Bigger & Better
January 20, 2015 10:41 PM   Subscribe

 


So, in yet another installment of "Hermit crab husbandry* on Metafilter," occasionally one encounters a streaker. This most commonly occurs when one has two or more crabs of similar size who want the same shell**, a fight ensues and the losing crab is either too stressed out or ashamed to return to his or her old shell and instead starts racing around the crabitat au naturel. This is not an optimal situation because the abdomen of a hermit crab is a soft pinchable thing and scampering around bare ass in a tank full of claws is exactly where you don't want your crab to be.

So, if this happens to your crab and he doesn't cover himself up within a few minutes, it's best to scoop him up, hose off his back end with some warm dechlorinated water (just in case he's got something irritating stuck on there) and isolate him in a small bowl with his former shell. He'll reinsert soon enough and can be returned to the crabitat.

*terrestrial hermits, which require different care than the aquatic one in the video
**another reason is the crabitat is too hot. Check that the thermometer is reading no more than 82F. A small tank + a heater + a overhead light + inadequate humidity can quickly overheat.
not really, crabs have no shame
posted by jamaro at 11:35 PM on January 20, 2015 [23 favorites]


CRABITAT
posted by wemayfreeze at 2:19 AM on January 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


I like his little spiral butt
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 2:32 AM on January 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


Has anyone ever eaten a hermit crab?
posted by zennie at 3:42 AM on January 21, 2015


scoop him up, hose off his back end with some warm dechlorinated water (just in case he's got something irritating stuck on there

I think this should be the standard first response to most posts in MetaTalk, too.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:00 AM on January 21, 2015 [8 favorites]


I love hermit crabs.

My family visited Puerto Rico in 1968. I was just a kid, and was delighted to find that the beach near our hotel had hundreds of hermit crabs, especially early in the morning.

I somehow persuaded my family that I needed to smuggle crabs home. To that end, I collected many which I kept in the bathtub of our room, feeding them stuff I brought from the restaurant. When we flew back to New York, there were live hermit crabs carefully packed in boxes in my carry-on luggage. A couple of really big crabs were tough to contain, and somehow a couple wound up in my father's pockets.

As we went through customs, which at that time consisted of cursory questioning by agents, I noticed with horror that one large crab had climbed my father's arm and was perched on the shoulder of his suit jacket, tickling his ear with its antennae. Cool as can be, Dad reached up, casually palmed the crab and returned it to his pocket, never missing a beat. The crabs made it home safely; I gave most away to friends for pets. Some managed to keep them for a long time.

Recently I was voting in a local election and one of the elderly poll workers recognized my name. "You gave my daughter a crab," she said, fixing me with a flinty stare. "That thing crawled up under the piano and died. The house smelled bad for years."
posted by kinnakeet at 4:16 AM on January 21, 2015 [23 favorites]


When I was a kid I would spend hours and hours playing in the tidepools. Mostly I'd try to find ways of feeding one creature to another (because what else would a little boy do?) but the hermit crabs were the best, curious and interactive and cute.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:26 AM on January 21, 2015


Finding my son's hermit crab in mid-shell change (streaker mode, as described above) remains one of the most traumatic moments of my life. One and done with those critters.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 6:16 AM on January 21, 2015


Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:17 AM on January 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


CRABITAT FOR CRABMANITY
posted by wemayfreeze at 1:15 PM on January 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


When I was doing fieldwork on a little island in the pacific, the place was riddled with hermit crabs. I thought they were awesome. One day I noticed one beside the door to my room that only had half a shell. It was sort of cracked and broken. I asked my host family why it didn't move into a new shell and they said it maybe couldn't find one that no other crab was using, and it would die in a day or two.

I spent the next 24 hours picking up every shell I came across that was even remotely large enough, and checking inside. But every single one was already inhabited. I combed the beach for hours on end. I really wanted to find that crab a new home, but the story has no happy ending. Now I have crab-related PTSD or something. Seriously, I am just about crying now just remembering it.

Sigh.
posted by lollusc at 12:22 AM on January 22, 2015


I was lucky to catch this behavior once and slowed it down a little.
http://youtu.be/cFDNsDeShdY

Also, snow crabs are related to hermit crabs, so you are kind of eating them every time you have crab legs.
posted by cephalopodcast at 7:23 PM on January 22, 2015


Hermit crabs are also related to pubic lice, so you are kinda eating them every time you pick them out of your troop-mate's fur.

What.
posted by jamaro at 10:25 PM on January 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


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