Sea Shells, shell fights…..
The cool thing about a hermit crab is that they don’t like to be nude, like us, we don’t like being nude either. So hermit crabs are one of very few animals to wear some thing similar to clothing. What do hermit crabs wear? Sea shells, that’s what. In order for them to survive hermit crabs need to wear a shell to protect them. You see, most people probably think that a hermit crabs shell is part of their body like a turtle, but it’s not. The shell they wear is from a snail or sea snail and when the snail is eaten or dies and decays, all that is left is the snail shell and that’s what hermit crabs wear for their clothing.
The shells are very important to the crabs because it keeps the crabs moist so they don’t dehydrate. They can even store water in their shells for when they’re not near the sea shore. They also wear them for protection from predators like sea gulls or other animals, that’s why hermit crabs need to wear shells. When a hermit crab is born it looks nothing like a hermit crab, they look like tiny plankton, you know those tiny animals that most fish eat. But when they get older they slowly get bigger and more similar to a hermit crab. When they become small hermit crabs, the first thing they do is find an empty home (shell). Hermit crabs don’t just wear shells; every once in awhile people find hermit crabs wearing different things like a piece of bamboo, bottle cap or even an empty light bulb. But shells are the most common, and best, thing a hermit crab will wear.
When you first get your hermit crab or crabs; make sure you get some empty shells too so you’re crabs are happy. Now when you put you’re crab in its new home it will probably explore and examine the shells in its new home, most of the time it looks for a good looking shell and climbs into it and leaves its old shell. But some times your hermit crab well go in and out of different shells until it finds the one it likes, Some times it takes a couple of days for it to decide or it may be a few hours or even minutes. But some times it doesn’t want a new shell and keeps its old shell.
Also beware of shell fights; if you hear a whistling sound that’s a hint that a shell fight is going on. Now shell fights look scary but the crabs usually are fine. Shell fights often happen because one crab is jealous of a shell it wants that a different crab has, or it happens if both crabs want the same shell that’s in their cage. The biggest crab always seems to win the fight and sometimes when a shell fight happens both crabs get better shells. Now if a crab wants a shell the other crab is wearing it rushes over to the defending crab and starts to look big and mean and than grabs the defending crabs claws and tries to yank the crab out, or bangs the defending crab’s shell until the defending crab retreats out of its shell. But the defending crab won’t just let the crab take its shell, sometimes the defending crab starts to twitch or shake trying to scare the crab, or it might just fight back. If the defending crab loses it waits until the victor crab moves in to the defending crabs shell, then the loser usually goes into the victor crab’s shell.
Now, never force a crab out of its shell, it is so protective of its home it will let you tear it to pieces, or you could really damage it or even kill it, so let it keep the shell its wearing even if you don’t like it. Now the one main thing about a hermit crab’s shell is it does not have a protective armor all over its body like most other crabs do. The main reason is that a hermit crab has a very vulnerable part of its body, that part is its abdomen—the part where its digestive system and main organs are. And if the crab can’t find a shell it will probably dehydrate or get eaten by other crabs in the cage. That’s right, they are cannibals so if there is a nude crab in the cage it well probably get eaten soon. So if you notice any naked crabs get them out of the cage or try to get them into their shell or a different shell or they’ll die. Its shell is what protects its body from harm. Also, hermit crabs need to have the right sized shell in order to feel protected.
Now P.P crabs and E-crabs don’t like the same type of shells. Nope, both crabs like different shells. P.P crabs like shells with a round opening and most P.P crabs like shells with mother of pearl insides but some like other shells to. For example, some smaller P.P crabs will wear a candy snail shell which does not have mother of pearl inside. E-crabs like shells with an oval like opening and very dull insides, but sometimes will wear mother of pearl inside shells. A crab with a very good shell should be able to fit its large claw in the opening part of the shell like a door. So when the crab retreats its large claw will block the opening of its shell, and once it’s closed it’s almost imposable to get it out. So that’s why shells are so important to the hermit crabs.