Horseshoe crabs are becoming a common sight once more along the beaches of the Delaware Bay. At one point in time they were severely endangered due to being used as fertilizer and bait for eels and whelks.
A female lays between 60,000 to 120,000 eggs in a season. These eggs are important not only to further the population of horseshoe crabs, but also to provide food for endangered migratory shore birds.
Horseshoe crabs breed in shallow waters and lay their eggs along the beach. They easily upturn in the surf and it is not an uncommon sight to see dozens on their backs along the shoreline. Volunteers gather during mating season to turn the horseshoe crabs right side up again. You can read about their efforts here: Volunteers Saving Horseshoe Crabs
Although we weren’t part of a group, last year my cousin and I flipped all the upturned crabs we found back on their feet, or would that be legs…or claws? Anyway, we turned them right side up again. Unfortunately, several flipped onto their backs again with the next incoming wave. Still, I’m sure a few survived because of our efforts.
We were really hungry after our rescue mission, and went to a terrific little bayside cafe called “The Landing.”