Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hermie gets a makeover

When they eat, they scatter the crumbs. They don't clean their plate; they don't tidy away leftovers. That's SEP*. They abandon their houses, walking off with nary a backward glance. Occasionally, they strip off their old clothes and drop them on the ground. Then they climb to high places and sit there, all undressed.

No wonder they get into trouble!

Another of my hermit crabs molted this afternoon. I found his discarded body armour floating in the current, and looked for the ex-owner.

Sure enough; he's resting on the top of a clump of sea lettuce.

He's one of the hairy hermits. The hair isn't usually so apparent. Now, it's new and just stretching out. And he has no jacket on.

While he's walking around in the altogether, we get a chance to count legs. A hermit has 5 pairs of legs, including the pair that serves as pincers. Two more legs on each side are used for walking. The fourth pair, easily seen in this photo, is used to move in and out of the shell he borrows. The fifth pair is smaller, barely visible here. It is used to clean the gills and to remove wastes.


At the very tip of the abdomen, a pair of curvy uropods works as an anchor inside the shell.

As long as the hermit stays aloft, in my tank, he's fine. If there were any fish, he wouldn't be; he'd be a fine lunch. Here, once he goes down to search for a new shell, any crab that he meets will eat his soft abdomen. I kept an eye on him; when he climbed down, I chased out my one crab and put him in a bowl to keep him out of mischief. (I gave him a piece of fish as compensation.)

Hermie took his time choosing his new shell; so many styles and patterns!

He was slow; the crab had to stay in solitary for three hours. While I was watching, I noticed something else in the tank:

Six pearly eggs!

Spring is definitely on it's way, and the snails are ready for it. One of them laid these eggs. I don't know which; there are four species of snail in this tank; the invasive mud snails, a bunch of pretty little Nassas, several periwinkles, and some really tiny, pointy snails that I haven't been able to identify yet. These last are smaller than the eggs, so they're not the parents. Any one of the others could be.

Bonus; the teeniest of all the hermits, like a half grain of rice, even with the shell on.

And Hermie finally decided on that fat white whelk shell.

*Somebody Else's Problem. See Douglas Adams.


  1. the opening paragraph...

    Hermits = teenagers

  2. aw... how exciting, and you're such a good tank mom! It's so nice to see happy stories. And cool shots. =)

  3. Hah! Tank mom, with teenagers! And I thought I was done with that years ago!


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