Do you enjoy a family Easter egg hunt each year? Most youngsters love a visit from the Easter bunny, but did you know there’s a chocolate-free Easter egg hunt if you’re at the beach over the holidays?

Try a Shark Eggcase Hunt instead. It’s a thing! It’s free, you learn about different shark, skate and ray egg cases and it gets the kids involved in marine conservation too. And it’s not as scary or dangerous as it might sound to some – shark eggcases are what you might know as a Mermaids Purse and they get washed up in seaweed on the beach.

Read on for more info.

I was so done with 2018’s weather it drove me to whinge in writing which is very unusual for me! ‘Bad’ weather doesn’t usually stop me getting outdoors but the 2018 winter had me shrivelled away in a disgusted heap of despair, depression and vitamin D deficiency!

Even the glorious sunshine that heralded Easter Sunday lasted a mere half hour before the wind, rain and yes, more sleet, sent us huddling back under cover. Deep sigh.

Easter Egg Hunt

The thoughtful Easter bunny had arrived early so we made the most of the brief sun for a barefoot garden Easter egg hunt – this one with chocolate. The bunny had also left a gorgeous bucket of sunshine to cheer us up – if the freezing weather doesn’t do for it first.

Image of cream bucket standing on grass with yellow daffodils and primroses growing in
A bucket of sunshine!

Wooden Birds Eggs from the Easter Bunny

Actually the Easter bunny left a rather wonderful gift in addition to chocolate; this set of 10 hand-painted wooden birds eggs (displayed by Caroline in the homemade nest!) Nice work Easter bunny, must find out where you shop. Perfect for nature-loving wild kids.

Image of terracotta bowl with straw nest and different sized and coloured wooden birds eggs inside

Shark Egg Hunt at the Beach!

After more rain the sky cleared and we again dashed outside, this time to the beach with Caroline’s partner in adventure crime for a hot soup picnic (in the camper due to yet more sleet) and awaited a dry spell to spot shark eggcases as part of The Shark Trust’s #GreatEggcaseHunt (which you can do all year round not just at Easter).

Image of two girls in blue and red clothes with backs to camera walking on piles of seaweed on beach looking into seaweed with sea and dunes behind

Image of girl in blue coat handing piece of black seaweed to girl in red coat, standing on seaweed with sea behind

Where to Search for Shark Eggcases

For once this year The Beast from the East was in our favour, having created huge piles of seaweed on the strandline during the giant storms. Ideal for hunting empty shark eggcases caught in seaweed after the eggs have hatched.

What is a Mermaid’s Purse?

Empty shark, skate and ray egg cases wash up on the beach to be found by us beachcombers as ‘Mermaid’s Purses,’ a romantic name for a very cool piece of beach treasure. Check out this gorgeous driftwood and sea treasure mobile we made a few years ago – it looks great on the wall and the Mermaid’s purses are still intact.

Image of dark leather-like pouch camouflaged in pile of dark seaweed on sand
Small-spotted Catshark eggcase (Mermaid’s Purse!) camouflaged in seaweed

Record Eggcase Sightings

Empty shark egg cases provide a great indication of the creatures’ breeding nurseries, helping marine charities identify areas for conservation.

Become a citizen scientist to help The Shark Trust and Save Our Seas with their Great Eggcase Hunt and ask that we record all sightings to further their research.

You can add your sightings (all year round) and upload photos at record your sightings.

Download their brilliant eggcase ID guide to be sure which species you’ve spotted. They’ll also ID them for you via email.

Fascinating Shark Facts

  • There are over 600 species of shark worldwide
  • Each eggcase (or Mermaid’s Purse) contains just one embryo
  • The UK is home to some 30 species of shark
  • The most commonly found UK shark eggcases are from the Small-spotted Catshark and the Nursehound

Useful Links

For more family ideas and things to do at the beach with children see the Kids of the Wild beach and ocean section, and also jellyfish spotting

Search Kids of the Wild website for more outdoor family ideas in the school holidays

To record other nature sightings and participate in citizen science read family nature spotting and citizen science surveys.

Learn about the work of The Shark Trust

Find out about Save our Seas

Happy Easter Holidays

Image of cross made of shells in sand with the words happy easter written in sand


See what you can spot if you’re at the beach and if not, get inspired with ideas to get your family and kids outdoors by searching the Kids of the Wild website.

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