Thousands of Depredated Surf Clams Wash Ashore on Scusset Beach

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Depredated Surf Clam on Scusset Beach

Gusty winds from an early season nor’easter swooped down on Cape Cod Bay from the North Atlantic today.  Turtle Journal patrolled north facing beaches from Scusset in Bourne, on the west side of the canal, to Sandy Neck in Barnstable to see if any critters had been driven ashore and were in need of rescue. 

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Thousands of Surf Clams Litter the Wrack Line

We reached Scusset Beach around two in the afternoon at mid tide rising.  As we walked the shore we spotted thousands, probably tens of thousands, of small surf clam shells massed along the leading edge of the incoming surf for about a quarter mile of beach.  These small clams ranged in length from approximately 15 mm to 60 mm, with the greatest number of clams about 30 mm long.

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Depredated Surf Clams by the Thousands

Closer examination revealed that nearly every clam had been depredated with a neatly drilled hole penetrating to the soft animal inside the shell. 

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Drill Holes Clearly Visible in Depredated Surf Clams

We found no likely suspect predators mixed with the shells during our search of the Scusset shoreline.

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To provide a visceral sense of sizing, we placed a nickel on a pile of the surf clam shells and snapped the picture above.  On leaving the beach, we observed thousands of surf clam shells along the morning’s high tide line, partially covered in wind blown beach sand.

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