Finding the Fighting Conch

DATE: June 12, 2020

One of Sanibel Island’s most beloved activities is shelling. There are a variety of bright colors and shapes of shells that grab our attention immediately and anyone who has ever found a rare specimen knows what joy it can bring. However, there is also great joy to be found when discovering an island regular.

One of the most common shells on Sanibel is the Fighting Conch, known for its bright orange and yellow colors. You can find these shells burrowed in warm water as far north as North Carolina and all the way to the Caribbean Sea but here in Florida is where it’s most prized.

florida fighting conch assorted in hand sanibel island gulf

The Fighting Conch is typically found in shallow seagrass beds and sandy waters. This shell doesn’t get its name from its looks but from its personality. The snail that lives inside is known to be territorial and battle it out with those that invade its personal bubble. Although the Florida Fighting Conch may sound dangerous, it is not aggressive toward other species or beach-going humans.

The Fighting Conch will wave its muscular foot around if they feel threatened. Male Fighting Conch shells tend to get territorial if another male Fighting Conch gets too close. In the past, these creatures have been used in Conch fighting where humans made these creatures fight against each other which could last days to weeks due to how slow these creatures move. Thankfully, this practice is no longer in favor.

Learn more about the Fighting Conch from Sanibel Sea School

Tips to finding beautiful shells:

  • The best time to go shelling is at low tide when all of the shells become exposed at the waterline.
  • Bring a bucket or a net and scoop through the sand to find a ton of shells
  • Shuffle your feet through the sand to expose those deeper shells and bring them up to the surface

Plan your next shelling adventure and beach vacation today and explore the shell filled shores off of the Gulf Coast!

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