These are my favorite kind of sea urchins, dead ones.* I know that sounds harsh coming from a self-professed nature lover but there is a personal reason for my animus.
Years ago (no, I won’t tell you how many, suffice it say it was quite awhile ago), my husband of one whole month and I traveled to Grand Cayman to attend my sister’s beach wedding. It was a special event that I almost missed thanks to a damn sea urchin.
While wading in a tranquil, turquoise-colored tide pool I had the serious misfortune of stepping on one. I have a really high pain threshold but this was excruciating! It not only stung but it spasmed as if being stabbed by dozens of tiny, electrified skewers. In other words, I don’t recommend touching a live one.
As I limped back to the hotel we passed our housekeeper who empathized with my predicament and said as a child she would just pee on any sea urchin stings. At that point I was willing to try anything! Only one small problem, as a woman, it is a considerable challenge to pee on the underside of my own foot.
So, I turned to my spouse (who had that manly ability to aim) and ordered him to pee on me. His answer? “But, I don’t have to pee!” I could’ve murdered him (justifiably so). Thankfully, a couple bottles of water later the curative pee was dosed to my instantaneous relief. So, yes, I still hold a grudge against sea urchins.
*Note: I found these tests during a recent beach walk, I did not have anything to do with their demise.
They are beautiful but I completely understand your lack of enthusiasm for the living version.
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And here’s another reason to harbor ill will toward sea urchins – they are devastating the kelp beds along the Pacific coast. Kelp beds are fantastic environments that provide safe haven and food for a wide range of species, but sea urchin destruction leaves behind a wasted landscape, appropriately called urchin barrens. Their overpopulation may be in part due to the sea star wasting disease that depleted those populations a few years ago (sea stars think sea urchins are delicious). Final note, sea otters can only survive in areas with dense kelp beds… Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/could-eating-sea-urchins-help-revive-kelp-forests-180973187/?fbclid=IwAR0Rm_2Pny3RD56Ji_BnxeMBpeBc7gtSuehDRCNwfjhXZVxaFUGACQUag4Q