Souvenir Horse Conch Seashell

A friend of my sons has been visiting from New Hampshire and wanted to go fishing. While the boys were out on the boat, they jumped into the water to cool off and the friend felt something hard under the sand. He said he felt a rock, but my son quickly corrected him saying there are no “rocks” in Florida. So The Friend began digging. What he pulled up was a huge horse conch shell.  What a vacation souvenir….!!!!!!

big horse conch seashell

This is the biggest shell I’ve seen. It was buried deep in the sand which tells me the mollusk died and then the shell was buried in sand as the tide moved. No hermit crab is large enough to live in a shell this size, and if the mollusk still inhabited it, it would be very apparent (See my page about the Florida Horse Conch). It was an empty horse conch shell.

big horse conch seashell
Skittle the Cat checks out this big seashell

I sprayed it off with the hose and left it outside to dry. I will chip away the barnacles and other stuff, but getting the black periostracum (dark coating which covers the shell) off is difficult. The shell underneath may be very pretty, or not. One thing I know is that this is an amazing gift from the sea, created by an amazing animal.

The Friend is not interested in taking it home with him, so I will attempt to clean it up and maybe put it in my garden.

huge horse conch seashell
The big horse conch one is 17 inches long.

One time when we were out on the boat exploring the islands I had found a horse conch empty on the sand and it now sits on my kitchen windowsill (the brownish one in the photo above).  That shell is small compared to this beast!

And here’s a photo with Skittle the cat.  She insisted.

horse conch seashells
Two shells and one black cat

UPDATE: I did not do any cleaning to this shell, except to brush off the barnacles and growths, which is easy when they dry up.  As it sat out in the sun in my garden, the black stuff began flaking off on it’s own.

Underneath, the shell is white. I’m guessing that once the snail died, the empty shell was bleached by the sun. With the tides moving sand around, eventually it became buried, which is where it stayed until our friend stumbled upon it.

So no great coloring, but still an awesome seashell.

big seashell in the garden
How the shell looks now.

 

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15 Comments Add yours

  1. ileen roos says:

    Did you wind up cleaning it or keeping as is? If you cleaned it, please show an updated photo. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pam says:

      Thanks for reading, and that is a good question. I did not clean it, but the black has flaked off to reveal a mostly white shell beneath. I will update my page and add a photo.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ileen roos says:

        I’ve been collecting shells for a few years now, but I haven’t been to FL. I started when I was on a trip to the Bahamas in 2015 & continued in Mexico in 2017 & 2018. However, I live in NYC & grew up on Long Island beaches & never thought to collect there until I started elsewhere. I’ve found some great shells, and thanks to you I know why the jingle shells are black. I was in Mass near the Cape last weekend & found tons of jingle shells in their natural yellow & orange colors. This is a hobby that’s become habit forming for me.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Pam says:

        I’ve actually learned a lot from writing this blog, and it’s nice to hear I have helped others too. I think that a lot of people really don’t think much about shells, until they are in a place where there are beautiful shells to collect. My area of Florida does not have great shells along the beach, so all the years I lived here I took them for granted. The kids collected a few, but that was it. Once I visited the Gulf coast, I found beautiful shells and began to wonder how they were made and what lived inside. Now that I can travel off-shore in the boat, to out-of-the-way spots, it’s my favorite thing to do. Beach-combing does become habit forming!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. ileen roos says:

        I need to figure out what my plan is though. I don’t have space for a collection. I started out just gluing shells to picture frames, then I began making myself some earrings. Now I have too many shells for my own good.

        Like

      4. Pam says:

        Yes, I understand. Along the way I have decided to be more picky about which ones I collect. The big and broken ones go out into the garden. Others go into glass bowls and onto big platters. My house is small, and space is limited, so I have to have self-control!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. BallesWorld says:

    Wow, very nice and big shell 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Emma Cownie says:

    What a find that is massive shell (or is that a teeny cat? lol)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pam says:

      Haha…. !

      Like

  4. but I don’t think I’d clean it – I’d leave it with its honorable scars

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pam says:

      That is a nice idea Maureen. Right now I have set it out in the garden by my front door. I may not clean it after all. Besides, that would be quite a job.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pete Hillman says:

    Oh my word! That is one huge shell, Pam! What a brilliant find! I like the scale of it with the cat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pam says:

      Ya, it’s a biggie! Skittle is a ham…

      Liked by 1 person

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