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Collecting seashells on the beaches of Sanibel, Captiva and the world

Florida Keys Atlantic Deer Cowrie

Keys deer cowrie aperture

Last night we brought home this ATLANTIC DEER COWRIE from the Florida Keys after a long weekend road trip shelling adventure.

Deer Cowrie over water

This might be my hand showing this beautiful empty seashell but I wasn’t the one who found it. Of course, that would be Clark who spotted this gorgeous, rich chocolate shell snorkeling in areas of the Keys we had no idea existed for shells. We rarely find this shell in Sanibel (but it has been known to happen! See Atlantic Deer Cowrie Found On Sanibel) but I hear it is a fairly common to find them in the Keys. It doesn’t matter whether is is common or not to us- we were still very excited to find an empty one.

Florida Keys Deer Cowrie

Clark found this snorkeling off Big Pine Key which is an island also known for the cutest miniature deer called Key Deer who roam around in people’s yards, in parking lots …. anywhere they please.

Big Pine Key Deer

This Key Deer came right up to me and posed so I could take her picture… and maybe show me how pretty her eyes were.  Hmmmmm. I think she was telling me where they got the name DEER COWRIE.

Key Deer

I have got so many photos to go through to show you the rest of the shells we found and about our lovely hosts/friends/shelling guides all in one. I’ve even got a short video of the beautiful fish I got underwater that I hope to post tomorrow…. so stay tuned!

Map Florida Keys


  1. That is absolutely gorgeous! What a fantastic shell!

  2. Awesome!!!! My brother in law is there in the Keys this week and was all up close and personal with a Key Deer last evening too. I’m SO jealous!! September/October can’t come quick enough for our next trip there.

    And hopefully soon my sister and I will make a day trip of it to Sanibel … watching the tide charts to decide when to come down.

    LOVE all your posts and pix… makes me wish I was retired already… so I wouldn’t have to fit my visits down there in around my work schedule.

  3. Very pretty shell. Thank goodness, nobody was home. Those little Key deer aren’t afraid of humans at all. So cute.

  4. Wow! That is so awesome! It looks pretty big – how big is it? You’ll have to give me some ideas on where to go shelling down there since I’m going in August!

  5. Oh Gosh!!
    What a beautiful treasure and what fun to see the wee key deer!
    I love reading your posts and seeing your fabulous pictures. You make me feel like I’m right there. :)

  6. A beautiful treasure!

    • Oops, didn’t mean to steal Tracey’s words, but that’s exactly what occurred to me too: beautiful treasure. I would be treasuring (and gloating over) that cowrie like Gollum and his Precious!

  7. Beautiful shell,love those Key deer they are adorable. Love the keys. Great Places all over the keys from Key Largo to Key west all unique and different. Can’t wait to see your pics!!

  8. p.s .
    Love the deer cowrie and the key deer!!!!cute cute cute

  9. Your posts are always deer ones, but this one is more than most.

  10. Wow! Once again, Clark outdoes himself! Congrats!!! That is one beautiful shell! Can’t wait to see the rest of the pics!

  11. Beautiful Deer Cowrie! Are the cowries like the olives in the sense that they keep their sheen?

  12. Hurry back and post some more – I can’t wait to see all your pictures! Key West is on my bucket list and I think it just got bumped up a couple of notches. Lucky Clark – what a talent he has for finding the good shells. BTW- how long of a drive is it from sanibel?

  13. What a (large!) beautiful shell! Oh that Clark! Something new for me that’s for sure! The Key deer is so cute! Thanks for the awesome post, Pam!!! Looking forward to upcoming posts from the Keys!

  14. Pam,

    Years ago, I used to find deer cowries in Panama (Pacific side); however, nothing was anywhere near as big as the one Clark found. What a find!


  15. I knew it!!!! I had a feeling it was going to be something fabulous like a cowrie!!! And the deer is adorable!

    I am just feeling anxious as can be over here waiting on more pictures!

  16. Beautiful Shell!! I have been following the Key West site on TA. Think maybe I am putting this all together. MurexKen?? Loved all the posts on TA. I started following KW since my husband would like to visit this fall.

  17. What a find! I’ve never seen one that beautiful. Thanks a million for all your wonderful pix & info. Lois PA

  18. It is SO big – wow! Another delightful seashell discovery.

    Hope you get a chance to come over and enter our “Celebrate Summer” giveaway for a pair of Beach Glass Earrings.


  19. WOW Beautiful, both the shell and the deer!!
    Anxiously waiting to see all your pics and video!!

  20. Not sure which is prettier, the deer or the cowry! I would have been thrilled by either. You are a very lucky lady!

  21. Oh deer! What a deer you are to show such deer photos, with such deer friends.

    Ok, I’ll shut up now.

    Looking forward to more pics!

  22. I once found a lip fragment on the Texas coast (pretty rare in Texas). Congratulations on your find.

  23. The shell really does look like the deer’s eyes! Both are beautiful!

  24. I gotta go! I love cowrie shells. I need to do some investigating on shelling in The Keys! I have to show these posts to my husband! Love this.

  25. Just found a tiger cowery on the shore of north Hutchinson island Florida during low tide…Surprised me! As far as far as I can see they aren’t native to this particular area at all. Have you ever come across one around here or was this just a purchase accidentally dropped (or intentionally) by a passerby?! It’s in near perfect condition. Any replies are greatly appreciated since this forum is old:)

  26. If you truly found a dead tiger cowry, , on a Florida beach, it came there by human intervention, intentional or unintentional, and not because there is a breeding population of Tiger Cowries nearby. Tiger cowries are found throughout much of the Indian and western Pacific Oceans, but not in the Western Atlantic Ocean. Hope this is helpful.

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