The distinctive razor shells are easily recognisable from their unique rectangular shaped shells. Best spotted on sandy and muddy beaches at low tide.
Common, not threatened.
The razor shell gained its common name for looking like a traditional cut-throat razor and can live up to ten years.
The razor shell uses a large foot to burrow into the sand to hide from predators wanting to eat them and they feed using long siphons to filter plankton.
On the Wash razor shells have been commercially harvested for export and in some countries they are considered a delicacy.
Razor shells have long thin rectangular shells and grow up to 20cm long. The outer surface of the shell can be white or yellowish with dark purple, black or brown markings. No other shell on the beach has this very distinctive shape.
Sandy and muddy beaches at low tide. Living specimens are likely to be found near the low tide line. They live in burrows in the sand and mud but their presence is revealed by a spurt of water as they retreat lower into their burrow when disturbed by approaching footsteps. Sometimes thousands of razor shells are washed ashore and litter the high tide line and sands – they can be painful to tread on in bare feet!
The marine environment is under pressure and by supporting campaigns, such as the Wildlife Trust Living Seas campaign, we can help razor shells and other marine invertebrates.