Last night, I was at Petsmart with my family. My little brother was collecting everything he needed for the leopard gecko he'll be getting today (I LOVE reptiles, but I'm just sticking with my hermies and snails for now) and I was holding the hermit crabs there. For the past couple of weeks, I had planned on adding a new purple pincher hermie to the crabitat.
My tank is a 10 gallon and Brigadier and Lola (if you tuned into Thursday's post, you'll know I found out they're boys) are very small, so I decided a new crab would be a great idea. Hermies can live in colonies of over 100 crabs in the wild! I know Briggy and Lola will eventually grow larger, and I can see a 20 gallon tank in my future. Anyway, I was looking for a crab the same size as my current ones (just to be safe) and that seemed like a good fit for my girls...er, sorry, I just remembered they're boys.
None of the crabs came out of their shells, but eventually I chose a crab with bright red skin (definitely freshly molted) and called him Henry Aloysius. That last part is pronounced "alawishus". It's a very old name, so nobody really knows! Not that I'm old or anything...I just happened to stumble upon it. That's the name I've been waiting to use for a crab for a long time!
I really feel pity for the crabs there because they aren't given proper care. They barely have any heat or humidity in the tank. The substrate is mulch and it's very dry. It's so bad that they can not properly molt in it. People dig them up just to admire them, but what if the crab was molting? Also, there were no extra shells in the tank (at least the crabs were in natural shells, not painted) and they had a sponge for water, which a crab can't drink out of! Also, hermies need saltwater to survive, and they didn't have any.
The girl at Petsmart gave me a special cup to take Henry home in. He became active in the little cup, crawling around and using what's called his "feelers" to sniff around. He was very active during the ride home. First of all, you can't just add a new crab to your existing crabitat, so I kept Henry in an ISO (isolation) tank for the night. Today I bathed her and set her in the tank.
Here's the part that makes me feel bad for Lola yet it still cracks me up thinking about it, even though it probably shouldn't. Lola is totally happy to have Henry around, but she (ugh...I meant HE) was in for a bit of a surprise! It's normal for crabs to fight a little to sort out the colony ranks, but I wanted to be there for the introduction just in case of a major fight. I know Lola and Brig enough to know they'll most likely be okay with a new addition, but I just wanted to be safe.
Brig was sleeping, and Lola crawled up on Henry's shell. He did normal things that crabs would do when checking out a shell to move into. I was just seconds away from getting up to stop Lola, who didn't know a crab was in the shell. But before I could, Henry came out of his shell, and Lola ran faster than I've ever seen a hermit crab run to the other side of the tank, tucking himself inside his shell! Next time check to see if a crab is in there, Lola.
Brigadier woke up later and he's kind of shy around Henry, but overall, both crabs seem very accepting of him, and Henry is very curious and playful around them. However, the introduction between the crabs was yesterday morning. The night before, when we took Henry home, I saw him try to climb up the glass wall of the tank. While he did so, I could see that he was a girl, no doubts about it!
Now it was time for a new name. Henrietta was close to Henry, but I don't really like that name. I finally decided on the name Harley. I know it's usually a boy name, but I've heard it for girls before and I like the way it sounds tough yet charming, if that makes sense.