Photos: Shark Eggs Wash up on the Beach, Look Unusual

June 2, 2019 Updated: June 3, 2019

These are close to the top of the list when it comes to unusual objects that one might find washed up on the beach.

The objects are sometimes known as “mermaids’ purses.”

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Kat Monroe (@mskatmonroe) on

Sometimes, they’re called “devil’s purses.”

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Kat Monroe (@mskatmonroe) on

But they’re not a bag, a purse, or even something man-made.

Instead, they’re shark eggs.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Christopher Caravello (@nolecore) on

The pouches often baffle those who find them.

When one looks closely, a tiny shark pup can sometimes be seen.

The “purses” are made of collagen protein and are soft and somewhat leathery to the touch.

Typically, they have exits where the shark pups have swum out. If not, the pups didn’t survive.

Some have different shapes, including spirals.

View this post on Instagram

Never saw #seaweed like this before #unusual #beachtreasures #beach #spiral

A post shared by Marika (@gardengypsyhide) on

Among the 9 orders of sharks, egg-laying can be found only in three varieties of shark.

“About 43 percent of sharks and rays—including skates, most cat sharks, and the nine species of horn shark—lay eggs rather than give birth to live young. California horn sharks lay about two every 10-14 days or so during the spring and summer (the stat is based primarily on aquarium research), and each contains one little embryo,” according to Science Daily in a writeup.

“It’s unclear how that shape actually develops,” said Christopher Lowe, a marine biology professor who is in charge of the Shark Lab at California State University in Long Beach.

The report elaborated that the “packaging” of the egg is of a material similar to fingernails or hair.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber