Lightning whelk (Busycon contrarium), Sanibel Island, Florida.


Collecting sea shells can be fun or it can be very frustrating.  The first rule is figure out the best times to collect where you are looking.

So, you'll want to check out the tides, weather conditions, local regulations, and the seasonality of the species you're interested in. For example, if you're trying to collect fighting conchs in southwestern Florida in late winter on a hot and sunny day at high tide you'll probably find more people than conchs.  

The best time to look for shells is right before or during low tide on day when weather conditions would make most people stay home.  

The key is patience.  Remember, it's never necessary, and is actually often illegal, to take a sea shell containing a living creature.  

That includes the original owner of the shell or anything else that may have taken up residence in it.  There will always be another day to find another shell.



Great Links

The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum