Friday, December 11, 2009

Maximus Makes Progress

Today is Maximus's 4th day with me, and although most of the time he's hiding in his shell, he has truly made fantastic progress! First of all, he has not attempted a "shell fight" with any of his new bunkmates. Either his new smaller friends have unattractive shells, or he's just not in the mood for it.

From the start Maximus has been a little timid, but crabby. He is a BIG crab compared to the new ones, but he still gets pushed around by just 1 crab. All the other crabbies are just plain scared of Maximus, but not Mortimer! The latter has been inverting and pushing Max around, and Max just seems to ignore him.

This evening I watched eagerly as Maximus and Mortimer ate their carrot and cornmeal feeds. It is such a joy to see my pets thriving happily. And I am so amazed with how they feed themselves, they seem to really enjoy their veggies.

The other smaller crabs love climbing the "Do Not Enter" sign, while Max has to stay at the bottom because his shell is too big :( I am seriously contemplating on buying a much bigger terrarium where all these guys can play around. Even though hermit crabs are small critters, they still need their exercise.

So here are some pointers for taking care of your happy hermits. I am by no means an expert, but these are some of the stuff I pulled up online (articles and videos) and also from experience:

  1. Hermits LOVE to burrow! So make sure your susbtrate is about 2" higher than your crab's height. Aquarium sand or smooth pebbles (gravel) are best. Hermits burrow 80% of the time (at least mine does). Therefore it is imperative that your substrate should be deep enough to accomodate their tunnelling. You need to clean the substrate once a month with unchlorinated water (very important!) only -- do not use soap!
  2. Hermits LOVE climbing and exploring, so make sure their crabitat contains lots of toys such as stones, signs or poles, logs, etc. Be careful though, hermies are known to escape easily if you leave the top open.
  3. Provide friends! Even though they are called hermit crabs, in reality they LOVE company! Get 3 or 4 hermits total (as much as the terrarium space permits of course) and see them interact with each other. Sometimes I find them all piled up on top of each other fast asleep. It's pretty cute!
  4. Use unchlorinated water ALL THE TIME. Use this to clean their crabitats, their dishes and most especially for their drinking water and bathing water. Crabs cannot tolerate chlorine and exposing them to such will give them a slow and painful death.
  5. Feed your hermit crabs every night. These guys are nocturnal and so most of their crab activity happens after 8pm. I have also heard them chirping early in the morning. You'd be amazed at how their chirping can actually be as disturbing and loud as let's say, crickets or cicada noises.
  6. Spritz their crabitat and the crabs every few hours with -- you guessed it -- unchlorinated water. These land hermit crabs have specially developed gills that they allows them to breathe even when they aren't in water all the time. However, these gills need to be kept moist and so misting helps regulate the humidity in the crabitat and makes sure that the crabs can breathe properly.
  7. Give your crabs lots of TLC. They may not be as affectionate and responsive as dogs or cats, but they are still very charming and endearing. Play with them and feed them, just make sure you don't drop them!
  8. For more info on hermit care, please visit this very informative sirte: http://www.hermit-crabs.com/.

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