PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. - Millions of small, black cerith snails cover one area of Fort De Soto Beach, stunning wildlife lovers.
The shellfish, known as cerith snails, cover nearly the entire length of the beach. Robert Neff snapped several pictures of the bizarre event.
“I grew up in Florida and I’ve never seen anything like this. It was amazing to see,” he said.
What makes this so odd is Cerith snails don’t typically wash up onto land. They’re usually along the bottom of the ocean in flat reefs or hiding in coral reefs where the temperature is warm.
The snails are in an area off the south end of the parking lot at Fort DeSoto’s North beach, which borders the bird sanctuary.
Neff says the low tide exposed the snails over the weekend, and many are still at the beach. His photographs, along with video taken by Mark Freels of See Through Adventures, have been widely shared across social media.
One former research assistant from the Georgia Sea Turtle Center says it’s possible the snails came to the shallow waters because they found food, which was washed up by recent hurricanes, on the beach.
Freels says it was a very strange and magnificent sight.
“My job is to take people on kayak adventures and you never know what you’ll find. This was very interesting to see,” he said.