Sea mouse is in fact a furry ma­rine worm

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Countryfile -

One of the fea­tures of the re­cent mild but stormy weather is the abun­dance of odd crea­tures and shells washed up on our beaches. Do take this op­por­tu­nity to walk along the tide­line and see what the wild weather and tides washed up.

One un­usual crea­ture which I get asked about fre­quently is the sea mouse.

This is ac­tu­ally a large prickly worm or more like a furry blob which is shaped a bit like a plim­soll un­der­neath. They are around 5-8cm long. The colours are a green sheen and sim­i­lar to petrol mixed with wa­ter. The sea mouse bur­rows or ploughs through the sand and mud just be­yond the low wa­ter mark, but if strong winds and large tides are com­bined, hun­dreds of th­ese crea­tures are washed up along the Kent coast­line.

At Dun­geness they are es­pe­cially com­mon af­ter storms, but can be found as far as Thanet in smaller num­bers.

I have been told not to pick them up, as some peo­ple can suf­fer a bad re­ac­tion to the spines on the side of the body. So be­ware! But it is a fas­ci­nat­ing crea­ture many of us are not fa­mil­iar with and has made the na­tional pa­pers when un­sus­pect­ing coastal walk­ers have come across them.

For more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact Owen Leyshon, of the Rom­ney Marsh Coun­try­side Part­ner­ship, by tele­phone on 01797 367934, via email at mail@rmcp.co.uk or visit www.rmcp.co.uk

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