Most people run or walk into the surf at the Jersey Shore unaware that these little things are everywhere. If you dig in the dry sand with your kids to build a sandcastle you won't find any. But if you go to the edge of the water and dig anywhere from an inch to three or four, you'll probably run into plenty of them. Millions of them!

If you want to entertain your kids or freak out anyone in your group that's a little squeamish, take a few minutes and dig them up.

Dennis Malloy/Townsquare Media
Dennis Malloy/Townsquare Media
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If you don't find them right at the water's edge, go a few yards into the surf and just scoop down into the sand with your hands, and voila! Sometimes you'll get half a dozen in one scoop with both hands.

Dennis Malloy/Townsquare Media
Dennis Malloy/Townsquare Media
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They're known as the Atlantic mole crab, sand bugs, sand fleas or emerita talpoida. They make great bait for blackfish or tautog and some use them with great success surf fishing for stripers too. You won't run across them on your trip to the beach unless you go looking and digging for them.

Some adventurous seafood lovers have even tried to cook them up a few years ago.  No thanks, I'll think I'll pass. Don't expect to see them on any menu at the Jersey Shore anytime soon.

On a recent beautiful sunny day on the Atlantic City beach my son and I decided to introduce them to my granddaughters. The 4-year-old kept pulling her hand back and squealing while the one-year-old was unfazed by the squirming little creature and tried to snack on one. Ah, fun with the kids at the beach!

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy only.

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