For many people who comb St. Simons real estate for treasures, itâ€™s a thrill to find sand dollars. As such, the organisms are one of the most sought after beach combing finds around.
Unfortunately in their excitement, many visitors forget to check and see if the marine creatures are alive or dead before placing them into their beach bags or pails. Having lived in the Golden Isles for many years, our real estate agents have a few tips on determining a sand dollarâ€™s status.
When they are alive, young and healthy, these tiny, round members of the Gnathostomata super order are covered in a downy, dark-colored material. In addition, the sea creatureâ€™s entire circumference is covered in diminutive, finger-like cilia. Both the down and cilia start to fade away shortly after the invertebratesâ€™ death.
So in the early, post-mortem stages the sand dollarâ€™s exterior may take on a dusky gray, molted or off-color hue.
As time goes on, however, the entire surface is washed clean from the elements. Accordingly, only the creatureâ€™s bleached skeleton will remain visible in the sand. So the best way to identify the living from the dead is with a cursory, visual examination. If healthy down and cilia remain, St. Simons real estate agents recommend leaving the sea creatures where they lay.
If they donâ€™t have the required surface layers, it should be safe to take the sand dollars home or elsewhere for further examination.
If the sand dollars are removed from St. Simonsâ€™ beach real estate, there are several ways to preserve them for decorative use. However, one of the best ways is just to let the Golden Islesâ€™ natural sunlight bleach them out.
Why? Using artificial bleaching means tends to weaken the remaining skeletonâ€™s integrity and may sometimes add an unwanted, yellow hue.
To learn more about these invertebrates and other riches to be found on St. Simons, please contact DeLoach Sothebyâ€™s International Realty today.