Hello Blogville! Toodle-ooo to Turkle!
It's time for another episode of those Crabby Mondays. This week we thought we'd tell everyone some specifics about fabulous lives as Hermit Crabs. We lead very interesting lives. We'll mix in some scientific data along with some tips for having our crabby furiends living with you.
Here comes the info!
We are Shelldon and Beachnut and we live with Sarge and The Hands. The Hands brought us here from a yucky pet store back last October. We are Decapod Crustaceans and there are 1,100 different species of marine and terrestrial hermit crabs. Most are aquatic. Decapod means we have 10 legs like a shrimp. Some of our legs are small and kept inside our shells so you can't see them. We are from the species Coenobita Clypeatus better known as Caribbean or Purple Pincher Hermit Crabs. The two other types most found in pet stores are Australian Land and Ecuadorian Hermit Crabs. We are native to places like Ecuador, Belize, Florida and the Bahamas....and now Sarge's territory! Teeheehee.
Hermit Crabs can only lay our eggs at sea. That means no captive breeding for us! We're native crabbies. So, you'll need to select a crab from a pet store. That way you're not getting one from nature, but instead getting one used to inside living. We come in a wide range of sizes. From 1/4 inch clear up to softball size. We need some space, so choose a crabitat that has plenty of room for us to more around and to grow! See these examples of some of our crabbie relatives!
Look how teeny-tiny! Oh My Clawd that's a small shell!
OMC it's a ginormous one! Check out that monster crabby!
I bet he hears a HUGE ocean inside that shell! Teeheehee
Most hermit crab species are nocturnal like us. We like the night and usually we rarely come out during the day. But, we are also all individuals, and yes, we all have personalities! I, Shelldon, have always liked to roam around in the daytime and I'm not nervous around The Hands. I don't mind them holding me and letting me climb all around. Now for me, Beachnut, I like it quiet. The Hands scare me a little, so I'm the shy type. I'm a homebody. Since I moulted a few weeks ago, I have been more active and I started wandering around some in the daytime with Shelldon. See, we're like any other living creature...unique!
We are also very social animals. In the wild, we can live in colonies of up to 100 crabs! It's a good idea to get two Hermit Crabs so we can visit with each other. Make sure our crabitat has room for both of us. Our home needs to be warm and humid. Keep up 70-80 degrees and moist. You can use a misting bottle or a damp sea sponge to keep our home damp. No heat lamps, please. Those dry us out. A pet store will have a heating pad that you can use to keep us warm. Ours sticks on the side of our tank. We need dechlorinated, fresh water and also some salt water. The pet store will have the right mixture of salt water and just a small dish of it will do. The fresh water is more interesting to us and lots of us like to go swimming and bathing.
We are mostly scavengers and omnivores. That means we eat what we find laying around the beach and jungle and we eat meat as well as veggies. We'll be healthy and happy if you feed us lots of fresh and dried fruit, veggies, nuts, cereal, peanutbutter, crackers, plain jerky. We really like tropical fruits like pineapple, coconut, bananas. Be sure it is all fresh and not moldy. Pets stores sell food for us too and that can be mixed with the fresh stuff. Our big front pincher is really only used for fighting if we have to and our smaller front pincher is what we use to pinch off bites of food and eat. Speaking of our pinchers, we rarely pinch unless we are scared or are trying to get a grip to climb. If you have a crab and it pinches you, run it under some room temperature, clean water and it will let go. Don't hurt us, we're just trying to hang on...besides, we don't pinch hard and not very often. We girls have never ever ever ever pinched The Hands. We're good girls and they're good to us!
We love our shell houses! We have soft, spiral abdomens that we keep tucked back inside our shells. The tip of our bodies are adapted to clasp the inner curl of our shell. We don't grow our own shells, we scavenge for empty ones and move right in. They have to be the right size for us so we are safe and comfy. We crabby girls have both recently moulted. See, we have a hard outer exoskeleton that covers our front half. It doesn't grow, so as our bodies grow, we sometimes have to split that exo, shed it and emerge as our bigger selves! When we do this, we usually replace missing legs, pinchers, and sometimes even eyes. Amazing, aren't we!?!? Please be careful that you don't think your crab has died and toss us out! Shelldon played that rotten trick on The Hands and nearly got herself thrown away. If you have a crab and see what looks like a dead, scrunchy body...please check carefully to be sure we didn't just moult and our new body is tucked way back inside a shell for protection. After moulting we are very soft and vulnerable. See this picture of a crab inside a clear shell!
Other things The Hands keep around for us include rocks, lots of sand and things to hide in and climb over. We have sticks and big pieces of bark. We also have some plants and lots of shells that would be our next size up. If you create a crabitat, please never use metal parts or anything that is painted. We like to pinch and eat and these things can kill us. Also, no pesticides in our homes. We are naturally free of all known diseases and we are hypo-allergenic! That makes us amazing pets! If you keep us healthy with good, fresh food and fresh water, give us lots of fun things to move around on and supply shells for us, we can live a long time. The average in a crabitat is from 5 to 15 years. Some of us have been documented to live 40 years!
So, there you go. Boy, we didn't know we had that much to say! We'll leave you with two pictures of us.
Next week, I Shelldon, am promising some fun! Beachnut is already worried and grouchy! Teeheehee. Enough info, time for some adventure so come back next week to see what we crabby girls are up to!
Shelldon and Beachnut