When I was a kid, every summer we would head down the parkway for a family vacation in Cape May.

My dad's aunt had a camper at Hideaway Beach that we would stay in for a few days.

During that trip, we would go to Sunset Beach in the evening.

I don't remember what month in the summer this trip usually occurred, but when we would visit that beach it would be covered in horseshoe crabs.

Photo by David Trinks on Unsplash
Photo by David Trinks on Unsplash

Horseshoe crabs don't even look real. They look like fossils, some prehistoric animals from days gone by.

The family horseshoe crabs belong to date back over 250 million years, which can explain why they look like a fossil.

These creatures are harmless to humans but can look a little scary, especially when flipped over.

Horseshoe Crab
Library of Congress

Don't worry those little pinser-looking things are harmless.

Horseshoe crab mating season in New Jersey is from May through June, which means you may see more horseshoe crabs on the sand during this time.

Sometimes these ancient-looking animals get washed ashore and end up upside down on the sand.

Fun fact: horseshoe crabs swim upside down.

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What should you do if you see a horseshoe crab upside down on the beach?

HorseshoeCrab.org has an initiative called "Just Flip 'Em," to encourage people to flip upside down horseshoe crabs on the beach.

Sometimes the sea creature can flip itself right side up, using its tail, but that's not always the case.

How to flip a horseshoe crab

It is important to not crab a horseshoe crab by the tail. No, the tail can't hurt you, but it is delicate.

Flipping a horseshoe crab by its tail can break the tail off.

To flip the crab simply grab either side of the shell and flip it over.

Remember, it can't hurt you.

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