Once upon a…actually, it all started last fall in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Peeking into the wire crab hotel at the surf shop, I saw neat rows of shells – some natural, some painted in solids or patterns – but few signs of actual hermit crabs living inside of them. Except for one.
A nickel-sized guy with a flower painted on his black shell hoofed it overtop the other sleepers. He was on a mission. I have no idea where he thought he was headed, but he had a destination in mind and nothing and no crab was getting in his way. That should have tipped me off that he would be trouble, but I packed him up and brought him home just the same.
Bumblebee (named after my favorite Transformer) has a plastic palm tree as decoration in his house. (Hermit crabs love interior design. They redecorate constantly.) Until recently, the palm tree was the tallest item there. Though they (he rooms with one other crab) try to climb up the plastic sides, it’s impossible. They’re not geckos.
So one afternoon a month or so ago, I stuck my head in to check on them, and voila, Bumblebee is perched on top of the palm tree! He just stared back at me nonchalantly while his roommate snoozed in a corner. Other than the sponge, which was kind of far away in my opinion, there was no obvious way to get up there. I scratched my head, took photos as evidence, and resolved to buy them something more secure to climb on.
Not too long after that incident, I got them a piece of wood (natural cork to be precise). It’s tall enough that I had to set it at an angle, but I wasn’t really worried about it. Where could they possibly go?
One night I pulled off the top to refill their sponge, and no Bumblebee. I looked again because there was no way he wasn’t in there, right? After a moment of panic, I realized he was gripping the slats of the underside of the cover! He’d figured out he could climb the wood and latch on to the top and hang there upside down. (Again, his buddy is just buried in the sand, sleeping through it.)
I’m now convinced he’s going to figure out how to break out of his cage. I’m just waiting to find the top off and Bumblebee missing. (Periwinkle will, of course, sleep through it.) I don’t know how he’ll do it, but I’m ready. And I’m now pretty certain I not only picked the most active hermit crab in South Carolina, but also the smartest.