The Background to Cowrie Hunting

Collecting Cowrie shells is a long established activity in the Radley/Thomas family having been passed down over several generations. The collection of Cowries which was originally an adjunct to a day at the seaside has now become a highly competitive activity in its own right!

When you think of Cowries you may well imagine the Tiger cowries (Cypraea tigris) found in Hawaii which are the largest in the world growing up to 10 cm. Cowries, sometimes called "porcelain shells", all have a shiny shell, since a "mantle" covering the shell protects the animal from predators. Tiger cowries, like all cowries, are herbivorous, grazing on small seaweeds or algae.

In fact Cowries are found throughout the world with several hundred different classifications having been identified.

Cowries are also found in Great Britain, although this appears not to be widely known. The British Cowrie is somewhat smaller than the tropical ones being approx. 5 mm in length. What it lacks in size, however, it makes up for in it's unique shape and delicate pink colour. Cowries can be found in various locations in the UK, but the best are closely guarded family secrets!

The number of Cowries which can be collected in a day varies widely and can range from none to several hundred.

Further information

Some interesting links

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