a body that looks like a spindle.

How cute are they?

Atlantic salmons are not very cute to look at. They are pretty similar to other salmon species with respect to looks. But, unlike the pacific salmon, these fishes are sleek and have a silvery body. This makes them very beautiful to look at.

How do they communicate?

Like all other fishes, populations of Atlantic salmon have great senses of taste, smell, and hearing. These are the significant forms of communication that have been identified to date. They use communication as their senses to locate their homes. Most scientists are of the opinion that young Atlantic salmons use their sense of smell to keep in mind the odor of the main stream.

How big is an Atlantic salmon?

An adult Atlantic salmon can have a body length between 71 -102 cm. This range is similar to 28-40 inches. This makes them at least four times larger than a prawn. If compared to a Honey Gourami, then this fish species are at least 20 times larger in size.

How fast can an Atlantic salmon swim?

There is not much information about their swimming speed. But some researchers are of the opinion that an Atlantic salmon can swim in fresh water at a speed of 3 kph (2 mph)

How much does an Atlantic salmon weigh?

The weight of an Atlantic salmon ranges between 4-5 kg. This is similar to the range of 8-12 lb. This makes them at least five times heavier than a Pacific herring. However, the maximum record weight of an Atlantic salmon has been 36 kg!

What are their male and female names of the species?

Males and females of this species are known by a common name, that is, Atlantic salmon.

What would you call a baby Atlantic salmon?

Just like other salmon species, in the entire life cycle of Atlantic salmons, they are known by a few names. The baby Atlantic salmon is known as smolts. The just-hatched salmons are known as alevins. After this, they are named fry, and parr is the term given after that.

What do they eat?

Atlantic salmons are a carnivorous species. But much like other salmon species, the diet of this fish depends on the size and age throughout its life cycle. When they are small, the Atlantic salmons feed on other invertebrates. This fish's diet in this stage is formed by worms and insects, eggs of small fishes, and planktons. The adult Atlantic salmons feed on other smaller fishes. They prey on herrings, codes, and fishes like mackerel, capelin, too. This wild fish also eats crustaceans like amphipods.

Are they eaten by humans?

Yes, Atlantic salmon are fished for human consumption as they are very good for you. But they are mainly consumed in certain aboriginal fisheries.

Would they make a good pet?

No, not at all. This fish species will never be a good pet because of its length. The home aquariums will not be suitable to keep an Atlantic salmon comfortable. Also, they have a preference for freshwater and river for their breeding purposes that cannot be made possible in your home.

Did you know...

A fun Atlantic salmon fact is that they leave freshwaters to go to the sea to breed and grow. They prefer the sea for its abundant food sources and high energy content. Climate change has affected the time for spawning. The time has become different than what it was in the past. An interesting fact about young Atlantic salmons or smolts is that they start migrating to the sea when they are two or three years old.

When do Atlantic salmon spawn?

In between the months of November and December, the spawning mainly takes place. But there are instances that spawning has extended till late February as well. This extended time takes place in  larger rivers. Atlantic salmon migrate to the ocean between November to February to spawn in the same rivers where they were hatched. Due to climate change, the time of spawning has changed.

Do Atlantic salmon die after spawning?

Most of the populations of salmon species die after they are done with spawning. But this case is not at all similar to Atlantic salmons. This species is Iteroparous, a term indicating that they can recondition themselves. After they recondition, they return to spawn at sea and repeat the process of migration. Unlike Pacific salmon, they can potentially live to spawn again. But not the majority of the species. These individuals grow to extreme sizes when in rivers.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including blacktip reef shark, or immortal jellyfish.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Alantic salmon coloring pages.

Atlantic Salmon Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Zooplanktons, aquatic insects' larvae, capelin, smelts, herring

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?

2,500–7,000 eggs

How Much Did They Weigh?

8-12 lb

What habitat Do they Live In?

coastal waters of the temperate marine regions, freshwater like streams or rivers

Where Do They Live?

europe, north america

How Long Were They?

28-40 in

How Tall Were They?

7-9 in







Scientific Name

Salmo salar

What Do They Look Like?

Bluish silver

Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?

change of habitat, overfishing

What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
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Written by Oluwatosin Michael

Bachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

Oluwatosin Michael picture

Oluwatosin MichaelBachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

With a Bachelor's in Microbiology from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Oluwatosin has honed his skills as an SEO content writer, editor, and growth manager. He has written articles, conducted extensive research, and optimized content for search engines. His expertise extends to leading link-building efforts and revising onboarding strategies. 

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