Sand dollars (also known as a sea cookie or snapper biscuit in New Zealand, or pansy shell in South Africa) are species of flat, burrowing sea urchins belonging to the order Clypeasteroida. Some species within the order, not quite as flat, are known as sea biscuits.
There are around 800 extant species and the group has a long and detailed fossil record stretching back about 450 million years ago to the Late Ordovician Period. Commonly called "Sea Biscuits" of Sea Urchins Echinoid is Latin for "pickle".
That means it is alive. If the sand dollar you find is alive, place it gently back into the water. Sand dollars cannot survive long out of the water, and placing them back into the sea will allow them to live and continue to be part of the ecosystem.
They can be found anywhere from North Carolina to the Carribean. They are usually on the bottom of sand fields and shelly sediment with minimal seagrass (Hendler et al., 1995). They hide themselves just beneath the surface of the sand.
Seabiscuit had gene variants that are often found in horses that are good distance runners, but also variants in minor racing genes that are usually found in sprinting horses. This rare genetic combination of stamina and speed seems to be reflected in the horse's racing record.
Can Sand Dollars Bite? Sand dollars do not bite. However, their long spines can cause puncture wounds and their small bones in their spines can cause a burning sensation if they puncture the skin. Be careful when handling the underside of a sand dollar.
People who take sand dollars from the water are cruelly killing the creatures, and that's unkind, of course, because they do feel pain. But they're also preventing the sea urchin from serving its purpose in the ocean — as an algae eater, a deep-depth oxygen provider and as food for other fish.
Seabiscuit died of a probable heart attack on May 17, 1947, in Willits, California, six days short of 14 years old, and six months before his grandsire Man o' War. He is buried at Ridgewood Ranch in Mendocino County, California.
Check the color. Sand dollars are grey, brown or purplish when they are alive. After death, the color fades and the skeleton becomes very white. When they are alive, sand dollars secrete echinochrome, a harmless substance that will turn your skin yellow.
A substance called echinochrome is produced by living sand dollars and while it's perfectly harmless, it will stain your fingers. Sanibel Sea School says a good way to tell if the sand dollar is still alive is to hold one gently in the palm on your hand for about a minute, and then check if your skin turned yellow.
Any beachcomber who finds Sand Dollars along their stroll considers it a lucky omen! They aren't likely to be found on many beaches, but there are several spots around the United States where you'll find them, including one of my favorites, Wingaersheek Beach, in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
You know what to look for and how to look for it. Where you specifically want to go are the two best beaches on Sanibel Island for sand dollar hunting, and that is Bowman's Beach and Tarpon Bay Beach. The best places on the beaches are of course the shallows, specifically at low tide, and after a storm.