Creepy Pets

Ever since I was a kid I have loved animals. This love has never been limited to the charismatic cute and fuzzies of the world either. From my earliest years I have been bottling and caging all sorts of insects and vermin and trying to convince those around me that they are actually fascinating and beautiful and not just downright creepy. My menagerie has included, but not been limited to, centipedes, mice, beetles, countless hairy or hairless rats, spiders, a possum, snakes, and water snails. If you have ever read the book My Family and Other Animals you can better imagine what kind of child I was. The latest, and surprisingly only, creature in our house at the moment is a hermit crab.

 Personally, I think hermit crabs are a pretty mundane and obvious choice of pet for a three year old, but it seems that most people who come over are appalled when they see this spidery crustacean clinging to its log in the tank in Theo's bedroom. Since it is behind glass, mostly inside a shell, and has claws it can't be "loved" to death by Theo. I'll admit that it isn't the most friendly of all pets, since the first and last time Theo held the crab it pinched his palm leaving a huge blood blister, but it is interesting. It changes shells occasionally, and if you present it with a new shell it will always try it on for size at least once. It creeps around the cage digging, climbing, and scooping food into its mandibles with its claw. That being said, I don't think anyone in our household is too terribly attached to it. We always glance in and observe its little movements and behaviours but I don't think anyone would be shocked if one morning we noticed it dead. We expect it actually, especially when it digs a little hole in the sand and refuses to eat, drink, or move around for days. It has been in one of these hermit moods for the past week and this morning Dustin was only a little surprised to see what appeared to be the shrivelled dead crab fallen out of its shell. On closer inspection it was actually its moulted carapace. This is why I have always had an attraction for these kinds of pets. If cats outgrew their skins, crawled out of them, and then proceeded to eat them, I might just be tempted to get one. Moulting time is very stressful on animals (that is how my tarantula died, much to the delight of almost everyone I knew at the time) and so I am curious if the crab will pull through this one. If so, we will need to start thinking of who to pawn the thing off on when we leave. Any takers?


Blue Shoe said...

When I was younger I had a couple of little crabs. Much the same thing - wasn't horribly attached, but they were interesting. One ate the other one, actually. =/
And it molted, as well - thought it was dead.

Laura said...

As of today it has eaten quite a bit of its old carapace, so it might just actually survive. Apparently they can live 30 - 40 years in captivity. For the sake of whoever takes it when we leave, I hope it doesn't.