The Bull-Mouth Helmet Snail (Cypraecassis rufa) is a large marine snail – a gastropod mollusk in the Cassidae family. It is also called a Cameo Shell.
The Bull-Mouth Helmet is a snail with its shell. The shell is shaped like a helmet. The shell is large, thick, and creamy-beige-coloured with a red-orange sheen. It is coiled with ridges (called varices) and bumps. It has a blunt knob at the narrow end (the anterior end). On the wide end (the posterior end), there is a spire and a protoconch. The shell has an orange-cream long, narrow opening.
The snail inside is a large muscular foot-shaped gastropod. The snail has a large head with eyes at the base of each of the two tentacles (like antennae).
The Bull-Mouth Helmet Snail can measure up to 17 centimetres (7 inches) long.
It is found in the tropical and temperate oceans of southern Africa and east Africa, specifically on the Kenyan coast. It is usually buried in the sand at the bottom of the ocean.
The Bull-Mouth Helmet Snail is diurnal, mainly active during the day. At night, it remains hidden in the sand.
The Bull-Mouth Helmet Snail eats echinoderms, such as sea urchins. It makes a hole in the sea urchin and sucks up the urchin meat.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM