A couple of recent flotsam finds from an evening walk on the beach; large whelk shells, probably the common whelk Buccinum undatum. Smaller whelks are found on the lower rocky beach and in rock pools but these ones, about 3 inches (c. 7.5 cm) in length live in deep water below the low tide mark. These sea snails are carnivores, fond of mussels but not above eating a dead fish should they comes across it. The inside of the aragonite shells are coated in nacre, otherwise known as mother of pearl. The Runswick blog ruler having been nicked by the young field assistants, I've included another kind of ruler, one on a 1905 penny for scale. King Edward VII was notoriously fond of whelks.