Your charity for Scotland’s environment

Seashell Survey

We are encouraging all beach visitors this summer to particpate in the Scottish Seashell Survey.  This is a fun way to learn about the natural world, while helping to collect useful information about the creatures that live around our coasts. 

The Scottish coastline consists of thousands of miles of rocky shores, sandy beaches and pebble-covered bays and hosts an amazing range of species.  As the meeting place of land and sea, you’re never sure what you’ll find in rockpools, or hiding in the seaweed along the strandline.

The Scottish Seashell Survey includes lots of information to help you find and identify different kinds of shells and an online recording form so that you can let us know what you’ve seen - so please do take part and help us all learn more about our seashore bugs.

Top tips on finding shells

Walk along the strandline, where the tide has deposited seaweed, driftwood and flotsam is a great way to find lots of empty shells.

Rockpooling is a fun way to observe the behaviour of living seashore creatures. When you first approach a rock pool the vibration of your feet and your shadow may send small creatures into hiding, but be patient and it won’t take long for hermit crabs, shrimps and other small animals to come back out.

Carefully lifting or turning over rocks can reveal a range of species hiding underneath, but be sure to follow best practise and replace any rocks and seaweed that you’ve moved as these provide shelter from the heat of the sun and help protect the rock pool creatures from predators.

Remember these important things when visiting the seashore:

  1. Take care! The seashore can be a slippy, rocky place - so watch where you step and check the tide times before exploring.
  2. Treat animals as you would like to be treated.
  3. Do not dislodge or remove animals from the place in which you found them.
  4. Carefully lift and replace rocks and seaweed where you found them.
  5. If you find anything unusual do not touch it until you know it is safe.
  6. Plastic waste can be very harmful to wildlife. Take your rubbish home and consider helping with your next local beach Clean Up.
  7. Only take a few empty shells home with you- remember empty shells may be reused by many other species including hermit crabs and the Gold-Fringed Mason bee, that nests in empty snail shells on the Solway coast.
  8. Wash your hands when you have finished.