Sand dollars are echinoderms, a close relative of the sea urchin and are often found on the Hunting Island beach. They are usually found on the outgoing tide and after a storm or spring tide. If collecting, you must make sure they are not alive. Live ones will have small "spiny hairs", called "cilia", on their underside. It is illegal to take or keep a live sand dollar and it carries a hefty fine.
If it has hair or is in the water, it is alive and should be placed back into the water, with the hair side down against the sand.
Sand Dollars eat tiny particles of food that float in the water.
Dead Sand Dollar shells are called a "test". If you break open a test, there are 5 small V-shaped white pieces, which are it's teeth.
How to Bleach Sand Dollars
Once you've found a dead sand dollar, the next step is to place it in fresh water. If the water turns brownish in color, drain water and re-fill. Repeat each time the water turns color. When the water remains clear, replace about half the water with bleach and leave the sand dollar for about 15 to 20 minutes. Don't use too much bleach or leave longer because this will make the sand dollar crumble. Rinse well with fresh water to remove the bleach and let dry in the sun. The longer in the sun, the more white the sand dollar will become. To harden the sand dollar more, just mix some white glue and water together and brush on the sand dollar after it has bleached to the desired color. You now have a beautiful treasure that will last a long time and bring back many memories.