I would have done the happy shelling dance for an hour if I was the one that found this ATLANTIC DEER COWRIE on the beach of Sanibel.
I still want to do the happy shelling dance for one of our favorite shellers who found this exceptional seashell….. Mother Earth Marilyn!!! I know you remember her because she is the one who was the star rescuer in Saving Sandy The Sanderling. We emailed each other after Sandy The Sanderling was released back to the wild to celebrate Sandy and our experience…. then she sent these photos.
She said she found this DEER COWRIE on the beach at mile marker 6.5 in front of private houses…no hotels, no condo complexes. I’m sure she had to walk a ways south east from the Sanibel side of Blind Pass to get there. That’s a beautiful stretch of beach and she probably had it all to herself. Congrats on a wonderful find, Mother Earth Marilyn!
Clark found a beautiful COWRIE like this in the keys about 12 years ago but have never seen them on the west coast and it isn’t a shell native to our area. Marilyn was concerned if it was legitimate and someone may have played a joke on her. I’m no seashell migration expert or scientist but I believe that this was a legit find and it was a gift of the sea for her good deeds in watching over nature in need. Did I tell you that she is the president of her local nature club? (I knew nothing about her before I nicknamed her Mother Earth Marilyn. Uncanny, huh?)
The DEER COWRIE is the largest COWRIE in the world.
The COWRIE’S body (mantle) partially covers the outside of the shell so when it moves around it constantly cleans and polishes the glossy outer surface of the shell. This also keeps BARNACLES and sponges from attaching themselves to damage the shell. That’s why they stay so shiny and glossy!
WOW!!!!!!!!!! good for her……she deserves it for all the good she does! congrats and thanks for sharing. it gives the rest of us hope!
I LOVE that….shell karma :o) Congrats to Marilyn, the sanderling gods are smiling on her! I can’t wait to get back to the shores of Sanibel……April :o) Thanks for making me feel like I am there everyday. I love seeing everyone’s treasures!
Yeah Lisa, shell karma! ;)
WOW… I can’t imagine coming across something like this on a beach –
Congratulations! It is a great shell!
Definitely worth a ‘Happy Shelling Dance’, Congrats, Marilyn!
What a sweet surprise. It is huge!
That sure is a beauty! Congrats to Mother Earth Marilyn!
OH. MY. GOSH! I would have freaked out with joy!
WHAT! Look how big that is in her hand! I can’t believe that beautiful find! Congratulations !!!!
I never heard of anyone finding a shell like that on the Gulfcoast. How awesome!
OMG that is huge! I’d be doing a happy dance, too!
If I was a cowrie, Sanibel is where I would pick to live. That’s the only way I could afford it so I will be happy with my week and dream I’ll come back as a cowrie. Congrats on your treasure.
WOW that is big. And so very cool. I would love to know if these do wash up every so often on the Sanibel beaches. Did she take it to the shell museum and show them??
Bird said she heard of one other one but this is very unusual. I don’t think she took it to the shell museum….. I think she left to go back home up north shortly after finding it.
That is an incredible shell to find on Sanibel Island!
Wow – amazing find. This is one beautiful shell. I need to ask Clark where to go in The Keys to see where to find shells. I have no idea where to go!!
Hi there… I found quite a few cowrie shells on Long Key too. There’s a state park there that has some sandy shore to beachcomb at low tides. It’s about 1/2 way down the Keys. I found over 100 very tiny white, off white, somewhat greenish, and even a couple striped ones there in addition to a tiny purple (slightly broken) Janthina on my last day of combing before heading back to St Pete.
Wow! I’m impressed…hard to find such a great specimen that’s not alive. I bet that took a lot of stooping!
There are only a few small beaches in the Keys and not many shells..mostly broken coral and such. The Keys are mostly hard coral islands so not a lot of sandy beaches and the reefs keep the shells from washing up. There are a lot of BIG live shells but illegal to harvest of course. I’m sure there’s lots of cool coral pieces to collect though.
The only place we found shells in the Keys was the upper Keys. There are a few islands just north of Elliot Key that have a few shells here and there. We found a spot where SEA BISCUITS where shining like spotlights through 2 feet of water. That’s where Clark found his one and only COWRIE……. without a live animal in it. Happy day.
ooooh… I am so intrigued! I am also curious if she took it to the shell museum and what they had to say about something so cool washing up onto Sanibel when it doesn’t normally happen!
I’ve always loved seashells, but since my first trip to Sanibel a month ago, I’ve become obsessed with studying shells from around the world. I’ve wondered to myself, “Even though these shells are from this part of the world, or this ocean, I wonder if they could make their way to Sanibel somehow and wash up…”
This post just made that seem possible! So so cool
Spectacular find! I read about one other deer cowrie found on Sanibel on one of the discussion boards. I think it was a couple of years ago. In this other case, there was some discussion as to whether it washed up naturally, or was a store-bought shell planted on the beach. I’m more inclined to say that Marilyn’s shell is a legit find, because the shell was far from a public beach access. But I guess you just never know!
That’s what I was thinking too, Bird. If someone planted it, why would they do it in such a remote area. She also said there was a few distressed/water/beach marks on it and a few small barnacles. We’ve had strong north AND south winds this winter so who knows where it could have washed from. Far stranger things have happened in the shelling world.
While still relishing in my intrigue on Marilyn’s find, your comment, “far stranger things have happened in the shelling world” makes me want to know more! You should do a post about strange or out-of-the-ordinary shelling stories!! When you get a free moment of course…which is probably impossible :)
Barnacles… that does sound legit!
Beautiful shell…very lucky to find that indeed.
I believe there is something similar to that in the Sanibel Day Inn shell display picture you posted awhile back ( 2nd shelf…in the middle)…if I’m not mistaken.
Love your website….and your writings…and of course all the great pictures.
Wow! Donnie, you are right! I just checked back on the post and it sure looks like one to me too. Ha! Check this post out… http://www.iloveshelling.com/blog/2010/07/24/what-will-bonnie-bring/
What a beautiful shell!
Good shell karma for someone who helped a bird in need!
How Awesome is that!! Mother Earth Marilyn helping rescue Sandy the Sanderling and then finding such a treasure! That’s why that Junonia will be there for you too, Pam.
What a beautiful shell and a once in a lifetime find. I dream of finding something like that. Congrats!
I found a 4″ piece of one yesterday in the same area…they are out there.
WOW! I just knew they had to be out there. I think even a 4″ piece of one is an incredible find. Thanks for posting!
I found a 7 inch deer cowrie while scuba diving in the Florida Keys. It was beautiful but I couldn’t take it because I could see that it was alive inside it’s shell. I went back on a night dive and found it again and it was out, with it’s mantle was completely covering it’s shell. It was possibly the coolest thing I saw the entire trip! I would love to find a cowrie shell that wasn’t being used :)
Seven inches!?!?! WOW you are so lucky! My HAND is seven inches long! I didn’t even know they got that big! Maybe in heaven you’ll find an empty one….. I mean the Keys :p . But then , the two are synonymous, right? :)
That is so cool! I love shelling, especially for cowries. I can’t believe you found cowries in the atlantic Ocean. I can only find them in the Pacific Ocean. I go to Hawaii, quite regularly, to look for shells. I wish I could show you some! I would be glad to!
We just found a deer cowrie today in Vero Beach. Not perfect like the sanibel island one (it’s got a little chunk missing out of its underside) Couldn’t believe our eyes when we found it – I never have seen anything like this on Vero’s Beaches before! It’s approximately 4 inches long.
Hi Diane, Cool! the deer cowrie is a Caribbean shell so for you to find one up as far as you are is just as exciting as us finding one on this side so far up. Congrats!
We are not Shell collectors or anything – I knew it was a Cowrie when I found it but had to Google “Brown Cowrie” under images to figure out exactly what it was – that’s when I came across this wonderful site. Amazing that it traveled so far- we feel incredibly lucky to have found it at all – saw something brown washing up in the waves and inspected what it was. I thought it was a seed pod at first!
Thanks again – I will always keep my eyes out for something like this from now on!
My daughter found a Atlantic deer cowrie this morning at Jensen beach!!
Hello Ives been shelling for 25 years and have a huge selection of only shells found on the Florida gulf coast, this morning I found a perfect Deer cowrie on a beach near tarpon springs, I have never heard of one this far north. I have found 4 perfect Junonias up here also, the cowrie is purple and 4.5 inches across. I couldn’t find it in my field guide to shell but found it on this site, if someone would like confirmation of where I found theses shells 7274571857 text
I’m a diver down on Marco Island and we’ve never seen these in this area – until last week, when they were found EVERYWHERE underwater! We brought up no less than 8 on one dive, and there were more that were left down there. Any idea why they are they showing up now and in such numbers?