Nothing like a four-inch long sea creature to make you wanna do the right thing.
I met Mr. Crab at the beach on Tuesday. He was awfully cute, a little hermit crab in his perfect little shell. So why is he in a red bowl, you ask?
Silly, silly mommy who wasn't paying attention. Or thinking. Or something, I don't even know. I completely spaced. Momnesia, probably.
We went to the beach (as stated previously) and the tide was out. Wayyy out. And Poops took a liking to a little girl and when she and her mom took off running toward the water to see a school of dolphins playing, he took off right after them. Which meant a mommy running in a bathing suit yelling after him, of course. And when I caught up with him and we were all ooh-ing and ahhh-ing over the dolphins, I got to talking to the mom. Who happened to have two little hermit crabs.
She gave me one.
I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Look! A hermit crab! Let's watch him come out of his shell and go back in and come back out! It was fun and Poops was getting to watch this little creature do things up close!
So we played at the beach for the day and I had the hermit crab up near our blanket, and somehow when we packed up, he made it into the little red wagon and then into the back of the car.
It started to storm on our drive home, so when we got back to my mom's house, I unloaded the kids but not much else, and got them inside.
Two hours later...
A lightbulb goes off and I remember that there is still a hermit crab in a wagon in my hundredty-thousand-degree car.
Mom of the year.
So I run out and get him and he's fine. I think. I mean, I blow into his shell and there is movement, so that means it's ok, right? And then it dawns on me.
Well, what on earth now?
What does one do with this now that it's home and officially removed from his natural habitat?
So I google away. And promptly realize that I will need the following supplies to sustain a hermit crab. And FYI too.
-A fish tank, and a pretty large one so he can move around
-With a heater so you can keep it humid
-And some humidity thermometer so you know just how humid it is
-Two water dishes, one for salt water, one for un-chlorinated fresh water (there are ways to remove the chlorine if you must use tap, but you can use spring water)
-Some dirt or sand or something to dig in
-Some dirt or sand or something to dig in
-Other hermit crabs because they like to socialize. But sometimes they eat each other.
-More shells because they grow out of theirs and like to move
-I am serious.
And then things go wrong with hermit crabs and there is a web site dedicated to the woes of hermit crab ownership and upon reading some of these things, quite like reading about your pregnancy on BabyCenter, I panicked about things being wrong with the hermit crab simply because I removed him from his natural home like a jerk. Oh no, is that the brown stuff they're talking about? Is he oozing? Is he out of his shell for too long? Because it's bad if they're out of their shell for too long! Is he too cold? Shoot! I just put tap water in there, I have to switch bowls and give him a dry one, did I almost kill him with the chlorine? Crap crap crap!
I Googled myself into feeling like a complete terrible person, and realized if I didn't get this hermit crab back to his home, he was not going to survive at all and I wouldn't be able to live with myself. The terror of this thought weighed on my conscience.
So after dinner, my dad agreed to go with me to drop him off at a nearby waterway with brackish water. But there was no sand and I wasn't convinced that he was going to survive here because it wasn't the full-on saltwater and beach that I had stolen him from.
So we went the 20 extra minutes to the beach from whence we got him and I put him back.And then decided that he wasn't close enough to the water. Yes, I panicked about that too. A 10 minute conversation with my dad about whether or not to put him in or just close to the water. Because I did read that they can drown.
So I moved him closer-ish. I didn't want to put him in the water but I figured he has legs, so if he wants that water, I have put him close enough for him to move toward it if he decides that's what he wants to do. You know, even hermit crabs have choices and free will. Sort of. Except for when a giant human steals you from your home. Anyway, a few minutes after I put him there, it appeared that he was comfortable enough to come out of his shell. Which made me happy and settled my conscience.
My three-year-old asked me if he was happy and I said, "Yes. He's happy now that he's home and he's home just in time for dinner!"
I do hope Mr. Crab is ok and didn't suffer too much from the transport in the little red bowl and the lack of hermit crab food (whatever that would be) and any stress I may have caused (I also read that they get very stressed out). Maybe I should have left my name and phone number on his shell and offered to pay for the years of therapy I may have caused him to seek out.
I know. I stressed out for this little guy. But after a while, he kind of started to grow on me! He even developed a little personality and I grew to like him! And then Poops named him Mr. Crab and it was all over. Once you name something, you're attached. Period.
Anyway, he's back at home now. Probably watching Jeopardy with the family as we speak. And now I can sleep at night knowing I did the right thing.