Friday, July 2, 2010

Hermit Crabs Q&A

_ . . . . . . . . . . . . . Welcome to Hermit Crab Q & A
(_)_ . . . . . . . . . . . where you can ask all your crab questions and
(____)_ . . . . . . . . . I shall do my best to answer them according
(______)_ . . . . . . . to what I've learned from personal experience (6 months and counting).
(________) . . . . . . You may send in your questions to earthangel24 [at] gmail.com
. . . .// ( 00 )\ . . . . . Enjoy!
 
A few months ago I received some questions via email from another crab enthusiast and I told myself I'd get to it when campaign season was over. Sadly I just remembered it now and tried to find the said email in my Gmail inbox but it seems like I may have deleted it already. However I do remember some of the questions so I'll try my best to answer them.

I've had my crabs for 6 months and so far I am learning a great deal from them and from online resources too. So dear reader, if you are reading this blog post, thank you so much for contacting me. I love receiving emails :)

Question #1: Where do you buy your sand? Is it play sand or natural sand?

Answer: I purchase my white sand at my local neighborhood pet store so I assume it is natural sand. It costs only P25/kg and I always have 4-5kg at my disposal in case my crabs decide to molt all at the same time. I have not seen nor used play sand, so I can't tell the difference.

Question #2: Why do you use a small Critter Keeper when the required crabitat is a 10-gallon glass tank?


Personally if I could, I'd purchase a glass aquarium for my hermies (I have 6, all of which have molted once or twice successfully). But since I mainly take care of them myself which includes the washing of sand, Critter Keeper and all their playthings, keeping a smaller 10.5" x 8" x 7" is more ideal. Also, my crabs have no permanent place in our home. Depending on the weather and ambient temperature, I may see the need to transfer them to cooler or warmer places of the house.

Question #3: Why do you call your big crab a Purple Pincher when it clearly isn't?

I find it hard to classify hermit crabs, especially there are some that share similar behavior and physical traits. Some pet stores even sell "exotic breeds" which make hermit crabs more difficult to classify in general. I called her PP short for "purple pincher" when I first got her since she possessed some similar PP traits, and it stuck so it's been PP from here on end. If you have name suggestions I'd gladly consider them :)

Question #4: Do you use a temperature or humidity gauge?

I have long been searching for a good under tank heater and humidity gauge but local pet shops don't usually have this. I've read online that since we live in a tropical country, an under tank heater is not completely necessary. In lieu of a humidity gauge, personally what I do is I cover the top of my Critter Keeper with a linen cloth. It's not ideal but it works for me!

Depending on the weather and humidity I can opt to cover the air holes on top or just cover half of them. And also since crabs require 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness (they are nocturnal), I can cover them with the cloth even when the lights are on and I work until the wee hours of the morning. This way I don't disrupt their usual nightly crab activities.

Question #5: How do you clean your sand? I bake mine in an oven after washing. 

Websites recommend baking sand in an oven for 300 degrees for 15-20 minutes. I, on the other hand, wash my sand thoroughly every month (but I scoop out poop and excess food everyday). When I say thoroughly I mean washing it several times in running water, making sure all the gunk, buried food, exoskeleton and other droppings float to surface. I also deep clean my crabitat which means I wash the tank, accessories, food and water trays with a 100% all natural and organic wash. When the washing is done, I lay them all out under the heat of the sun and let them dry. This is where the extra kilos of sand come in handy because wet sand will take days to dry under the sun!

During this time all my crabs are in the bathroom exercising, so by the time they are back in their crabitat it'll be time for them to rest and take their nap. 

Tip: I also like to reuse my sand as opposed to just conveniently throwing them out and buying new ones because there is currently a shortage of white sand in pet shops. A Bio-Research personnel once told me that beaches have depleted resources of sand and so they only now sell artificial or man-made sand in their shops.

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I hope you've enjoyed my little Q & A-slash-tutorial and if you have more questions, please feel free to email me :)

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