Scientific name: Nucella lapillus
This sea snail is abundant on rocky shores around the UK. It is an active predator, feasting on mussels and barnacles before retreating to crevices to rest.
When to seeJanuary to December
AboutWith a pointed snail-like shell, dog whelks are found on the lower shore wherever there are barnacles or mussels - their favourite food.
Once fed, dog whelks will rest in a crevice for a number of days before feeding again. Dog whelks avoid dense mussel beds as the mussels can trap the whelk using their sticky byssus threads. Nearly 30% of dog whelks trapped in this way die from slow starvation. Dog whelks lay their eggs in small yellowish capsules which can be spotted under rocky overhangs on the lower shore. Each capsule contains up to a thousand eggs - though most of these will become food for the few that hatch and develop.