01 May, 2010

Hermit crab fun

Last weekend we did a bit of refurbishing in our crabitat (hermit crab's aquarium). We replaced the tiny pebble substrate with shell grit. And we bought three new shells (two of them brightly painted). We've had plenty of action since then.

The hermit crabs have really enjoyed digging in their new substrate. But the most fun is checking to see if they've changed shells. When a hermit crab grows too big for its shell, it merely moves into another larger one. So one of a hermit crab owner's responsibilities is to make sure there are a few choices lying around. We haven't' actually seen one move shells, but we have seen one of our hermies checking out a new shell - it grabbed onto the shell at the mouth and stuck its head inside. Usually we just find a previously unoccupied shell, occupied and its old shell vacant. Sometimes they move between the old and new shells a couple of times, as if they are checking it out. I'm sure it takes time to get used to a new one, like a new shoe!

The trick is that we identify them by their shells. So if only one changes shells, it is okay, but we're suspicious that there has been more shenanigans than that this last week. We're thinking that one of them (Jaz) moved into a new shell and another (Jessica) moved into the vacated shell of the first crab. The only way we can tell is because one (Jessica) has only one front claw.

The other reason we're suspicious is because the one wearing Jaz's shell seems to be withdrawing from society, which usually means it is moulting. Both Jaz and Spikey have moulted in recent months on it seems like it should be Jessica's turn. When they're moulting they're pretty fragile, so we cannot pick the one in Jaz's former shell up to check claws, but the one in the new shell seems to have two claws. However not being sure how fast claws grow though we're still a little uncertain.

Complicated? Yes, but fun! Hermie watching is definitely an enjoyable sport. I'll try and get a couple of photos to post in the next couple of days, to show you the new fancy shells.

1 comment:

KKCambLogos said...

Sounds like lots of fun! Looking forward to the pictures.