Giant creature of the deep discovered at Heath Pond!
Grandchildren of the Chairman of Friends of Petersfield Heath, Richard Warton, discovered giant molluscs living in the mud of Heath Pond.
Richard said, “It was one of those beautiful balmy Sunday evenings when my grandchildren were visiting and some distraction was needed, so we took our water rocket down to the Heath Pond for a few launches and a soaking or two!”
“All was going well until the wind changed and our projectile landed a few yards out into the pond. Undaunted, our eldest grandchild waded in to retrieve it. On returning to the bank he not only had the rocket but also the most extraordinary huge shell-like creature he found in the mud”.
He had discovered a swan mussel, a European species of freshwater mollusc with good distribution in ponds and lakes in lowland UK, though it is endangered in a number of other countries. Swan mussels typically measure around 15cm in length but are rarely found, since they bury themselves in the mud. This one may have been at the surface of the mud to spawn.
The swan mussel is not generally eaten by humans. It is reputed to give off a strong smell and tends to be used by fishermen as bait.