Buried crab- but not in it's shell, do I dig to find it?

Please post here if you are having a crab care emergency! Use a real subject and not just "HELP!"
Post Reply

Topic author
hermie3
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Jun 12, 2020 5:40 pm

Buried crab- but not in it's shell, do I dig to find it?

Post by hermie3 » Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:48 am

Since you've come to the emergency forum, we know you want a fast answer to your question. In order for us to figure out the problem as quickly as possible, we ask that you answer the following questions as best you can. Some of them may seem odd, but they're all designed to give us the information we need to give you a good solution for your problem. The things in the [ brackets ] are there to make this post easier to read once submitted. Thanks!

We are in the process of upgrading the tank (to a 30 long aquarium) and getting a ultratherm UTH- has not arrived yet through.

1. What kind of substrate is used in your tank and how deep is it?
Flukers Hermit crab sand and eco earth 5 inches

2. Do you have gauges in the tank to measure temperature and humidity? If so, where are they located and what temperature and humidity do they usually read?
72 degrees and 75-80% Humidity

3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what?
No, ultratherm UTH is ordered though. Waiting for it to arrive.

4. What types of water are available (fresh or salt) and how is the water treated (what brands of dechlorinator or salt mix and what ratio is used to mix it)?
Freshwater (spring water with Aqueon Betta Bowl Dechlor)
Saltwater (Spring water with Aqueon Betta Bowl Dechlor) plus instant ocean. 1 TBSP in 16 oz of H20


5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced?
Food from Hermit Grub. Replaced every day or every other day if untouched

6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known?
Had them for 2 months, not sure what species. Was a classroom pet at a preschool before it came to live with us- not sure how long they have had the crabs.

7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen?
I don't think it has molted since it came to us, no idea if it molted at preschool.

8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing?
71 qt Plastic storage tub with plastic lid (holes punched in lid for air circulation). We are in the process of upgrading to a 30 long aquarium with glass lid

9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they?
3 crabs. One small, one medium, one medium- a little bigger than the other. It is our medium crab that we are having the issue

10. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any?
8 shells

11. Have there been any fumes or chemicals near the crabitat recently?
No

12. How often do you clean the tank and how?
Have not cleaned the tank yet. Added all new substrate when we got the crabs from the school 2 months ago

13. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned?
Yes. Washed in hot water and rinsed in dechlorinated water

14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently?
No

15. Is there any other information you would like to share that might be helpful (anything that is regularly part of your crab care, playtime, bathing, etc.)?


16. Please describe the emergency situation in detail.
The medium sized crab buried itself around a week ago. Tonight, my young son saw the shell just under the substrate and uncovered it and picked it up- before I could stop him. There was no crab inside. Looking at the remaining empty shells on the surface, I do not think it switched shells. I think all our empty ones are accounted for. What do I do? Do I try to dig and try to find the (maybe naked) hermit crab? Of the other two crabs, I know where one is partially buried under his hide. I'm not sure where the other one is- he is not on the surface (but saw him feeding 2 days ago).

.

User avatar

Links
Posts: 415
Joined: Sat Dec 14, 2019 8:41 am
Location: United States

Re: Buried crab- but not in it's shell, do I dig to find it?

Post by Links » Sat Jun 27, 2020 7:49 am

Until an expert answers I’d say dont dig.

User avatar

JoeHermits
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 1393
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:26 pm

Re: Buried crab- but not in it's shell, do I dig to find it?

Post by JoeHermits » Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:05 pm

A naked crab is always an emergency. Being underground doesn’t change that.

However, if you don’t know where the other crabs are then digging would be risky. I personally wouldn’t dig for that reason.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

User avatar

wodesorel
Tech Support
Tech Support
Posts: 9811
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:49 am
Location: Leetonia, Ohio
Contact:

Re: Buried crab- but not in it's shell, do I dig to find it?

Post by wodesorel » Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:28 pm

If your gut is saying he is naked down there and you need to dig, I would suggest digging. Be prepared to isolate any crab you find under there though! I've pulled out several naked crabs that were underground over the years, and they wouldn't have survived without intervention. I've learned to trust my gut instincts with these guys.
Want to see all my crazy pets? @waywardwaifs on Instagram


Topic author
hermie3
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Jun 12, 2020 5:40 pm

Re: Buried crab- but not in it's shell, do I dig to find it?

Post by hermie3 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:48 pm

Thank you so much for the advice!

I just dug a little in areas where I knew the other crabs weren't at. I uncovered the top of a buried shell. I'm thinking that may be our missing Mama crab- I may have miscounted my topside shells and didn't realize I had an extra one in there. I didn't fully dig it up to see if the crab is in there, though, in case the crab is molting. I feel more relieved that there is a shell down- I'm thinking Mama is in there. No fishy smell otherwise, so I think I will just leave things be for now and hope Mama is molting in her new shell (unless someone recommends that I fully uncover the shell to check if the crab is in there)!

User avatar

Links
Posts: 415
Joined: Sat Dec 14, 2019 8:41 am
Location: United States

Re: Buried crab- but not in it's shell, do I dig to find it?

Post by Links » Sat Jun 27, 2020 7:14 pm

Guess I had a gut that she chose another shell. But good to know if we know for sure it’s naked to dig.

I’ve never came across this subject and everyone here has always said the only reasons to dig is for a flood and or bacteria bloom.

Edit: now I know there’s 3 reasons to dig.


Kydra
Posts: 200
Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:35 pm
Location: NJ

Re: Buried crab- but not in it's shell, do I dig to find it?

Post by Kydra » Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:03 am

hermie3 wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:48 pm
Thank you so much for the advice!

I just dug a little in areas where I knew the other crabs weren't at. I uncovered the top of a buried shell. I'm thinking that may be our missing Mama crab- I may have miscounted my topside shells and didn't realize I had an extra one in there. I didn't fully dig it up to see if the crab is in there, though, in case the crab is molting. I feel more relieved that there is a shell down- I'm thinking Mama is in there. No fishy smell otherwise, so I think I will just leave things be for now and hope Mama is molting in her new shell (unless someone recommends that I fully uncover the shell to check if the crab is in there)!
Just to put this out there as I didn't see it asked and seems important here esp if crab is molting... Did you uncover AND re-bury/fill the crab's 'cave' back in with substrate?

Depending on if the crab is molting and where the crab is in the molt process, disrupting their molt cave by either collapsing it or re-burying a hermit crab will cause them to suffocate.

Hopefully everything is well, but did want to add that as a precaution.

Post Reply