I took a detour on my way up to feeding my feral cat friend on the eastern shore last week and went out to Primehook Beach on the Delaware Bay inlet for an hour of pretty beach walking. And in honor of mews1945's birthday, I have a horsehoe crab story.
I've seen a lot of horseshoe crabs on Atlantic beaches, and this one was really covered with them, but all the ones I've seen were dead and dried, washed up on the beach. This one, however, was trucking her way down the beach from the high tide line down to the water.
You can see her tracks here. She was going slow, so I gave her a lift for a few feet, dragging her along, to help her on her way. You can see where I picked her up from where the track treads end.
I was fascinated by her tracks. They look just like tire treads.
She was really big--about a foot and a half across and two feet long, not counting her tail.
She got turned over at one point before being far enough to be lifted under, so I helped her turn over. A few more waves and she made her way in and disappeared into the ocean.
After that, I turned over what ones I saw laying upside down on the beach, just in case some of them were alive. I always thought the ones I saw on the beach were just washed up and dying, but I read that's not always the case. Apparently, they lay their eggs in holes they dig on the beach, and then make their way back into the sea.
Also posted at http://lavendertook.dreamwidth.org/1155