How An Old Lady Got Crabs (Hermit Crabs)


It all started late last summer. For some reason, I suddenly decided I wanted a turtle. I'd had them when I was a kid and the thought of setting up a beachy little aquarium made me happy... and I started obsessing, as I do. But then.. I realized that turtles grow and their needs grow with them. By the time I'd come to my senses, I'd mentally constructed a giant turtle habitat in the backyard out of cinder blocks, with an intricate temperature control system with drainage pipes and... 

I had to stop myself. This is how my mind doesn't works. 

I considered an aquarium, but the water here is so acidic, you can never get it right. I know, I've tried more than once and I'm too old to be lugging 20 gallon jugs of spring water home from the DG everytime it needs to be changed. 

Screw that mess.

So I started looking at hermit crabs. Growing up by the beach, where you could buy them in every tacky little shop on the strip, you'd have thought I'd had at least one, but I never did. I figured, a little wire crate thing, a little crab, easy peasy, lemon squeezy! 

It's never easy peasy. 

Apparently, hermit crabs have to have controlled humidity and constant warmth.. so the little wire cage thingie is out. Also, they have to molt.. and to molt, they need at least six inches of moist sand to bury themselves in. That's why most of them croak after a few months after you take them home from the beach. 

By the way, molting is some gross shit. They shed their exoskeleton, then eat it. Nasty. And amazing.

Who knew? 

I am not going to divulge how much I spent on a home for my $6.99 hermit crabs. In my defense, I was still working at The Cubicle Asylum at the time. I made up for what I did spend by making a lot of the stuff, and some of it came from The Dollar Tree. Most of the money went into the tank (which you can find on Craigslist cheap, but that means peopling and ya'll know that's not my thang,) two heating pad thingies and sand. You just use play sand from the home improvement store. It's like $5 for a hughnormous bag. 




They have two little swimming pools, one saltwater, one fresh, plenty of sand, a coconut hut (which we made from an actual coconut. I nearly lost a toe trying to cut the door in it with the pruning shears,) some leftover ruins from an old aquarium set up and a bubbly thing in their water. 

There are three little guys in there, but the littlest one is buried. That's why the salt water looks a little skunky. He's burrowed under it and I didn't want to move it around to clean it. One of the big guys had shoved a giant tumbleweed of half-dead frog moss in there, making a huge mess. All frog moss has been since removed. 

They were hiding when I took these. I'd just finished cleaning the inside of the glass and moving things around. If you look really close at the pic below, you can see Goliath's shell behind the ruins. That's where they hang out when they need alone time. They don't give two shits that I damned near lost a toe making that coconut hut.



I have a purple night light (which is also for more heat, it gets colder than a well digger's butt up in this trailer in the winter.) When it's on, they come out for a swim, see what's in the food bowl (I love to watch them eat,) and climb around. Goliath and Sam (there was a Dean too.. but I don't want to talk about it,) live on top of the roll top desk, by the computer. 

I am a little bothered by where hermit crabs come from. They cannot be bred in captivity. The little crabbins are just hanging out, doing their crab thing on the beach, climbing trees and eating dead things, then a giant, grabby human comes along and scoops them up in a bucket. They're usually pulled out of the shells they have meticulously chosen for themselves (I've watched them, it's true!) and crammed in to "pretty" shells then shipped to pet stores. 

And it sucks. 

As long as there are tourist traps lining the beachfront, there will be a market for these little guys. Maybe I'm making it worse by having them, I don't know. 

I saw a CL listing the other day for a 40 gallon aquarium with 3 hermies for $20. Mine are currently living in a 10 gallon. Can you imagine the ginormous beach they could have then? Plus 3 new buddies. The 40 gallon had no top, no water, just a moldy little sponge. I could make them happy.

Thinking about it.  

No idea where I'd put a 40 gallon tank.

Anywho, I'd better get busy doing.. something. We'll talk again soon!

Later Taters!

All pictures can be clicked to embiggen!