Sea Monkey urban legends abound, and it is no surprise considering just how little we know about our briny friends! So what rumours are spreading in the Sea Monkey community and are they true? Only the Sea Monkey Lady can tell!
DEMONIC SEA MONKEYS
Evil Sea Monkeys abound?
From the Buffy the Vampire Slayer book, "Mortal Fear" by Scott and Denise Ciencin:
Xander had given her the 411 on sea-monkeys (sic), great intel he'd picked up from a combination of the ad pages in old smelly comics he'd picked up at a convention or garage sale or someplace and some recently written demonic tomes Anya had bought on eBay...Sea-monkeys were a vicious little race, and all those ads had turned out to be a part of a worldwide demonic invasion attempt that only stalled out because kids kept doing really twisted things to the critters before they reached maturity.
Okay, where to begin with the wrongness of this? Sea Monkeys are not evil. Sea Monkeys are not demons. However...they do have trouble reaching maturity because of the evil things people do to them, such as drinking, eating, or ignoring them. We neglect our Sea Monkeys when we go on holiday, leaving them all alone without additional food or oxygen. We treat them poorly, flushing them down toilets when we get bored with them, or when our brothers want to exact a little sibling revenge. We are cruel to Sea Monkeys, so can you blame them for possibly harboring some kind of malicious feelings towards a race of humans upon whom they depend but who constantly let them down? To be honest, I wouldn't be all that surprised if they did rise up and take over the world just to teach us a lesson...making us live without oxygen or food or interesting toys to play with. They could bang on our tanks and yell "Look at the little humans!" or drink us for fun...But I digress....
CONCLUSION: The idea of Sea Monkeys being part of a demonic plot to take over the world is false. But the fact that an idea like this might not reach fruition because we take care of them poorly is a possibility.
TRANS GENDERED SEA MONKEYS
Can Sea Monkeys change from one gender to the other? Are they born male and turn female when the population runs low of ladies? The simple answer to this is no. (Then what's the long answer--no, they don't.) This has been a source of ongoing debate on the Sea Monkey Helpers club at Yahoo.com, and although I have been accused of being mean and wanting a fight, the simple fact is that whatever you have seen in the tank, Sea Monkeys are born male or female and remain that way for the entirety of their lives.
But how come I had no females and now I do? There are a few ways to think about this...You could have had an immature female and it wasn't obvious what sex she was! Now you can tell because she has an egg sac. Or secondly, you had a few eggs hatch and more Sea Monkeys have arrived.
CONCLUSION: It is false to argue that Sea Monkeys are hemaphrodites as they are born male or female and stay that way!
SEA MONKEYS CANNIBALISM
Do Sea Monkeys eat their own eggs, offspring, or each other??? No, Sea Monkeys are not cannibalistic in any way and are, in fact, loving, kind, peaceful creatures who will fight each other for mating rights, but for no other reason. I can assure you that in my years of keeping Sea Monkeys, I have never ever seen them eat each other nor can I find any information from the brine shrimp world that would indicate that they might eat each other. So, to those who think that your rapidly dwindling numbers in the tank are because of late night snacking and revenge dining, you're wrong!
CONCLUSION: Sea Monkeys are NOT cannibals and do not eat each other!
SEA MONKEYS ON MARS
Have the Sea Monkeys really visited Mars or is this an urban legend? Well, yes and no...no in the sense that no, they haven't, but yes in the sense that there is a Sea Monkeys on Mars tank! Having said all of that, if you've heard the latest about the possibility that there might have been water on Mars in the past, then you know that it is completely plausible that Sea Monkeys might have once roamed those vast red plains. (Roamed? I thought they swam! Work with me here, okay?) Where there is life, there can be water...providing there is enough salt. And is there salt? Well, that's still a mystery.
CONCLUSION: Probably not true, but probably not false either.
SEA MONKEYS IN THE SEWERS OF NEW YORK
Are there giant killer Sea Monkeys roaming underneath New York, just waiting to pop up through your toilet or bathtub drain to eat your tender bits? No. The legend goes as follows: Unloved or unwanted Sea Monkeys are flushed down into the sewers of this massive city, and learn to live amongst the filth and decay. They grow to an enormous size and attack various people for revenge and possibly as a midnight snack. Some variations claim the Sea Monkeys only play dead so their owners will flush them...but this is all false. Sea Monkeys cannot grow beyond 1 inch long, so any of them actually living there would be tiny little creatures. (And although the idea of a swarm of angry Sea Monkeys is scary, it's not really possible...) They need a salty environment, and the sewers are not that great on the sodium content.
CONCLUSION: Not possible, but interesting nonetheless...
SEA MONKEYS ATTACK SWIMMER OFF GULF COAST
If you read the Weekly World News -- and who doesn't -- you might have seen the article claiming that giant killer mutant Sea Monkeys attacked a swimmer off the Gulf Coast of Texas. The operative word here is "giant." As noted above, Sea Monkeys rarely grow above 1 inch long, so the idea of them being giant by any definition of the word is just plain false. Having said that, would larger than normal Sea Monkeys attack a swimmer? An excellent question...
How did the Weekly World News know the creatures in question were Sea Monkeys? There are many forms of small shrimp living in the salty waters off Texas. It could have been a swarm of fairy shrimp or daphnia shrimp or just plain old regular brine shrimp. The likelihood of knowing it was an actual Sea Monkey is slim to none, unless one was able to catch one of the little critters and actually bring it into a lab...but it sounds like they were too vicious for that!
The second problem with this urban legend is the fact that Sea Monkeys are docile creatures who would not attack a person. Try this at home...stick your hand in the tank and leave it there. Then try moving it around. Finally, cover your hand with blood and insert it into the tank. Did they respond? No, except for the squirming around that might come with having a giant hand in the tank. So Sea Monkeys, we can extrapolate from this experiment, are not vicious creatures by nature. (Although they might get a little testy about having a tank filled with human blood...and where the heck did you get that blood anyway?)
CONCLUSION: The Weekly World News is wrong....that's a surprise!
SEA MONKEYS ARE GENETIC FREAKS
This one is true...if you consider what the word freak means!
- A thing or occurrence that is markedly unusual or irregular.
- An abnormally formed organism, especially a person or animal regarded as a curiosity or monstrosity.
By this definition Sea Monkeys are, in fact, freaks of nature. They are not scary freaks, like say Anna Nicole Smith, but gentle creatures who differ in a genetic sense from other brine shrimp. They are a hybrid of the brine shrimp and the non-brine shrimp -- salty vs. fresh water creatures--to allow them to live longer, molt less, and in general offer more fun for the owner. I asked the creator once what delineated Sea Monkeys from regular old shrimp. "Love," he said. "We don't love brine shrimp." So yes, Sea Monkeys are genetic freaks in the sense that they are different...but didn't your mother ever tell you that difference is what makes us interesting???
CONCLUSION: This one is true if you look at the dictionary!