To handle or not to handle?

Where we discuss the behavior of our hermit crabs, as in fights, pecking orders, shell swaps, etc. Please post all naked-crab posts in the Emergency forum.
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finleyfoo
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To handle or not to handle?

Post by finleyfoo » Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:14 am

I rescued 2 crabs this summer from the sidewalk at the beach. My larger one died in September after a molt. My second one was under at the same time and came up on her own and I believe she molted as well. She has settled into a nice routine the past few weeks - she will bury under substrate during the day or go into her moss pit (I made it out of a small glass jar) and in the evening she will come up or out and hang out around the crabitat. I have never seen her going into the water pools. I know she eats because her food dish gets messed with, some food is missing, or scattered around. I replace her food about every 2 days depending on what is in there. Lots of fresh food and variety.

Anyway, most evenings, when I see her out, I will take her out of the tank, hold her in my hand and talk to her until she comes out. Then I let her walk around the kitchen floor for awhile and put her back in the tank. I know some people advocate handling and others do not. What is the current thinking on this?

I am pretty sure that she is getting more comfortable with me - she comes out of her shell on my hand faster and seems bolder about walking around. Of course I don't know what she is actually feeling - maybe she is scared and hates it.

As a pet owner it is hard not to interact with her and I figured that handling her most days a little bit at a time would help acclimate her to where she might enjoy the interaction.

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Hermiesguardian
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Re: To handle or not to handle?

Post by Hermiesguardian » Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:21 am

Unfortunately they are prey animals and will always be scared of us. Most likely she is walking around trying to find a place to hide.
raising son's dog, Dante. Husky/hound.
Raising daughter's hermit crabs, Shelder, Paras and Derek. Added 2 more of my own (of course) Pete and Stryper. Former mommy to 2 guinea pigs and beloved cat, Nissi

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Re: To handle or not to handle?

Post by curlysister » Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:36 am

Most of us take a hands off approach. I definitely understand what you meant that it's hard not to interact with them - I just save that for the cats and the dog, LOL
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." -Will Rogers

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RiNiKy506
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To handle or not to handle?

Post by RiNiKy506 » Tue Oct 30, 2018 12:56 pm

I go by the crab, my Bob doesn’t seem to mind it. He doesn’t hide from me and he seems ok with being handled, he will go in his shell if I open the tank quickly, but a lot of the time he’s just hanging out on top of the cholla wood. Like you said, I really don’t know what he’s feeling, but I hope he doesn’t mind. I probably shouldn’t as a lot of the people who are experience say we shouldn’t, I can’t help but to interact with them. I think it should be up to the owner, they are your pets, we wouldn’t have any animals if we didn’t domesticate them. I hope this post doesn’t sound any wrong way, I am new to crab owning so it is just my opinion.


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JoeHermits
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Re: To handle or not to handle?

Post by JoeHermits » Tue Oct 30, 2018 4:57 pm

The forum treats them as wild animals living in captivity— ergo, direct interaction is generally discouraged.


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Re: To handle or not to handle?

Post by wodesorel » Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:36 pm

JoeHermits wrote:The forum treats them as wild animals living in captivity— ergo, direct interaction is generally discouraged.


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It wasn't always that way. The hands-off movement is only a few years old, and the jury is still out on if it actually has an effect on lifespan or behavior. The recommendation has always been to leave them be until they finish a molt though as Post Purchase Syndrome can be compounded by additional stressors and any animal needs time to settle into a new home.


They will start off scared and stressed as any wild animal does, but will eventually learn it's not a scary situation. (Although molts can sometimes be a setback in terms of their behavior.) I'm still on the fence myself whether it's better to keep them fearful of humans for life by limiting interacting and stress at all times, or stressing them out at the beginning and ending up with very well adjusted crabs over time. The two oldest crabs in captivity were handled daily. There are videos of Carol holding them and the crabs act like it's a normal part of daily life for them.
Want to see all my crazy pets? @waywardwaifs on Instagram

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JoeHermits
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Re: To handle or not to handle?

Post by JoeHermits » Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:20 pm

wodesorel wrote:
JoeHermits wrote:The forum treats them as wild animals living in captivity— ergo, direct interaction is generally discouraged.


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It wasn't always that way. The hands-off movement is only a few years old, and the jury is still out on if it actually has an effect on lifespan or behavior. The recommendation has always been to leave them be until they finish a molt though as Post Purchase Syndrome can be compounded by additional stressors and any animal needs time to settle into a new home.


They will start off scared and stressed as any wild animal does, but will eventually learn it's not a scary situation. (Although molts can sometimes be a setback in terms of their behavior.) I'm still on the fence myself whether it's better to keep them fearful of humans for life by limiting interacting and stress at all times, or stressing them out at the beginning and ending up with very well adjusted crabs over time. The two oldest crabs in captivity were handled daily. There are videos of Carol holding them and the crabs act like it's a normal part of daily life for them.
Interesting. Wode, one of these days you need to write a book! :D


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finleyfoo
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Re: To handle or not to handle?

Post by finleyfoo » Wed Oct 31, 2018 11:22 am

I appreciate all the differing viewpoints. I do understand that they are wild animals but they are living a captive life and part of that in my opinion is relating with their owners. There are plenty of other prey animals who are pets and do learn to acclimate over time. For now, I am going to keep handling Bluey, gently, as often as possible and hope that she begins to see that the experiences are positive and that she has nothing to fear. I keep the sessions short and I don't force her to do anything. If she wanted to stay in her shell the entire time she could, but she does come out and walks around my hands a bit. I will post how we are progressing. Thanks!

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CrabbyCuteness
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Re: To handle or not to handle?

Post by CrabbyCuteness » Wed Oct 31, 2018 11:55 am

One of the questions that has plagued crabbers for years, Finleyfoo. Good one. :D
I generally tend to avoid handling the crabs as much as possible. If I need to arrange tank things or give a quick soak after molting, then occasionally I will, very gently, pick them up and place them down as soon as possible. I just don't see the need for possibly stressing them out for my own enjoyment of holding my pet. Again, it is just the way I do it, and not mandatory.
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Incredibly blessed to have six healthy crabbies; 4 PP's and 2 E's. Love every minute of their cute lil' antics!


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Re: To handle or not to handle?

Post by p2gg86 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 11:39 am

wodesorel wrote:
JoeHermits wrote:The forum treats them as wild animals living in captivity— ergo, direct interaction is generally discouraged.


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It wasn't always that way. The hands-off movement is only a few years old, and the jury is still out on if it actually has an effect on lifespan or behavior. The recommendation has always been to leave them be until they finish a molt though as Post Purchase Syndrome can be compounded by additional stressors and any animal needs time to settle into a new home.


They will start off scared and stressed as any wild animal does, but will eventually learn it's not a scary situation. (Although molts can sometimes be a setback in terms of their behavior.) I'm still on the fence myself whether it's better to keep them fearful of humans for life by limiting interacting and stress at all times, or stressing them out at the beginning and ending up with very well adjusted crabs over time. The two oldest crabs in captivity were handled daily. There are videos of Carol holding them and the crabs act like it's a normal part of daily life for them.
I saw the Carol's videos on YouTube. They are amazing stuff. Carol actually stated that she let them run all over her house during the day and put them in the tank at night. Very cool and interesting story!

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RiNiKy506
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Re: To handle or not to handle?

Post by RiNiKy506 » Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:41 am

I found this and thought it was a great post...

Posted by user: Keg
“May I respectfully submit a cosmology here -
Crabber85, JMT and Crabby Abbey feel free to analyze:

I don't have the exact reference, but one of the oldest hermit crabs in captivity (29 years at the time) was owned by the person who blogs here:
http://crabbywiki.com/tiki-index.php?pa ... rks'+Ormes

She let her crabs roam on the floor every day... and I recall a story where she was pinched by one of them during a misadventure in cleaning (I don't have the discipline at the moment to find the hyperlink) and she held it for quite a while to re-establish a 'bond' with it. She was/is in her 80's at the time...

I suppose that even an arthropod intellect could sense the benevolence in being held, if the intention was ~that~ sincere.

Since the crab has a relatively limited (though charming) perception, it can memorize a few things (obviously its terrain, since they are sensitive to changes). Also, I suspect they prioritize memories that pertain to danger/pain.
Studies (somewhere) support that... I can find them or produce them if someone insists...

Since they are not capable (they don't have enough neurons in their brain) of rationalization like humans are... they are basically limited to a very primitive method of learning/behavior modification.

This amounts to (in my opinion) a sort of superstition on their part. They can only believe (without any supporting analysis) that their human/handler is benign... or not, on the basis of experience. Over the course of decades, they recognize who you are (by smell and sight biometric signiture) and realize that you are (in some sense of the word) not a seagull.

******

That's all there is to my silly theory #1. Have at it.

********

Silly theory #2 begins here:

I suppose if I was a crab, I could sense that I was being cared for by a higher intelligence, or a benign 'big crab' or whatever fits.

The point is, I am an unequivocably higher conciousness when compared to my crab. I can reach into the intricacies of Turkish politics or anything else in the googlesphere. I can have an effect on the outcomes of world politics, just as you can, by voting... In a sense, my consciousness is nearly angelic...

And yet.. do I really have a higher level of 'awareness' than my crab? She can direct the activities of ten limbs, two antennules and two antennaes simultaneously. But to be honest, if the crab had a brain that weighed several pounds, it would no doubt function smarter, so let's not waste too much time on this issue.

My crab looks into mirrors and interacts with them. She KNOWS what a crab looks like and knows what a pretty crab looks like because she has seen herself.

But she also knows ME, and seeks attention from this entity who is obviously not a crab (and by definition is not pretty).

So I am a higher power in some sense, to the crab. You are too. They are capable of knowing it.

I think; now that they're in captivity, they need to be MORE than a simple wild animal. They need to have a connection with the higher power that controls their environment.

The crab has a religion, sort of. But it's better than ours. It's walking around in the same room. It's purer and simpler (neurologically).

That's a good thing, I think”

Here’s the link...
http://www.hermitcrabassociation.com/ph ... 50&start=0

I hope I referenced that correctly.


♡ Rod ♡ Salty ♡ Bob ♡ Squirt ♡ Crabina ♡
»-♡-> Our Purple Pinchers »-♡->


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finleyfoo
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Re: To handle or not to handle?

Post by finleyfoo » Fri Nov 02, 2018 12:57 pm

Thanks so much for posting. I had heard of Carol before and her relationship with her crabs is amazing!

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