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A Sea of Sand Dollars: Mating Season Set to Start Soon

Sand dollars are all over Sanibel beaches right now.

“For most people, it’s like, ‘Oh my word, where did all these sand dollars come from?’,” Bruce Neill, Executive Director of the Sanibel Sea School, said.

It’s because it’s mating season. And it’s tied to something random — the moon.

“They all mate at once— typically within three or four days of a full moon,” Neill said.

Sand dollars help the environment, even if it’s just by eating the tiny creatures in the sand.

“When they do that, they mix up the sand,” Neill said. “So they keep the sand all nice and mixed and have oxygen in it, so they really are important for the other creatures that live in the sand.”

During this time, it’s best to leave them alone.

“Enjoy them, love them,” Neill said. “Put them back where you found them.”

The next full moon is on July 27.

Reporting by Anna Kohls