Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Georgey Molts! And More Crab Drama...

First things first: Georgey molted at 1AM today!

Who is Georgey?

Well, I know I haven't blogged about him (I checked and yes, he is a male crab) but Georgey is part of crab batch # 3. All my crabs were acquired in December of 2009 and for your convenience, here are the crabs as broken down in batches:

CRAB BATCH # 1 - Maximus & Delia from a bazaar at Alabang Village (Delia got away, check here for my initial blog post about their love story). These were the first crabs I got for myself :)

CRAB BATCH # 2 - Mortimer + 2 other unnamed crabs from the neighborhood wet market (I do not and cannot name all of my 9 crabs, so I only give names to those with distinct personalities, sorry)

CRAB BATCH # 3 - Gigantor, Hercules, Cornelia (my smallest crab who has a bright orange color), Georgey, and 1 unnamed crab. They were initially shipped in a group of 9 native crabs from the shores of Mindanao but 2 did not survive the trip and 1 got away (more on this later).

Whew. I currently have 9 crabs and they all live in the crabitat TOGETHER. Gigantor and Hercules are the largest crabs followed by Georgey, then Mortimer. Maximus is one of the smaller crabs, but not as small as Cornelia, she is only about an inch long (shell included).

Anyway, back to Georgey. He was one of the crabs that Carlo (our neighbor's son who was visiting from Baguio) "borrowed" for the Christmas season. Carlo was asking for a hermit crab and so I asked him to choose from the terrarium. He got Georgey and another unnamed bright red crab that later escaped.

After 2 weeks, Carlo went home to Baguio but neglected to bring Georgey with him. I asked the house-help if I could have the crab back and she immediately returned Georgey to me who was now half starved to death and stressed. I was very concerned about the unsuitable conditions (no substrate, no food and only had chlorinated water) that he was subjected to.

After giving him a quick bath and letting him air dry, I put him back in the crabitat and he immediately ate crab food and started to pick fights with everyone! Now the tactic to reform crab bullies is to put him in an ISO tank for about 15 minutes whenever he exhibits bad behavior, and then reintroduce him to the crabitat. Just do this over and over again and pretty soon the "bad" crab will get the idea.

Since that incident, Georgey has been living extremely well and he has been so nice to the other crabs. The weird thing was, Georgey molted without showing any of the pre-molt symptoms! He did not turn ashy at all! So guys, don't just rely on the symptoms to know if your crab is about to molt. Sometimes if the conditions are just right, the crabs may molt unexpectedly, as in Georgey's case. So keep your eye on your crabs and keep a mental note of those who are burrying often, eating a lot or any inconsistent behavior.

So how did I find out that Georgey molted?

At 1AM this morning, I checked the crabitat (like I always do before I go to bed) and noticed that Georgey hasn't "come up for air" since yesterday. I had given them a bath the day before and he seemed fine and active. When I dug him up, he apparently molted in the main tank overnight! His old exo was still soft and he was very white and translucent. I had no extra ISO tank because I had all washed them, plus the only one available was occupied by another crab who is in pre-molt stage. I was also running short on sand because I had washed it 2 days before and was taking forever to dry, so basically I was not prepared for this molt in particular. I figured, I can cover him with sand and leave him in the main tank first and attend to him in the morning.

When I check the crabitat at 6AM though, the first thing I noticed was that "Georgey" had climed to the top of the log. Hmm...I thought that was a bit strange as newly-molted crabs should be a bit lethargic. A closer inspection proved that the crab was not Georgey but Max! Max had apparently stole Georgey's shell while I was asleep and it was further evidenced by the discovery of Max's old empty shell on top of the new crab house. much drama today. I then found poor nudie Georgey inside the house, huddled between the 2 larger crabs. Good thing the other crabs did not attempt to eat him, as newly-molted crabs tend to bring out the cannibalism in most hermies.

Thankfully I had an extra shell and Georgey immediately seeked cover in it. If you remember from my December post, this was Max's second shell which he later changed out of because it proved to be too big for him.

Now that the sand I washed is about 80% dry (thank God and thank you El Nino), Georgey has his own ISO tank with lots of water and fresh, moist susbtrate. Sometimes I am so amazed at how these crabs have grown and how they are giving me much more stress than my doggies.

I can't wait for the Gigantor and Hercules to molt, as usually bigger crabs only molt about twice a year and this is something I wouldn't want to miss. I shall keep you guys updated :)

Sorry for the very loooong post, I hope everyone finds my crab exploits interesting though. I sure love my crabs and I love documenting everything :)

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  1. I had no idea that carring for hermies can be so complicated. It sounds like they're quite tricky at getting away. Gregory seems to have picked a good spot to stay out of the way until he got some new clothes.

  2. Hey! How's the new job going along? :) Yeah, I am just realizing how tricky, sneaky and time-consuming hermit crabs are. I guess people initially think they're just "ordinary" pets, but turns out you need to be just as hands-on with them just like when you take care of dogs and cats.

  3. It's going very well...thanks very much for asking!!! Those hermies really do require some specialized care.

  4. They had a frenzy last night when I showed them the new shells I bought! I shall be posting about that soon. Now Max has a different shell! LOL. :p

  5. OMGosh....they must like trying on new clothes!!!