Visiting the Thames is a perfect place to spot marine life, with the river being home to everything from whales, dolphins, seals, crabs, and eels.
Let’s start with the most common sea creature found in the Thames beside fish… whales! These wonderful marine mammals have been sighted in the river as early as 2006 and date all the way up to the current year. One of the many whales spotted was nicknamed Benny by local residents and roamed the river for an extraordinary three months before finding his way home.
Various other types of whales have also been found in the Thames, including the humpback, bottlenose, beluga and minke species. Of course, these creatures are a long way from their usual home in the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans as well as the North and Mediterranean seas, so this begs the question, why do whales swim in the Thames? Well, no one knows for sure, but a possible explanation is that they like to migrate south for the warmer waters.
In addition to whales, dolphins and even a range of shark species have been found to inhabit the capital’s waterway. The first sighting we have on record is 2018, when a dolphin was sighted near Barnes Bridge in West London. A year later, a harbour porpoise was also seen swimming nearby.
Some other popular residents of the Thames are seals, which have been seen in the river since 2013, alongside mitten crabs, eels and short-snouted seahorses.
And, saving the most thrilling sighting until last, the Loch Ness monster! The mythical creature was spotted in the Thames in 2016 with onlookers capturing a brief look of the dark shadow. Bystanders reported that it was too big to be a shark and looked very different to any creature they’d seen before. How mysterious!
Moving away from sea creatures, birds are a popular sighting at the Thames with many making the river their home. These include the most common species, Redshank and Avocet birds.
According to our research which examined articles and research reports of animal and unusual item sightings over the last 10 years, last year (2021) was the most popular year for animal sightings.