Snakelocks Anemone

Anemonia viridis

Unlike others of their kind, these large anemones cannot retract their tentacles, which others do to prevent drying out at low tide.

With their large bodies attached to the rocks or, often, the blades of seagrass, these filter feeders stretch their long stinging tentacles out to catch passing shrimp, and even juvenile fish.

The snakelocks’ stinging cells, known as nematocysts, are strong enough to be felt by our fingers so care must be taken when rockpooling nearby.

Snakelocks anemone/Fiona Crouch
Snakelocks anemone/Fiona Crouch

Did you know?

The green colour in the tentacles of this anemone comes from algae which lives inside them. Known as a symbiosis, this relationship provides the algae with a safe place to live and the anemone with extra food from photosynthesis.

Where I am

Found around the shores of the UK, Snakelocks are usually located lower down the shore than other anemones. This is because, without being able to pull its tentacles into itself, they would dry out if exposed to the sun at low tide.