Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Baby's Ear

Babys' ears are cute. Everyone knows that. And there is a beautiful little shell that is commonly found on Ocracoke's beach that looks much like a baby's ear.

This small (ca. 1 inch long), flat, white gastropod (a snail-like, one shelled animal) is found from Virginia to the West Indies. The live animal almost completely surrounds the shell. The shells are common on Outer Banks beaches. They are relatively sturdy, so they are most often found unbroken.

The scientific name of this species is Sinum perspectivum (Say).

Baby's Ear Shell

You might want to look for these cute little shells on your next walk on the beach.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Rondthalers of Ocracoke Island. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032112.htm.


  1. debbie s.8:39 AM

    I've found loads of those all along the obx, never knew what they were! thanks! ;)

  2. I have some. They are cute.

  3. Anonymous11:26 AM

    Philip, could you recommend a book for shell identification? or post images of frequently found shells on the island along with the names?

  4. I have shell story or maybe its a ghost story.

    Wr were walking one evening near the Hatteras ferry, I found a nice size tiger's eye. After checking to make sure there wasn't anythingl iving in it I took it back to the motel. I cleaned and cleaned on it because it had been stuck to some barnacles on a piece of wood.

    We were staying at Blackbeards Lodge. I placed my shell on the chest and went to bed. I heard something hit the floor I went to look and it was the shell. I picked it up making sure it was in the middle of the chest top. Back to bed and in a few minutes I heard a plop, I picked it up and put i back. It didn't fall anymore that night, but the next morning we went out leaving the shell on the chest and returned to find it on the floor. i know there was not any living creature in that shell. I packed it away and that was the end. Any ideas other than Blackbeard's ghost?

  5. Anonymous7:27 PM

    Philip, NC Mainlander always is delighted when finding Baby's Ear seashells on Ocracoke Island shores. Unlike Scotch Bonnets, I usually have better success discovering Baby's Ear shells in perfect condition.

    Truly, sweet little treasures from the sea to thee!

  6. See my post for April 5 for a good shell book. There are also a couple of smaller books dedicated to the Outer Banks, but I do not have access to them right now. I will try to remember to post the titles next week when I will have them again.

  7. Pat, are you absolutely certain there was no critter in the shell? They can retreat deep into the shell's recesses.

  8. Well as sure as I can be considering the cleaning.