Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Tough cookie

We stopped at the beach Sunday afternoon for just a few minutes, to cool down before we started the hot drive home. I waded in, and grabbed a quick snack for my critters; a handful of sea lettuce and another of eelgrass for the hermits, and two barnacled stones for the predatory snails.

At home, rinsing off the seaweeds, I discovered a young crab. He didn't want to be handled, and I had to catch him in my little net, but before I could transfer him to the tank, he had scrambled out and made a wild leap for freedom.

I looked for him everywhere; on the counter, underneath, on the floor. I swept and peered under the furniture. I moved everything movable. No sign of the crab. I decided he must have fallen into the tank, and was hiding under the sand. He would show up eventually.

This was about 2:00 PM. At 10:00 that night, 8 hours later, I found him in the bathroom behind the laundry basket. He had crossed the kitchen, walked down the carpeted hallway, under the bathroom door, around the corner, behind the laundry basket, and out the other side. Then he ran out of steam. When I picked him up, he was dry and still. He looked dead, but I quickly put him in water, just in case.

After a minute or two, a couple of bubbles escaped from his mouth. Half an hour later, one of his mouthparts was twitching. By 11, his eye stalks had popped up, and were trembling.

I checked back at 2 in the morning; he was walking around in his little plastic container. I moved him to the tank.

In the morning, he had dug himself a hideout under a shell, but when he saw me looking at him, he quickly left and ran around the back of the aquarium, stopping on the way to threaten his reflection in the glass.

"Scram! This is my spot!"

He spent a good day, digging holes here and there, making friends with the larger female crab, nibbling on shrimp pellets.

And then, in the evening, he died. The stress had been too much for him.

But I'm amazed at his determination, and his resilience.

Goodbye, little guy. You put up a really good fight!





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