Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The hermit crab community

In response to this post about pet escapees on one of the blogs that I've been following, I was reflecting on our history of pet ownership.

We had two cats before we had kids. I really liked the cats, maybe because their personality was similar to mine (ie. independent and rather selfish..) but Chris was allergic to cat hair so he was less keen. One of our cats was hit by a car and badly injured so he had to be put down, and the other one ran away during one of our moves and despite several sightings we couldn't catch him again.

So now we have hermit crabs. We started with five around eighteen months ago and that number then worked its way down to one earlier this year. I'm not sure why the others died, they didn't all go at the same time so it could have been any number of reasons. Having read in a library book I borrowed about hermit crabs that they like company, a month or so ago we bought another two so that Dora (the Explorer...she likes to climb things...and no, we don't know her gender, that's just an arbitrary decision) would have some new friends.

Her response to the new arrivals was to bury herself in the gravel for a couple of weeks. For a couple of the previous guys that was the beginning of the end, but since they do also bury themselves to molt and change shells we weren't sure what she was up to. Just before we went away she reappeared and now seems to be bonding very well with the new residents. I keep seeing her climbing around and following one of them which is slightly cute to watch.

Good things about crabs are that they tend to be fairly placid, they don't eat and drink much (although the new pair are proving to be exceptionally good at filling the water dishes with gravel, digging underneath them and turning them over) and generally they don't escape. Except when forgetful owners (me) leave the lid off their home...Fortunately we found the one that managed to get out...but only because we heard its shell bouncing as it tried to negotiate the stairs.

I like having pets. Chris is keen on having a dog but I think that a dog needs lots more work than crabs do. He would also love a big aquarium full of African cichlids. He had one when I first met him and I did think those fish were pretty cool. They had heaps of personality as well as being pretty to look at. Maybe the time has come to expand the pet family again...


One for a wish.. said...

I'm guessing a dog would be a BIG step up from hermit crabs. Benny would love a dog..is desperate for one, in fact, but we've told him he has to wait until he's old enough to walk around the neighbourhood by himself before he can have one.
considering we already have 5 chooks, 2 goldfish, one cat and five tadpoles, it's not like there is a shortage of pets!

Karen said...

Oooh, cat and chook envy...Chris would agree to chooks but I am not sure we have enough space for them. My sister has at least a dozen chooks living in a chook resort/palace at her house on acreage so maybe my expectations of the space they need are a little high?