Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Maximus Update!!!

Over the course of 4 days at Bangkok, I was shopping and enjoying the tours here and there, but at the back of my head I was a bit worried about my hermit crabs. Although I had instructed the caretaker on how to go about caring for them, only a true crab enthusiast can truly understand her crabs. Hee-hee.

Anyhoo, the moment I got home I rushed through the door, greeted my doggies and went upstairs to check my hermies. I counted all 8 of them in the terrarium --- Max was missing! I then dug through the substrate and then found a claw! Oh no!

More digging ensued and I found bits of his tiny body all mangled up! Gasp! The ff thoughts then filled my mind:

    • was he evicted from his shell by one of the larger more aggressive crabs?
    • were the crabs hungry and decided to eat HIM?
    • was the substrate dirty and full of bacteria that he died a slow and painful death?

I was getting dizzy from all the thinking and was blaming myself at the same time because I only left a chunk of carrot 4 days ago and instructed the caretaker to change the water everyday, several times a day (hermies can survive weeks without food as water is more important).

I decided to transfer all the live hermies to another tank with new sand -- maybe it was time to change the substrate. *sigh*. Whilst still thinking and rinsing the old tank with the "empty" shell in it, I turned it over and guess what?!

Little Maximus peeked out and he was all pink! Turns out he MOLTED over the weekend! Hurray! You have NO idea how relieved I am, I thought I was such a bad crab mother :D

I should've seen all the signs --- the constant digging, lethargy, his ashy color, etc. Believe me, even with all the research I've done about crab molting, nothing can prepare you for your first actual crab molt. Molting can last from 4 days to 8 weeks -- I'm excited and impatient to see the new Max!!! I hope I keep my hands to myself and refrain from handling him.

So basically, the bits and pieces that I dug up first was his old exoskeleton:

Now that he has molted, I am just waiting for his new exoskeleton to harden so he can roam around and eat, then I can reintroduce him to the crabitat. Currently he is burrowed under the substrate in an isolation tank :)

You can find out more about molting here. I would just like to share though, that Cannibalism (as discussed on the site) has not been an issue with Max as he molted IN the terrarium with the other crabs in it. The crabs did not disturb him or dig him up or was even the least bit interested in eating him.

Max was only transferred to an isolation tank when I got home and discovered that he had actually molted already.

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  1. OMGosh....that must have been so awful....and then so exciting when you found his little pink self!!!

  2. I know!!! Max was my first hermie and I was SO sad when I thought I lost him. But now I can't wait for him to run around and be his normal crab-self again :)