Setting Your Sights on Unusual Shells

Spirula shells. Photo credit: Fritz Geller-Grimm

Spirula shells. Photo credit: Fritz Geller-Grimm

This is passport to Texas

Before you can sell seashells by the seashore, you first have to find them.

I feel the best time to go shelling is in the wintertime.

Paul Hammerschmidt is a lifelong shell collector. He says winter storms churn up the Gulf bottom, sending shells onto the beach. Improve your chances of finding intact shells when you avoid crowded shoreline.

If you get a chance to go to some more isolated beaches, like down on Padres island, or something like that, where the population of humans is not quite so thick, you’ll have a much better chance of finding some really unusual shells.

Such as a sweet little shell called baby ears, or another special shell worth searching for called spirula.

And it’s a coiled, snail-like shell. But it doesn’t belong to a snail—it belongs to a little squid. And it’s inside the squid, and when the squid dies, that little thing has a lot of chambers in it with gas, and it floats and washes up on the beach. Those are very pretty, bright white, and they’re very fragile, so you have to be careful with them.

This winter, instead of heading to the slopes for skiing, go to the beach for shelling…you can still have hot cocoa when you’re done.

Saturdays through the end of February Ranger Lisa leads shell hunting, identification and collecting workshops at Galveston Island SP. Find details in the calendar section of the TPW website.

The Sport Fish restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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