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What kind of shell is this?
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What kind of shell is this?
Posted By: Andilynn9 - (Send PM)
Member Since: 5/15/2016
Location: Hopwood, PA
Total Posts: 94
Experience:

Date Posted: 7/16/2017 8:18 PM




Last Labor Day week we were able to collect many shells in South Nags Head after Hermine came through. These are some of my favorite finds. I'm not sure what the one I have circled is. It looks like a paw with claws. Anyone have an idea? It's about 2" long.



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RE: What kind of shell is this?
Posted By: Sandglass - (Send PM)
Member Since: 11/23/2012
Location: Fairfax/Corolla
Total Posts: 801
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Date Posted: 7/16/2017 8:47 PM




We just call them cat paws. I think the black color is from fossilization.

RE: What kind of shell is this?
Posted By: Scout - (Send PM)
Member Since: 12/19/2010
Location: Nags Head/Maryland
Total Posts: 332
Experience:

Date Posted: 7/16/2017 9:37 PM




I remember in "How to Read a North Carolina Beach" they said the black can also be caused by being buried in oxygen-poor mud at some point.

RE: What kind of shell is this?
Posted By: Pickle - (Send PM)
Member Since: 9/3/2009
Location: Kitty Hawk
Total Posts: 1997
Experience:

Date Posted: 7/17/2017 6:55 AM




It's a fossilized Oyster Shell. Oyster shells are not Black, they are offwhite/dirty white, when dried they are white. The complete answer is that the Outer Banks many thousands of years ago was further out in the Ocean (to the east) and has migrated West due to Winds, Currents etc. Oysters really don't grow in any quantity in the Ocean, they prefer calmer, Sound, Bay waters, River Mouths and Brackish Water where the water is of different composition than the Ocean. Where you are walking on the Ocean Beach now was probably the Sound 10,000 years ago. The Ocean and Beach Migration has uncovered ancient shellfish beds. So when you see Black Oyster shells you have a fossil, could be 10,000 years old but not worth a penny. If you look the next time you walk you will see many old Black Oyster Shells. Lastly the prior posts are absolutely correct, the Black is caused by being buried in the mud or sand without exposure to Oxygen for thousands of years. Also the book "How To Read a North Carolina Beach" is excellent, but highly technical. It will tell you how to identify mineral content in sand, why is sand a certain color, dune formation and much much more. I have found to totally understand it I have to read a chapter very slowly, some times two times. Great for the Outer Banks regular.

RE: What kind of shell is this?
Posted By: DeanK - (Send PM)
Member Since: 4/19/2015
Location: Indy
Total Posts: 291
Experience:

Date Posted: 7/17/2017 12:46 PM




We just call them cat paws. I think the black color is from fossilization.



It does look like a Kittens Paw, doesn't it. The only thing that makes me wonder about that is the size. I believe Kitten's Paw is small, less than 1", and usually much flatter. I'm going with Pickle and the oyster.

Andilynn9 - I love some of those Shark's eye/moon snails! That one with the light and dark swirls is awesome. Nice urchin, too! Baby's Ear - very nice!

RE: What kind of shell is this?
Posted By: Andilynn9 - (Send PM)
Member Since: 5/15/2016
Location: Hopwood, PA
Total Posts: 94
Experience:

Date Posted: 7/17/2017 9:36 PM




Thanks all for your help. I did a lot of searching on the internet to figure out that shell. I thought too that it may be a kitten paw, but the size was throwing me off. It's 2" long and 1" across. Then, I thought it may be an oyster, but I've never seen an oyster with the ridges that make it looked almost like a webbed foot. We did pick a lot of shells while we were there. Most of them we gave away to some of our family back home that have never been to the beach yet. The little kids were so excited. My husband collected a lot. I tried to look for special ones and beach glass. I did find that one piece which is pretty smooth, but I think it was just from a broken window (pretty thick) almost like a piece of windshield and I don't feel it is very old. All the same I was excited to find it. The urchin is my favorite! This was our whole mother lode.



RE: What kind of shell is this?
Posted By: Andilynn9 - (Send PM)
Member Since: 5/15/2016
Location: Hopwood, PA
Total Posts: 94
Experience:

Date Posted: 7/17/2017 9:54 PM




Oh, and my other special find. It had been 17 years since we were first at the Outer Banks until we came back last year. Now that we got to experience it again, we can't wait to get back next year to celebrate our 20th anniversary. Our first trip in 1999, we stayed at the Cape Hatteras Bed & Breakfast in Buxton. Last year we rented a small cottage in South Nags Head (oceanside) and it was perfect for us! Until next year I can help the days go by with OBX Connection. I'm so glad I found you guys last year! smiley



RE: What kind of shell is this?
Posted By: DeanK - (Send PM)
Member Since: 4/19/2015
Location: Indy
Total Posts: 291
Experience:

Date Posted: 7/18/2017 7:14 AM




Nice starfish! Only starfish I've found was at North Myrtle about 3 years ago. Found an urchin there, also. Great finds! Now you can join the rest of us and follow Shell Hunter's visits, and everyone else, to get us through until our feet get sandy once again!

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