Trapped in shell

This is where you discuss shells for your hermit crabs. Not for selling/swapping shells, use Classified Ads for that.
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KellyCrabbieLove
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Trapped in shell

Post by KellyCrabbieLove » Tue Nov 25, 2014 9:32 pm

I have a crab that went down almost immediately once I brought him home. He was in such bad need of a molt I didn't know if he should go straight to iso in a little divot in the sand or to the main tank. He dug down and worked on growing everything back and escaping that horribly worn down exo.

He has been shell shopping a lot but couldn't seem to physically be able to get out of his shell. He would do the usual movements and try to pull himself out to go into the new shell and appear to be stuck. After seeing this about 4 times I was worried. My husband and I were trying to figure out what to do. If he was stuck what is the best way to help.

My husband was trying to figure out a way to break him out without hurting him. Side cuts starting at the opening and working down until we could get him out was the only thing we could think of.

It sounded horrendous and we had no idea what our other options would be.

Luckily on his 9th try he finally managed his way out of the shell and he is now in a much larger turbo as opposed to the d shaped opening long shell he was in when i bought him. I should say rescued...he was gonna surface molt if I didn't take him.

What is the right way to handle something like that? He was ligitimately wedged in there. Being forced to avoid molting and an already way too small shell were the issue when followed up with a molt.

Poor guy.

We were going to wait quite awhile longer and ask for help from you guys if something really needed to be done.
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Teedeums
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Re: Trapped in shell

Post by Teedeums » Tue Nov 25, 2014 11:19 pm

I don't really know if there is an exact way to handle it? If I were you I would either do what you did or gently dip the crab in distilled water and slowly move him back and forth (to try and loosen his abdomen so he could get out). I feel so bad for him, it was lucky you took him in.


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YYWW
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Re: Trapped in shell

Post by YYWW » Wed Nov 26, 2014 4:17 am

I think the stress would kill him, in your hands. I don't think they need to put off molting. If they can figure it out, they can just molt before changing, as they need not leave their shells to molt. More frequent food and water changes, and hope he digs down. After molt their tails should be slim enough to move out.
If they cant figure it out, then perhaps its not as bad as i think it is, and i'd watch for them to be post molt and "freshen" the shells just for him!
If none works out and he dies for that reason, i will be very sad and call it natural selection.


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hermieluv1
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Re: Trapped in shell

Post by hermieluv1 » Wed Nov 26, 2014 5:12 am

I had one that also looked stuck. It was painful to watch him try to switch shells! I had thought about dropping in a few drops of some kind of oil, like vegetable oil or something, but he finally got out! And when I saw his big fat crabbie butt, I saw why he was stuck!

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Drakezilla
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Re: Trapped in shell

Post by Drakezilla » Wed Nov 26, 2014 5:21 am

I think I read that their tails get really fat prior to molting, no? Nutrient camel hump syndrome? Lol! Don't quote me on that, I remember a thread somewhere about crabs with bigger tails ( full figured? )

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CallaLily
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Re: Trapped in shell

Post by CallaLily » Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:44 am

My sister once had a crab that was painted into his shell. He was pretty much glued in. She very, very carefully trimmed back the edge of the shell with nail clippers, a little bit at a time until he could get free. I don't know if that was the right thing to do and I think I would reserve that idea for a last option kind of thing. He was fine afterward. Eventually my mother adopted them and had them for a while and then most were adopted again by another family member, who as far as I know still has them. The drop of olive oil in the shell sounds like a better idea for a crab who's just wedged. I don't think it would hurt anything anyway...?


Hermit crabs will have a molting sac where they store all their nutrients for the time/energy they spend molting. I have never noticed their actual "tail" swell and shrink with molting.....but then again it's not like it's an easily viewed area unless they change in front of you both before and after molting or streak. Some of my crabs certainly have...err...fluffier bums than others. I figure, like people, it just comes down to the individual.

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KellyCrabbieLove
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Re: Trapped in shell

Post by KellyCrabbieLove » Wed Nov 26, 2014 10:11 am

He put off moltjng prior to me taking him home I can only guess due to the inability to do so. I took him home from the pet store because he didn't look like he was going to make it if i didn't. I said the same thing about stress to my husband. He replied with a very heartfelt "if he really is stuck it is going to kill him. I want to at least give him a chance." That is the weird thing. He came up from a molt maybe 2 weeks ago at most. His.shell seemed really small when he went down but had no time to waste. He needed to molt so badly. So when he came up bigger even with a smaller abdomen he was pretty wedged in there. I am so thankful he was finally able to get out on his own. I don't think either of us could bring ourselves to actually try to get him out when it come to it.
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Careyenz
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Re: Trapped in shell

Post by Careyenz » Wed Nov 26, 2014 11:13 pm

I've found most of my crabs will switch into a "too big" shell just before going under for a growth molt. They tend to come up fitting into the new shell perfectly. Hopefully your little guy knows it's in a safe place now and is getting ready! Good luck!
Careyenz, mom to Collin-7, Lily-4, 4 Straws, 5 Blues, 2 Violas, 2 E's, 2 PP's, and 3 cats.

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KellyCrabbieLove
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Re: Trapped in shell

Post by KellyCrabbieLove » Fri Nov 28, 2014 3:26 pm

That's the problem. The shell was already extremely small but he went under and molted as soon as I got him because it appears he put it off for too long. Regrew the leg he was missing and changed colors dramatically. Problem is with the shell already being as small as it was on him that when he came up from his molt he could barely come out far enough to walk. It was just that snug. He managed after many failed attempts to finally get out of it into a shell that actually fits. My question is, if I come across this with a new crab in the future with this problem how do I handle it?
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sophie anne
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Re: Trapped in shell

Post by sophie anne » Fri Nov 28, 2014 9:56 pm

I'm glad your crab finally escaped! :D

About a year ago I had a similar problem with an E, who also managed to eventually free himself.
Got some good suggestions on the thread:
viewtopic.php?f=29&t=95437

And here is what Wodesorel recommended:
wodesorel wrote:I think in captivity we give them access to so much food and so much clean water that they can become in essence 'obese'. It's not something they would have happen in the wild so they aren't prepared for the consequences of their abdomen being too large for their shell.

The first thing I would try is putting that shell he's after in the water bowl, so he can attempt to change in the water. (They will do this!) The water may lubricate him enough that he can pop free.

Otherwise he may be able to change after his next molt as soon as he comes up again as his reserves will be low and he'll be underweight. He would need to change shells before he gorged on food and water though! You might need to isolate him to get him to that.

I'm not positive on how life or death it is. If you think he's been stuck for a long time then he could become permanently stuck the longer this goes on. There really is no way to break the shell away from him without killing him, so he's got to do it all himself. I hate to even suggest it as I don't know if it would work or how much damage it would cause long-term, but restricting his food and water would get him to slim down and may also get him thin enough to get out of that shell. :/

Hopefully someone else dealt with this successfully. :) Mine have always eventually been able to pop free when they got desperate enough.
~Crabbing since May 2012~

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KellyCrabbieLove
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Re: Trapped in shell

Post by KellyCrabbieLove » Sat Nov 29, 2014 8:55 am

I was horrified at the time terrified about what would happen if he couldn't get out. I adore him. He is one of my colony that is really special to me after how I got him and rescued him from his definite end had someone unexperienced took him home. He is such a little ham too always climbing and falling off of stuff. Sometimesni think he may just be too excited to have his leg back. Lol
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