How to not murder your pet hermit crab!
First let me start by saying pet hermit crabs, especially in a coastal area in Florida, makes NO SENSE. On any given day you can find them on the shore at the river, check them out, and get your fill of hermit crabs. Yet they are still sold in our local pet stores, in tourist shops, surf shops and other expected local attractions.
Eventually, against my better judgement, I caved and got my daughter and her friend their own hermit crabs from the pet store. We have pets, plenty of them, but they were sure they wanted them and would each take care of them.
Fast forward about six months later, MY hermit crab is alive and healthy, although not very happy, in fact, I think he wished I’d stop feeding him so he could die. I felt bad, I bought him a friend, he seemed lonely.
He liked his new friend, yay! No longer did he just sit in the corner. They touched shells, nestled down together, climbed on each other and so on. I was happy that MY hermit crabs were thriving. No one pays attention to them but me, but they’re not much work and I enjoy watching them.
So, how did I manage to painfully murder, dismember and torture my beloved original hermit crab?
Learn from my mistake, please.
First, know that hermit crabs molt. They shed their skin. Not just their skin, their whole body, pinchers, eyes, feelers and all. (in one piece) I did not know this.
Second, before they molt they act like they’re dying. I did not know this.
So, my crab looked sick. He wasn’t moving much. He had dug down into the bedding and I was sure he was dying. I checked on him, he didn’t shrink back up into the shell as he normally did. His body was loose and lifeless, barely moving at all.
His dead body pretty much fell out of the shell. In an effort to preserve the shell for our other crab I decided to pull out the remainder with tweezers. Legs, arms, claws, feelers, I pulled out all I could from deep down inside the shell and set the shell next to the kitchen sink to dry out.
To my horror. I returned from the grocery store to find him peeking out of the shell. His head and eyes. The look on his face was “WTF happened to me?” He had no arms, no legs, no pinchers.
It was then that I realize he had molted. The dead body was just a shell. In the days after he molted I had been pulling his new arms and legs off one by one to clean the shell out.
WHAT HAVE I DONE?
My hermit crab, the original one I’d become so attached to was fine but I mangled him beyond repair. I feel guilty and really bad for unknowingly torturing him. We placed him in the freezer to put him out of his misery. Today I went and purchased another hermit crab to keep the remaining one company.
My advice? Hermit crabs do make decent, low-maintenance pets. Do your research. It’s only been a couple days and I still feel really horrible about what I did. If only I’d googled it I would have known.
Good luck with your hermit crab if you choose to take these fun little creatures on. You can find all the supplies you need to keep them happy here: Hermit Crab Supplies.