Sea mouse is in fact a furry marine worm
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.rmcp.co.uk