6 Fun Facts about Carolina Ocean Species You Didn’t Know

Are you planning a trip to the southern coast this summer? Of course you are! (Or should be!) Whether you’re coming to the south for abundant sunshine or a short work escape, our coastal waters hold unique sea creatures and shells that you won’t find on many coastlines. Keep an eye out for these ocean treasures next time you come to Mrytle Beach:


Dolphins: Bottlenose dolphins are a common sight on the southeast coast, but that doesn’t make them any less of a treat to see. These intelligent marine animals range from 300-450 pounds and live up to 40 years. In fact, dolphins can hear sounds up to 15 miles away under water. So, do they ever take a moment to rest? In a sense — Dolphins sleep with 50% of their brain awake and one eye open. Talk about a light night’s sleep!

Jellyfish: Believe it or not, jellyfish existed before dinosaurs! The common knowledge that jellyfish are notorious for stinging is no joke. In fact, they have millions of small stinging cells in their tentacles that help them capture a snack by injecting toxin into their prey. Watch out!

Seagull: While you’re probably thinking “of course there’s seagulls; it’s the beach,” you might not know how insanely clever they are. Over the years, seagulls have learned and passed on behaviors, such as stomping their feet on the ground to imitate rainfall, thus tricking worms to come to the surface for a tasty snack. In addition, seagulls are one of the few animals who can drink both fresh and saltwater thanks to a pair of glands between their eyes which flush the salt out the openings in the bill. What a colony of smart cookies!


Sundial: Shells that come from a snail are known as a sundial and are distinguished by their flattened disc shape and spirals. The shell coating can range from white to rainbow color and can have a low lustre or be highly iridescent, although most sundials on the southeast coast are neutral colored.

A sundial is unique in the sense that it’s a flattened disc shape and exhibits beautiful spirals in the hues of white, brown, and ash. Believe it or not, some people recognize sundials for their healing properties. Apparently they can calm emotional situations, promote cooperation and bring harmony in relationships. Now you know how to get your significant other to do the grocery shopping this week; You’re welcome!)

Atlantic Giant Cockle: Equally as strange and humorous as its name is its presence on the coastal shores in South Carolina! Take a stroll down the beach and you’ll be sure to see an abundance of these fan-shaped shells. Radial ribs run throughout the length of the shell and each half is precisely the same size as the other half, making for a strong base that allows the shell to bury into sediment and filter plankton.

Campeche Angel Wing: This sleek, ivory colored shell has an elongated spoon shape that spans 4 inches at maturity. Despite its delicate name and appearance, the angel wing can bore through wood, coral, and even moderately hard rock. Lesson learned: Don’t judge a shell by its cover!

If you’re flocking to the southern shores this spring or summer, be on the lookout for these unique ocean gems! Are you someone who likes to collect shells, daydreams about dolphin sightings, or equally admires both? Let us know what you’re most excited to see at the beach the summer (besides the ocean and sun, of course)!

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