Wild Harris


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This large sea snail is very common on muddy seabeds where it roams around looking for dead stuff to eat. At the front it has a long trunk-like tube which allows it to breathe without getting clogged by fine mud (a bit like a snorkel!) and at the back it carries a flat plate which plugs the shell opening when the whelk has retreated into its shell. The shells of dead whelk shells are very popular homes for large hermit crabs, which fit inside them perfectly.

whelk.jpgWhelk    (Photo: Paul Tyler)

A large whelk cruises across the sea floor, sniffing out food with its long snorkel. If the animal becomes submerged in soft mud it can continue to breathe through this tube. The small disk on its tail becomes a door that seals the shell when the animal has withdrawn into its shell.

netted whelk.jpgnetted whelk    (Photo: Paul Tyler)

A netted whelk - a smaller species of whelk with a ribbed shell

whelks on dead crab.jpgwhelks feeding on dead crab    (Photo: Paul Tyler)

Netted whelks feasting on a dead shore crab

by Paul Tyler

 Link to Shore Animals