Tag Archives: hermit crab

true tulip seashell

The Big True Tulip Shell I Had to Give Back

While boating around the backwater, looking for some fish to catch, we pulled up to a muddy area covered with about 6 inches of water. While the boys played around with the boat, I walked the flat area in search of seashells. I saw many crown conchs, all of which had hermit crabs moving them around.

When I came to an odd looking thing, and realized it was a sting ray, which are common in these areas. But this one, about a foot in size, wasn’t moving away. He was “watching” me as I approached. It was a little creepy, so I turned and walked back toward the boat.

On my way back, I saw an odd shape in the mud and touched it with my foot (which was inside my water shoes, of course!). It felt hard and I thought it must be a shell that was buried in the sand. I began to hope that it might be a great find.

I reached down and pulled up a big True Tulip shell!  You can see it next to my glasses below, and it measured about 5.5 inches in length.

big true tulip seashell
True Tulip Seashell, Measuring 5.5 inches long

According to my Seashell Book, the True tulip reaches a size of 5 inches max. So this one was a big shell.

(By the way, the photo at the top was of a smaller tulip I found in another spot. I included that picture to show the colors and bands a little better.)
So this was not the first Tulip shell I had found, but I haven’t been able to collect any because they are always occupied by hermit crabs.

This one was buried down under the sand. I saw no sign of life inside the shell. How exciting… I had not only found a Tulip to keep, but it was a huge Tulip! I brought it over to the boat and set it inside to take home.

tulip shell covered with dirt
Top of the Tulip Shell

It was late by the time we got home so I rinsed the shell and set it out on the back patio for overnight. Some time later I looked outside and noticed that the shell was not there. Hmmmm… this could be disappointing.

I found it up next to the house and my suspicions were correct. A HUGE hermit crab was living inside the shell. This happened to me not long ago, when I collected a broken white whelk and it ended up being a hermit crab home too.

So I put the beautiful shell into a bucket and the next morning when we went out on the boat again I put the shell, with the hermit crab inside, back into the water.

I still don’t have a Tulip shell.

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sharks eye with hermit crab

Almost Got A Gorgeous Sharks Eye

sharks eye with hermit crab
Bottom of Sharks Eye shell with hermit crab showing

The sharks eye seashell is easy to identify with it’s round, swirled shape. I have a few of them, but the big ones (they can be up to 3 inches across) are truly gorgeous.

The shell is smooth and usually a gray-brown color. It’s a chunky round shell and I’m always on the lookout for one when I am near the ocean.

While walking along a deserted beach on a little island I found a gorgeous shark’s eye! It was big and so lovely. Then, my excitement lessened as I went to pick it up and it moved. A hermit crab had taken up residence inside. Just like all the other awesome shells I had found that day, it was a home for the spider-like crabs.

Photos were all I could take with me, as I put the shell back on the sand. Darn, it was a beauty!  I lightened up the image above so you could see the hermit crab tucked up inside the shell.  They usually don’t come out unless left totally alone.  Some of them are up inside the shells so far that they can’t be seen at all (which is why I took one home by accident).  And almost every shell I find out on the Indian River has a hermit crab inside it!

sharks eye
Sorry for the blurry shark’s eye photo

I only had my cell phone camera and it’s difficult to see anything in the bright sun.  I basically have to take the shots blind and hope for the best.  This one didn’t come out so great, but I figured I’d share so you can get an idea of that “eye” in the center top.

If it had been empty, I’d have collected it in a minute!  I think it would have cleaned up nicely.

While beach-combing in another area I managed to find a tiny shark’s eye shell in the sand.  It was broken, but I snatched it up anyway.  No crab inside this one!

I also found more interesting seashells that day.  If you are interested, go read that post.

sharks eye
Little Sharks Eye Shell