Coral Reefs Facts for Kids – 5 Colourful Facts about Coral Reefs

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Updated on: Educator Review By: Michelle Connolly

Do you know the fish plays hide and seek?! They do that to hide from their predators inside the coral reefs. Let’s discover five colourful facts about the Coral reefs.

Coral Reefs Facts for Kids Fact Number 1: Coral Reefs Are Living Organisms

It is easy to mistake coral reefs as just rocks as they don’t move much, however coral reefs are actually live organisms. The living parts of coral reefs are tiny little animals called polyps. Coral polyps live on the outside of the reef. Coral polyps often live together in large groups. When polyps die, they become hard and then new polyps grow on top of them causing the reef to grow bigger. Coral reefs need warm and shallow water in order to form. They form close to the equator, near coastlines and around islands throughout the world.

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Coral Reefs Facts for Kids : Photo of a fish shelters in red coral reefs

Coral Reefs Facts for Kids Fact Number 2: The Coral Reef Needs to Eat

Since coral polyps are living organisms they need to eat to stay alive. This means that the coral reef eats too. Coral polyps use tentacles to get their food from the water around them. They eat algae and small animals called plankton. Because algae are plants they get their food and energy from the sun through photosynthesis. This is one of the reasons why coral reefs form in clear water and close to the surface of the water as it makes it easier for the sun to reach the algae. The coral polyps then get their energy and food by eating these algae.

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Coral Reefs Facts for Kids: Green coral reef under water

Coral Reefs Facts for Kids Fact Number 3: The Great Barrier Reef Is The Biggest Coral Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef and it is located in Australia. The Great Barrier Reef is so big it can be seen from space! It is about the size of 70 million football fields. That is hard to imagine. The Great Barrier Reef is home to thousands of different species including  some of the deadliest animals in the ocean, including Box Jellyfish, the Blue Ringed Octopus, and LionFish.  The Great Barrier Reef is one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World.

Coral Reefs Facts for Kids Fact Number 4: There Are Three Main Types of Coral Reefs

The three main types of coral reefs are fringe, barrier and atoll.  A fringe reef is the most common coral reef. This kind of reef grows out from the shoreline and forms a sort of border along the shoreline it grows from and its surrounding islands. Barrier reefs are similar to fringe reefs as they grow near shoreline, however they grow much further out. There is an area of water that separates the barrier reef from the shore.

Lastly, atoll reefs are rings of corals. An atoll reef begins as a fringe reef which is located around a volcanic island. When the coral grows upward and the volcanic island it surrounds has sunk below sea level it becomes known as an atoll reef. They can often be mistaken for islands due to their size. An example of famous atoll reefs that people often visit is the Maldives.

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Coral Reefs Facts for Kids : Blue and pink coral reefs

Coral Reefs Facts for Kids Fact Number 5: Coral Reefs Are Endangered

Climate change is affecting the coral reefs around the world greatly. Not only is pollution, fossil fuels and climate change destroying the reefs but it is also destroying the animals that depend on the coral reefs for food and shelter. The biggest threat to coral reefs is pollution from ships and boats which makes the water more acidic.  A lot of people go diving in coral reefs and disturb the coral reef by touching it, which can sometimes cause it to die. It is important that the coral reef is protected as it does a great job at regulating carbon dioxide levels in the ocean, without it greenhouse gases would rise even further.

Coral Reefs Facts for Kids
White cruise ship sailing over the sea

We hope you enjoyed learning more things about coral reefs as much as we loved teaching you about them. Now that you know how majestic sea and ocean living organisms are, you can move on to learn about other animals and birds like: Jellyfish, Sharks and Whales.  

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