Not being able to get into the water during my vacation meant that I prowled the beaches with my camera prying into the private lives of every visitor. One of my interesting encounters was with a cowrie. I’ve handled these shells now and then. When I was a child, I used to like the small white ones. I saw one lying on the beach, and I moved to pick it up. Then it moved!
It scurried across the sand, pushing itself with its claws. I tried to take a photo. As I moved the camera towards it, it hunkered down. The claws disappeared into the shell. I could see its eye stalks waving uncertainly (photo to the right, above). I drew back, waiting to see what it would do.
After some waiting, it decided to start moving again. Its claws came out, and it pushed itself rapidly across the sand with them. I brought my camera forward, and it scurried. The eyestalks remained on the camera, as I drew back and took the featured photo.
The defensive action of molluscs is to hunker down, and withdraw from the world. I found it interesting, that this one was curious enough to keep its eyes out.