June 7

Why Do These Shells Have Holes??

Why do these shells have holes in them?
Scroll below the photo to find out.

Most of these holes were made by predatory gastropods, such as snails. The snails burrow through the sand with their muscular foot until they find a bivalve. Then, they use their radula (tongue) which is covered with sharp tooth-like structures to drill a hole in the shell. Once the hole is made, they suck out the contents of the shell. When I was young, I liked to collect shells with holes, paint them, and add twine or ribbon to create necklaces.

The tiny holes in the shell on the top right were made by boring sponges. Click here for more information.

I took this photo of a snail at the touch tank at the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum in Sanibel. It’s amazing how large a snail can be inside a shell!

Posted June 7, 2022 by pbright2 in category Art, Science

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