Monday, 1 October 2007

Wonder Filled Wonderings

This week's "Wonder Filled Wondering" was submitted by our most amazing and beautiful Chloe M. Chloe was wondering what hermit crabs eat. Well we were completely stumped Chloe, so we decided to do a little research. Here is a bit of information we hope will satisfy that curiosity of yours we love so much.

Hermit crabs can eat all sorts of things like dried fruit,crab apples, bananas, lettuce, cucumbers, popcorn, crackers, peanut butter, carrots and even dandelions right out of your backyard! It is a great idea to provide a calcium source for them as well. . . such as dry egg shells or cuttle bone. The two latter items are available in the bird section at the pet store.

Most pet stores carry "hermit crab food" which is a mixture of powder with ground up shrimp bites in it. Crabs eat very slowly and very little at a time. You always need to make sure your crabs have plenty of drinking water too! And believe it or not you can buy "treats" for your hermit crab like hermit crab cookies and fruit salad for special occasions. Watch out feeding those "hermies" too many treats though or you may find yourself looking for a bigger shell for that little guy.

You all know we can't ever resist a teachable moment so we thought we would throw in this tidbit of extra information. Did you know hermit crabs have mouths just like you and me, except you will probably never see a hermit crab's mouth due to it's small size. They do however have a body part very different from you and me.
Hermit crabs have a "miniature elephant-looking trunk" that scoops up their food. If you look closely, they will pick up food/water in their claws and then their little "trunks" uncurl out from underneath to grab it and put it in their mouths. You will find this body part curled up near their abdomen when they are not eating.Simply extraordinary!!!

Thanks Miss Chloe for wondering about hermit crabs. Do you or any other Timmonte have a "hermie" of your own? If so we would love to learn and share more!!


dayle said...

I had a hermit crab as a class pet one time years ago and I still remember how totally fascinating it was! I could watch it for hours. I just can't imagine carrying my house around on my back! Chloe, thanks for bringing up such an interesting topic!

Steven said...

We had a friend bring us a hermit crab he found while fishing in mayport. While excited, we were glad we looked on the internet to find out what we had to do. "Sea" hermit crabs require salt water. If you place a hermit crab in plain tap water, through osmosis (higher concentration to lower concentration through a semi-permeable membrane to equalize the concentration on either side)the salt will leave the hermit crabs body and it will die. We avoided this potential calamity by searching the internet. We decided to return to Mayport and return him (or her?) back to the beach he was found on. I know he had some wonderful stories to tell when he got back, as Chloe put him in a box with Dora the Explorer dolls and toys. When we realized he had high humidity needs, salinity requirements, and more specialized care than we were prepared to give we knew the right thing to do was to put him back. So remember, sea hermit crabs are different than the ones you can by at the store.