East Beach ~ Barrier Beach

Physical Characteristics

Do many species of animals make the beach their home?

Few animal species are found on the barrier beach. The barrier beach is an difficult place to live. An animal must be able to withstand the wide temperature ranges, the salt spray, the shifting sand, the tides, the wind, and storms. Those animals that do live at the sandy shore must adapt in order to survive. For example, mole crabs are constantly on the move, moving up and down the sandy shore with the tides. Bivalves, such as the razor clam, have a strong digging foot in order to escape the crashing waves. Many of the animals that do live on the barrier beach burrow beneath the sand to keep moist when the tide is out and to escape predators.

Birds are the most common animal living on the barrier beach. If you visit the barrier beach you can be sure to see sea gulls, terns, sand pipers, or sanderlings. Gulls and terns build have territory on the upper beach and foredunes where they build nests and lay their eggs.


Ring-billed gull
(Photos by Robert Kenney)