When mom and I go on our walks, we always look around to see if we can find something that mom can take photos of. I help her a lot because my eyes are very good.
Sometimes Rudi, my ‘hooman’ brother walks with us and then it’s a competition between the two of us to see who can find something first. 😀
One day while were we walking on the beach, we saw a little shell moving on the sand.
Rudi picked it up and gave it to Mom. Then we saw that here is something in the shell. I was very curious and kept sniffing at it.
Mom kept it in her hand and told us that this is a Hermit crab. These crabs burrow in the sand, crawl on top of rocks and are just as curious as I am. They use their claws to block the entrance of the shell.
I watched with interest this little crab on mom’s hand. It did not seem scared at all. Maybe it knew we will not hurt it.
It felt so safe in mom’s hand that it started to show it’s face. Hermit crabs are types of crabs that do not have hard shells. They use old shells to protect them.
When they grow in size, they go and look for a bigger shell. Mom searched on google for more information on these cute crabs and I definitely learned a lot about them.
The hermit crab is called a crustacean, but they are very different from other crustaceans. Most crustaceans are covered from head to tail with a hard exoskeleton, but the hermit crab is missing part of its exoskeleton.
The back part where its abdomen is located, is soft and squishy. So, when a hermit crab molts into an adult, it searches for a shell it can make its home. That is why it’s not a good idea to take shells from the beach, as many of them are homes for the hermit crabs.
To get into the shell, the hermit crab squeezes in backwards, securing itself with its four back legs. The back legs have hooks that anchor the hermit crab into the shell without difficulty.
The next four legs are used for walking, while the front two are its chelipeds. The chelipeds are not equal in size: one is big and other is small. The larger one is used for grabbing prey and guarding the entrance to its shell.
All together, hermit crabs have a total of ten legs, including the chelipeds and the rear legs used to anchor to the shell.
- A chela, also named claw, nipper, or pincer, is a pincer-like organ terminating certain limbs of some arthropods. The name comes from Greek through New Latin. The plural form is chelae. Legs bearing a chela are called chelipeds. Another name is claw because most chelae are curved and have a sharp point like a claw. ~Wikipedia~
There are about 500 different species of hermit crabs around the world, and they have different colors, often with patterns like stripes and dots on their bodies.
Most hermit crab species live on the ocean floor, but many live on land. Female terrestrial (land based) hermit crabs must return to the sea to breed.
Hermit crabs are omnivores (eating plants and animals) and scavengers (eating dead animals that they find). They eat worms, plankton, and organic debris.
Some people even take them home as pets, but mom says it is not a good idea. Hermit crabs need lots of friends and they all work together sometimes to find food.
They can live for more than 30 years on the seashores, but captive hermies do not live long. Over time, many crabs actually die slowly from suffocation because their modified gills require high humidity in order to breathe.
Hermit crabs also drink water by dipping their claws into the water and lifting out small drops. They do have lots of predators and they are food for sharks, fish, squid and octopus.
Mom says it’s part of nature and as cute as this little hermie was, she could never take it home. They belong to the ocean.
When properly sized gastropod shells are not available, hermit crabs have been known to resort to wearing other objects such as tree nut hulls or pieces of beach litter rather than go unprotected.
This has become very common in some areas, due not only to the increased prevalence of marine debris, but also due to depletion of seashells from beaches due to humans collecting them. 😦
So, when you walk on a beach and you see a little shell moving around, you will know it’s a hermit crab. Do what mom did and just take photos and let it go. They are part of nature and should be free.
See you all next time. Be safe and enjoy your day. 🙂
Lots of wet kisses.
Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.