It was in poor shape; half cut through, with a quarter of its tentacles gone, and the mouth demolished. Still, it was alive and responding, and it handled the trip home ok. It settled down on the floor of the aquarium and set about healing. Very slowly. At first, s/he* didn't seem to be eating; after all, with the mouth torn up, how could s/he? I mashed crab pellets in water and fed hir* the paste every couple of days. Some of it washed away, but I could see movement in the mouth area; an attempt at swallowing at least.
And the tentacles slowly grew back, the mouth gradually opened up.
S/he's healed now, and actively feeding. Tonight, I watched hir grab a piece of fish that floated by, and pull it in with one tentacle. The mouth gaped open; the fish disappeared.
"Val"**, as I'm calling hir, is getting fat.
|Burrowing anemone feeding. The tentacles curved inward just brought in another fish flake.|
When I found hir on the beach, s/he was a blob of flesh about 2 cm. across the widest part, including column and disc and tentacles all mushed together. I measured hir tonight. The portion of the column above the sand is about 2 cm. tall, and wider than it is tall. When s/he's feeding, it swells up even more; the 2 cm. was after it shrunk away from my ruler. And there's another centimetre of sand underneath before it reaches the oyster shell where it is anchored.
The tentacles average another 1 1/2 cm., and opened up, they measure 4 cm. across, but can stretch even more to grab an interesting bit of food.
There's still a bit of white scar tissue on one side of the mouth, and the new tentacles on the left are shorter than the others. But they're catching up quickly.
I wonder how big s/he will get? A description from the University of Oregon gives a mature size of 2 1/2 cm. across the crown, about 2 times the length of the tentacles, and a column height of up to 6 cm. So now s/he's about full width, but can grow taller if s/he's happy in my tank.
* Hir and s/he: gender-neutral pronouns. (See Wikipedia.) Because I don't know whether s/he's male or female.
**The name comes from Valentine, for the heart marks on the tentacles, and also for Valiant, which s/he certainly is!