Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)
Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Hermit Crabs

At Little e's pre school they have hermit crabs, and the deal is that a different kid takes them home each weekend. It was our turn on the weekend, a stressful and heart breaking time for us all. Gotta say up front, who knew hermit crabs were such prima donnas?

So E picked them up Friday, and sat them out in the sun for the arvo as directed, and they didn't do much. Friday night I had a hold of them, trying to get them to come out and say hi. They were shy, uncommunicative and boring, unwilling to do ANYTHING.

Saturday morning, I tried again, still no love. They hadn't eaten any of their apple or weird dried smelly fish things. Saturday night, I had another good hold. I gave them a prod. Nothing. Had a bit of a sniff. A bit on the turn.

Our suspicions were right. The fellas were dead. I don't know when, how or why, but they were pretty dead. I suspect they were D.O.A. though I'm sure the pre school wouldn't have a bar of that. "Here, mind our dead pets for the weekend". Yeah, thanks pre school.

So on Sunday arvo E had to race out and buy a couple of replacements, and they were a little more adventurous then the dead ones, though one just dug a hole in the gravel and went underground straight away. The pet shop people said they had to be kept really warm or they might die in the night.

So last night we cranked the heater and the lamps and tripled our electricity bill just to keep those needy little suckers breathing till we could give them back this morning. You know what I don't get? They come from the sea. The big, cold wet ocean. Do they have incubators and lamps and slices of apple in the sea?

My view is, if you can't stay alive in a warmish living room overnight, with all your sliced apple needs met, well, maybe Mr Darwin needs to step in. You're cute and all, but a bit too hard, to be honest.


Jessica said...

Way to exotic. What's wrong with the classic silk-worm?

Karen said...

I haven't found them overly inspiring pets either, to be honest. We only have one survivor from the total of seven we've bought in the past couple of years. He/she (we've given this one a girl's name but you can't tell what sex they are) is one of the originals we bought, seems a bit hardier than the rest. They do like company, I'm told, but I'm finding the death toll a bit hard to deal with.
Ours didn't eat lots. If you're looking for a pet that will rush up to the food bowl and eat the fresh stuff straight away, then hermit crabs are not the pet of choice.
I think the reason they love warm and humid temps is because their native home is in the tropics. We did have a little heating pad for ours that we used on the coldest nights here.
We bought them to begin with because they are generally fairly low maintenance pets. But they can be so low maintenance it's easy to forget about them...maybe that's the reason why ours have kept on dying?

Jessica said... makes hermit crabs interesting.

Wendy said...

We miss our hermit crabs. We had to leave our in Australia and haven't been able to find any in Japan unfortunately. They are low maintenance - eat little, don't need much cleaning of habitat etc. And they are cute and they're fun to watch (more fun than fish or turtles). They love to climb and dig. But it is a nerve wracking thing picking up a new pet like that for a weekend!

Ben McLaughlin said...

Jess- yeah, I loved silkworms as a kid. ps my work blocked me going from the site you link. Now Im REALLY intrigued.

Karen- The death toll has got to wear you down after a while. Pets shouldn't need heating pads. Next they'll be asking for a hot water bottle and a warm Milo at bedtime. You need to draw a line.

Wendy- Maybe on a tropical island they'd be low maintenence.

Laetitia :-) said...

My father-in-law did his PhD in crabs so a few years ago we bought him a couple of hermit crabs. They liked to climb up the corners of their tank and go exploring but if you put them upside down in your pocket they'd go to sleep (have pet, will travel?). They didn't last too long though - we're not sure if they didn't have enough larger sized shells to choose from to move into when they needed a bigger house or if the species we got ust have short life spans.