Supposed optimum living conditions. And it didn’t even drop any legs, like some hermit crabs do when they get stressed and ill. Just half crawled out of its shell today and was lethargic and limp. So we put it in an isolation tank away from the other crabs and this evening it crawled completely out of its shell and fell over dead. Laid there on its back. I tapped it to make sure. Didn’t move.

“It’s dead,” I told H.o.p.

“We should have a funeral in the morning,” he said. “With a box for a coffin so nothing will eat it.”

“You find the box.”

“No, you find the box. OK? I’ll find a flower for it,” he said. “And we’ll sing a song.”


“I feel bad for the hermit crab. It didn’t deserve to die,” said H.o.p.

Then I’m writing this and get up and I pass back by and lift up the towel draped over the isolation tank, and there’s the hermit crab, still alive, still out of its shell though, but it has crawled up on top of its sponge.

“So, it’s not time yet for a proper burial,” said H.o.p.

Too Much Knowledge about Hermit Crabs

Too much knowledge about hermit crabs. I’m now into what kind of sand and how this and that sand is bad and what sand may be good and you have to prewash sand? How in the world do you prewash sand and get it to dry? Did you know play sand has metal filings in it because it is mined and it rusts and is now known to be bad for your hermit crabs? I found that on a message board after having read all weekend on many other boards and on many other websites how play sand was just fine to use.

70 pound bags of sand do not weigh 70 pounds. They weigh 180 pounds. At least. Right now it’s calcium carbonate substrate that’s in there, which is very expensive, about $6.00 for a little bag, and is good for the shells of hermit crabs, they need the calcium, but also can be bad for the crabs as the particles are sharp, especially bad for a crab that wants to moult. So I read about how good it is and many things about how it’s not good so now we have a bag of all purpose sand in the back room that we’ll dig into when it comes time in a month to change out the sand completely (the habitats require daily care, weekly sift cleanings and then a full redo every month) and mix with calcium carbonate substrate. In the meanwhile I hate to break the big bag open and stick a screwdriver in it to find out if it has metal filings, because then if it doesn’t we will have hanging around the back room for a month a full bag of sand with a hole in it and the prospect of that being a bad thing is high.

Marty put up the new bookshelves behind the futon and I labored for hours rearranging everything and we got the crab habitat installed on a shelf above the table. Sarah ran around happily, inspecting all the shells we supplied, found one she liked better and we had the privilege of seeing her make a transfer. Jerry inspected the new habitat then did his usual thing of going to the back and hiding while Sarah continued to roam. Marty says he did witness Jerry climbing. I haven’t. As far as I can tell, they don’t seem to like the coconut fiber wall we have at the back of the tank. We were told they’d love that but so far even Sarah is snubbing it.

I’m going to take a break for now from learning about hermit crabs.


We draped a towel over the hermitage last night to make sure Jerry had appropriate darkness (the room was lit) and this morning when I took off the covering the back climbing wall had fallen over. The crab was solidly tucked away in its shell but there was sand in its food dish so it had been around and about. I tried to get the climbing wall back up and thought I had but a half hour later I went over to check and see what the crab was up to and there was a swift movement as the crab retracted its claw from the climbing wall, back into the shell, a swift enough movement that I jumped and screamed and so we both scared each other. I then tried to reattach the climbing wall which had again fallen over but no dice, the suction cups just won’t stick. So I taped the climbing wall at the top.

Going then to the web, I read that it is best to have two hermit crabs.

I read more at the websites of hermit crab lovers about how they need room to run and play and lizard ladders etc. And we needed extra sponges and a humidity gauge. Now I was beginning to wonder if we would end up going the way we did with our gold fish. We bought two small ones and were sold what we were told was a more than adequate aquarium and then when I read around I found out it was a piece of crap and thus we ended up with this large aquarium on a stand and despite the care invested we’ve lost 3 fish of 5 in 4 years.

One of the fish recently developed fin rot. This particular fish has had a hard time of it the past year. I’d thought it was home clear, the fish looking fine the past two months, then suddenly this week there was fin rot! I think we’ve stopped it but the rot ate a full inch and a half of its three inch tail (off the top).

Frankly, I’ve not enjoyed the gold fish as much since the Big D died. He was huge. And had loads of personality. We all had a personal relationship with that fish. Then one day he died.

We have to struggle with the water. It’s difficult here, though we use the recommended treatments.

Mr. Hermit Crab and I spent ten minutes staring at each other. So at least he was now not running when he saw a person, but he sat there facing his corner looking forlorn.

I read they have personalities. Some are outgoing and some are not. Some burrow and some climb. Some pinch and some are cuddly. And I read that they are not solitary creatures. They’re not hermits at all.

“The hermit crab needs a companion,” I told Marty.

Back to the pet store went Marty.

“Oh, no,” said the girl today. “They shouldn’t have sold you just one.” She also expressed dismay over the small tank we’d been told to purchase.

I think they do this on purpose. The person buying the new fish or hermit crabs or lizards, they sell to that newbie the most basic crap that’s not going to work out at all. That person goes home and finds out they have just purchased and set up a bunch of crap. They go back to the store, determined to make a better home for their pet, and another quick sale is made.

Sarah has a very different personality from Jerry. Sarah crab didn’t even flinch when I picked it up and transferred it to the small tank. It went over and climbed over the shell of the Jerry crab and stuck its face down in there and proceeded to make acquaintance. Jerry became briefly active and gregarious, then Sarah decided to explore everything and climb everywhere and Jerry returned to quietly staring out the side of the tank.

We have now a new ten gallon tank waiting for the crabs but there is no room for it. Marty said why not on the table and I said no, we gotta have a table. Yes, I know most of the time we don’t see the surface of the table because it’s covered with H.o.p.’s clay but we gotta have a table. So tomorrow we’re going to get rid of the low bookcase behind the futon and replace it with a tall one and with more shelving we’ll have a place to tuck the tank in the bookcase behind the table.

These are turning into very expensive hermit crabs.

P.S.: This makes no sense. How weird is it to have a pet that you uncover its habitat during the day while it’s resting, then at night you cover it up so they’ll think its a dark-of-the-moon beach and that’s when they eat, drink and party?

These are insects. Big insects with shells. They have no eyelids. They don’t blink. Since when did big beach insects become popular pets? Why are we spending money on these things? When Fred and his waterbug cousins come scuttling in under the back door of the kitchen and wave their antennae at me, I try to run them back outside, not because I’m against killing bugs but because I don’t like to squash crunchy things, and then if they don’t run outside, then I squash them. So, why, when Jerry and Sarah wave their antennae at me, do I think, “Oooo, man, you are so strange…but your little bug eyes are kind of cute.” Why?

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