What are Shark Eggcases?
Around the world you can find the eggcases of various shark and true-skate species washing up on shorelines amongst the seaweed. They are tough leathery capsule that protects the embryo and are sometimes called mermaid purses.
Here is what they can look like:
| Image from @zg_zirafica on Instagram
Not all sharks have eggcases that you can find on a beach, generally the larger species of shark will give birth to live pups, whereas smaller shark species and true rays lay undeveloped eggs in special cases. They are often laid on the sea floor in seagrass meadows, rocky reefs or mangrove roots where there is shelter to hide them from hungry predators.
Shark Trusts Great Eggcase Hunt
After an eggcase was found in 2003 along a beach in Devon in the UK, the great eggcase hunt began and sparked a community of curious beachcombers all on the hunt for mermaids purses.
This great hunt actually has an important role in the conservation and research into shark species. They indicate species presence and diversity in the area, and by recording all the different findings we can learn more about the egglaying species that can be found locally.
So far over 250,000 individual eggcase have been reported and recorded by Shark Trust in 22 different countries around the world. And you can take part too!
How to hunt for eggcases:
Eggcase hunting is fantastic for all ages, if you are out visiting your local beach or on holiday you can take part! Shark Trust have so many great resources on their website for taking part in the Great Eggcase Hunt, you can download the app or report directly on their website.
Where can I find eggcases?
Eggcases can wash up along any beach in the world. You will most likely find them at the tideline nestled in amongst the seaweed.
What should I do if I find an eggcase?
If you come across an eggcase first, check that it is just the case and that there is no live embryo inside. If there is then pop it back in the sea and try to find something to gently weigh it down so that it doesn't float away. If there is nothing living inside then record your finding with shark trust, you'll need to provide the exact location you found the eggcase along with video/ photos of the eggcase. Shark Trust have a great guide to help you identify what species your eggcase belongs to, click here to learn more.
What's the best way to find an eggcase?
Hunting along the tideline/ strandline is where you are most likely to find eggcases, although they are very light once they have dried out so could be blown into grasses or sand dunes. Check the seaweed, but you'll need an eager eye as they can blend in really well. One tip Shark Trust gives is to look for them after a storm when the seas have thrown more seaweed and debris along the beach. For more information check here.
Stay Safe & Have Fun
- Always check the tides, and make sure you don't get caught out.
- If you are going out alone make sure to tell someone where you are going.
- Be cautious walking along under cliffs in case of falling rubble and debris.
- Do not take any living creatures you find home with you, leave them in their environment.
- Be careful when you are hunting through seaweed, you never know what you might find and you might find sharp things in there!
- Why not do a mini beach clean whilst you are out hunting?
FREE SHARK NECKLACE
As today is Shark Awareness Day we have a very special offer for you. Get a FREE Celtic Shark Necklace with all orders over $30 for the next 48 hours!
This necklace is sure to catch people's attention, with its bold Celtic design and it is worn on a nature rugged wax cord which is adjustable for comfort.
To claim your free necklace all you need to do is shop for your favourite ocean inspired items at Ocean Helper.com and spend over $30, the necklace will be automatically added to your cart!
10% of gross profits this month are going to Shark Trust.
*Please note this offer does not work in conjunction with some of our other discounts.
1] Shark Trust - Great Eggcase Hunt
2] Marine Madness - A beachcomber’s guide to finding and identifying mermaid’s purses, Harry Baker (13th April 2020)