Types of beach shells

Written by angela m. wheeland Google
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Types of beach shells
Ocean lovers enjoy collecting the many types of shells. (sea shells image by Shirley Hirst from Fotolia.com)

Collecting beach shells is a common hobby among ocean lovers. Shells come in many shapes, sizes, and colours. Seashells come from animals that live in the ocean, known as mollusks. Mollusks are invertebrates that do not have an internal skeleton. These invertebrates use the shells as protection. A mollusc lives inside its shell, taking it wherever it goes. When the mollusks dies or grows out of its shell, the shell sinks to the ocean floor and lies vacant until another inhabitant claims it, or it washes up on the beach shore.

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The most common type of seashell found on a beach is the cockleshell. These shells come in a variety of sizes and are a common home to clams. The shells are round or heart-shaped and have a ribbed texture. They come in many sizes and colours. Depending on the location of the shell, colours may vary from beige and blue, to purple and pink. Their colour is affected by the natural elements surrounding the shell such as excessive sun exposure and extreme ocean activity.

Types of beach shells
Cockle Shell are found in abundance. (the shell image by Alexander Beliaev from Fotolia.com)

Conch Shell

Conch shells are normally the homes to snails and hermit crabs. Their spiral shape makes them very distinguishable. Considered a great find, conch shells can become as large as 12-inches and weigh up to five pounds. In some cultures, conch shells are used for ritual or religious activities. Blowing into them reveals a deep, trumpet-like sound.

Types of beach shells
Conch Shell can weigh up to five pounds. (large conch seashell image by Mike & Valerie Miller from Fotolia.com)


The cowrie is a round, egg-shaped shell that contains a natural, polished look. They are the protective home to many types of sea creatures, but most commonly snails. They come in many shapes and colours and each contain its own unique patter. These patterns range in colour and style.

Types of beach shells
Cowrie shells have a polished look. (shell image by Henryk Olszewski from Fotolia.com)

Sand Dollar

The sand dollar shell is the hard, external shell of a sand dollar. They are flat and round and have a white appearance. Live sand dollars burrow themselves into the sand to protect themselves from predators. While alive, sand dollars are green, blue, or purple but turn white when they dry out after death.

Types of beach shells
Sand dollars burrow in the sand. (sand dollars image by itsallgood from Fotolia.com)

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