A Living Horse Conch in the Shallows

Photos of a living horse conch living in the shallows of the Indian River Lagoon.

Another beautiful day out on the water brought some nice finds. This beautiful living horse conch was crawling along the sandy flats. I picked it up briefly to get a few photos. It was a gorgeous orange snail. The shell was muddy and not so pretty, as is usually the case.

  • living horse conch
  • living horse conch
  • living horse conch
  • living horse conch
  • living horse conch
  • living horse conch

This is the area where this mollusk lives. The water temperature was around 86 degrees F. Air temperature was close to 100. Very few boats came by and we were all alone.

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Never Get Tired of Finding The Living Horse Conch

Today we went out on the boat. It’s been a while since we’ve gone out because the weather has cooled off. We weren’t out for long, and stopped at some favorite beaches because the tide was out.

There wasn’t much to see, and then … there it was! A living horse conch. The bright orange snail was hanging out of the shell and I could see the operculum – the hard part that covers the opening when the conch goes back into it’s shell.

Click on the photos and they will enlarge.

Low tide is the best time to search for interesting sea life, but on Three Sisters there wasn’t much. Also the ground was very muddy and slippery. Water temp is only 67 degrees now (January) so we don’t swim this time of year. It was sunny and warm because there wasn’t much of a breeze.

It’s not the first time I’ve come across a living horse conch out on these muddy flats. I never get tired of seeing them and admiring their beauty. This one was only around 10 inches long. They can grow to be twice this size!

The snail did not move at all as I approached, and I hoped it wasn’t dead. After I took a few photos, I gently lifted the back end and sure enough it began to move, so I left it alone.

living horse conch
Alive horse conch next to a pear whelk.

The shell of the conch was encrusted with barnacles and other things. When the tide comes back in, he will be just underwater, I suspect. This little island is off the beaten path, but there were markings of boats pulling up.

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    A Beach All Our Own

    Took a boat trip to the lagoon and explored one of the Spoil Islands.

    Living Sand Dollar Found at Low Tide

    We finally went boating and luckily it was low tide along the river. This is the best time to search the sand bars for sea life. Today, I found a living sand dollar! I believe this is the first time I have ever come across such a thing.

    Keyhole sand dollar alive
    Live sand dollar!

    Because I can’t see in the bright sun when taking my iPhone photos, I take a few hoping that some will be okay. This sand dollar was such a wonderful sight. The color was a purple brown. The bottom had little bristles I could feel. I only held it for a few seconds to get the pictures, then put him back in the same spot.

    Later, after I walked away to the deeper water, I saw this sand dollar slowly moving closer to the river. The water was flowing in that direction so maybe he was riding the current. That is good, because if he was beached, he would dry up and die in the hot August sun.

    Former Finds in This Area

    This Three Sisters area has been especially good for unique sea life sightings – for me. Low tide is the best time to search the area and it helps if the water is warm and fairly clear.

    You can see the difference in my photos of the same area at the islands when the tides change.

    We visited Three Sisters a few weeks before this and I could barely walk around because there were many stingrays. The water was at just about high tide, which means the sand is covered, but the water is still shallow enough to walk around. I know all about shuffling my feet while walking in the sand here, but sometimes these stingrays are not easily scared off! That was a good day to stay on the boat.

    In years past I have found the giant red hermit crab – 2017 (the only one I’ve ever seen), a big living horse conch nearly buried in mud, a big sea star, a tiny sea star, and a friend found an empty, huge horse conch seashell.

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