This is Rocky. He's our biggest crab. I tend to think of him as kind of an old, curmudgeonly character because he spends most of his time hiding in a cave and has this ugly, crusty, old-looking shell.
Then there's Summers. He's our medium-sized crab with the brightly painted green shell with the tropical scene on it. He's also the most active of the three crabs - comes out day and night and doesn't seem to mind being handled. Summers is the one who has switched shells fairly frequently since he arrived. He can't seem to decide between this green shell and a gray shell with a white stripe on it, but he's been in the green one for a few months now.
So, that brings you up to speed on our cast of characters and their playground. Last month, I reported that all three of them had undergone a molt - they each spent about 4 weeks buried in the sand shedding their old skins.
I expected this might bring on a new round of shell-switching and Summers didn't disappoint us:
That's one empty green shell. In a way, I'll kind of miss it, because it made it so easy to spot him.
And, once again, he picked out this kinda ugly old gray shell with the white stripe.
This was about 2 weeks ago and the more I watched him in this shell, the more I started to think that he still wasn't quite happy in it, but that it was just the best of a bad situation. For one thing, he's got a whole open space down towards the bottom of the shell that he doesn't fill. Also, the lip of this shell is broken and has a bit of a rough edge and I wondered if that might bother him.
I know, I know. I need to get a life and stop thinking I have mental telepathy with crabs. But if there IS such a thing as crab-elepathy...I definitely have it. As I'm about to prove.
Anyway, I kept seeing Summers check out the other available shells in the tank and it occurred to me that most of them were too big and heavy for him. And if they were too big for him, that meant they were WAY too big for Talky. And since she molted the same time he did, maybe she wanted a new shell. And let's face it, Rocky's shell is just butt-ugly.
That's IT! They ALL need new shells (or at least new shell options).
Internet to the rescue. I found a great place on-line called The Hermit Crab Patch and took a look at their shell selection. I even learned how to measure the openings on the existing shells the crabs are in so I could order the right sizes.
And UPS obligingly delivered them to us yesterday:
This is the package of small shells that came. Most of these were for Talky, but there's one or two that might fit Summers.
This is the medium group. A few for Summers, a few for Rocky and a couple of larger ones for the next time they molt and get bigger. Plus, look how much prettier they are than the crappy shells the crabs are sporting now!
I had a couple of favorites right off the bat:
This shell is they same style of shell that Rocky has now, but look how pretty and pristine and white it is. I think he'd be ever so much less curmudgeonly if he was sporting this baby.
Then there was this gorgeous shell - all polished with stripes of green and brown. Now, tell me the jewelry-maker in you doesn't want to somehow make beads out of this! Or was that just me...?
Anyway, we put all these goodies into the tank last night with the hopes that at least Summers, our shell-switcher, would pick a new home.
And sure enough, this morning, Ryan came running to get me yelling "Mommy! Mommy! Come see!"
Yep - that's one empty red shell. And now...introducing the new and improved Talky:
Obviously, she's MUCH happier now. And is it weird that I think she looks kinda cute all curled up in her new shell?
It's possible I need to get a life...
But wait there's more!
Our Rocky, who I figured wouldn't even come out of his cave to NOTICE the new shells for days or weeks, dropped his crappy old shell in a heartbeat. And what did he pick for his new home?
Darned if he didn't go and get himself my green and brown striped favorite shell. Rocky has a fabulous sense of style that was just stifled by lack of shell options. Crab-elepathy, baby! I'm tellin' ya!
And Summers? Our expert in the field of shell-switching?
Well, when I left this morning, he was still crawling around the tank checking out all the various shell options. I still think he'll switch - he's just pickier than the other two.
And that's your hermit crab update for now.
P.S. Did I mention that the vendor sent me a free sample of special hermit crab food to try out in the crabitat? Yeah, guess what it's made of?
Worm poop. Oh wait, I mean worm CASTINGS. Which is...well...worm poop.
Nothin' but the best for these crabs, I tell ya!