Walking along the beach at Three Cliffs Bay we stumbled upon a strange looking object lying on the sands. Our first impressions were that it was some sort of pine cone, though one that was heavily waterlogged. Picking it up revealed a soft composition that when squeezed released a stream of liquid. This prompted a closer inspection revealing a hairy covering on top and a foot-like structure underneath. What we had found was in fact a Sea Cucumber, a new sea creature for both of us.

Update 06/02/2011

After I posted this entry a comment from Stu corrected my original identification. This is in fact a Sea Mouse and not a Sea Cucumber as I had originally thought and my thanks go out to him. I’ll admit now that I had never heard of these before so it’s fascinating to have actually found one. Sea Mice are, despite their appearance, a form of marine worm and normally live buried head first in the sand. It’s body is covered in a dense mat of hairs that normally have a red sheen to warn off predators. When light shines on them perpendicularly however they flash green and blue as in my photos below.

23879 - Sea Cucumber, Three Cliffs Bay, Gower
23880 - Sea Cucumber, Three Cliffs Bay, Gower

Information on Sea Cucumbers:

It’s remarkably hard to find decent information on these creatures from an internet search without being inundated with recipes on how to cook them. Personally I can’t think of anything I’d like to eat less but it takes all sorts I guess. The best information I can find is from Wikipedia’s article which I recommend reading if you want to learn more about these fascinating marine animals. They are also good for hair loss apparently!


theconstantwalker · February 4, 2011 at 10:44 pm

The last time I saw one of those was way back in 1986 in Tobago. The local guides made the most of the squirting long black cucumber to try and embarrass the women on the trip. UK girls …not a chance.

Anonymous · February 4, 2011 at 10:46 pm

Adam – it's a 'sea mouse' – we had loads washed up on the beach at Fleetwood a few weeks back – they freaked Wendy out as I kept mentioning Doctor Who and sea creatures coming ashore and latching onto your neck to control you in a zombie like way… evil I know but I couldn't help myself… 🙂

Great photo of them – i've seen them alive a loooooooooong time ago when i used to snorkle as a kid in N. Wales


Sondra · February 5, 2011 at 11:18 pm

WOW strange looking thing…Why would anyone consider eating that–unless its that or starvation I guess-

Adam Tilt · February 6, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Thanks Stu for the correction in my original ID. I've never heard of Sea Mice so it's brilliant to find out about them. I can see why you'd link them with Dr Who as well given their strange appearance.

Unknown · February 6, 2011 at 11:13 pm

Wow!! I've never seen one before. Drop over to my site and read about the 100 sled dogs that were killed in a horrific way in BC Canada.Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Adam Tilt · February 6, 2011 at 11:30 pm

Thanks Gary. I've read your story and signed the petition. Truly shocking.

Dave Ingram · February 7, 2011 at 12:31 am

Very cool – I've seen lots of sea cucumbers but never a sea mouse.


Adam Tilt · February 7, 2011 at 8:52 am

Thanks Dave. I wonder how often these get washed up?

Caroline Gill · February 7, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Thank you, Adam, for confirming my gull ID – I'm very grateful. I always have doubts about these birds as they look so different depending on age, season etc.

The Sea Mouse is amazing. I once wrote a light rhyme about seaside secrets – the Sea Orange, the Sea Pea, the Sea Canary etc. – but failed to include the Sea Cucumber or Sea Mouse … Back to the drawing board, perhaps?

The Sea Mouse was an astonishing find, especially with the coloured light reflecting off it.

Adam Tilt · February 7, 2011 at 10:43 pm

No problem Caroline. Always willing to help. And I'm sure you can squeeze a Sea Mouse in there somewhere.

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