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Shell collecting can be a fun hobby but it can get you into trouble, so get the scoop on local statutes, laws and limitations before you begin this beach treasure hunt. In the United States, many state beach parks protect their shell life and place limits on the quantity of items and types of species you can take. In some countries, such as Australia, it is illegal to tamper with the shore in any way. A hefty fine might be levied for taking live (or even empty) shells from the beach, so always check with the Park Ranger to make sure you are doing the right thing. If you cannot take your treasures with you, it need not limit your fun or your memories: take a picture of the shells you find, and take along a shell guide so that you can identify shells you find and take notes. Many guide books also provide information about where and when to find certain shells, how to clean and preserve them, and which are common or rare discoveries.