Times of the Islands - - Nature’s Notebook -

Com­ing in all sizes and ages, these shellers are not what we call ex­perts. But they’re cer­tainly en­ter­tain­ing.

With this pop­u­lar group, it ap­pears the ob­ses­sive need to col­lect a shell takes con­trol of their body and over­whelms com­mon sense. They can of­ten be found run­ning or splash­ing around at the wa­ter’s edge in a fran­tic dis­play of de­sire and a rather un­fo­cused, hap­haz­ard search.

When an in­trigu­ing shell is spotted, an amus­ing scene usu­ally oc­curs. As the sought- af­ter shell rolls in the surf, they will demon­strate a hys­ter­i­cal bal­let that re­sem­bles some­one who has touched a live wire. They in­stantly stop, twist quickly and grab at the elu­sive trea­sure. More of­ten than not, they lose bal­ance and tum­ble awk­wardly with a re­sound­ing wa­tery splat.

Keep a sharp eye out for these stoop­ers. They don’t re­ally care who they hurt— or splash— in their crazed quest. You have been warned. Jack Bres­lin is fre­quent con­trib­u­tor to na­tional trade pub­li­ca­tions. A Colorado res­i­dent, he looks for­ward to vis­it­ing Sani­bel and demon­strat­ing his unique stoop­ing tech­nique.

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