Spider has lost the plot (Updated - photo)

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.
User avatar

Topic author
tnt4eva
Posts: 237
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2009 8:31 pm
Location: Australia
Contact:

Spider has lost the plot (Updated - photo)

Post by tnt4eva » Thu Nov 24, 2011 5:30 am

This is going to sound a little loopy but I swear it's all true.

I've had Spider, a large, for a year. He's always been very timid despite his size and always ran off so fast when he saw me that he'd fall over. He was a push over with the other crabs - literally. Even the small crabs would roll him out of his burrow and steal it. The only time he ever stood up for himself that I saw was when he had a window at the front of the tank and I put my finger up to it. He charged at my finger, pinchers snapping and hit the glass so hard that there was an audible crack.

He came up from a molt, probably about 3 weeks ago and was still timid until probably a week and a half ago. For the first time, he stopped running away from me, and started seeking out the other crabs to "talk" (tap antennas) with them.

That's when the trouble started. I'm not sure if he's saying something bad in crabby language or if it's the over enthusiastic way he runs over to them like he's going to steam roll over them, but after a few seconds of talking, they usually either turn their back to him or run away from him as fast as they can. The only one who will sit with him is Cinnamon. It was quite sad, because he'd slump and look all lethargic when they ran off or ignored him. I was actually starting to think he may have been a different species or something and couldn't communicate with them.

Today, he ran up to Ghost and tried to talk to him. Ghost was pooping and I do not think he liked the interruption, because he turned his back. Spider bristled and got all stiff legged - something I've noticed the Aussies only do during altercations over shells or when they are about to fight. Then Ghost bumped him and Spider got really aggressive and started hitting him. After some terse antenna tapping, Spider walked off.

Later, Spider cornered Ghost, grabbed his shell and started rolling him over. I separated him and Spider buried himself.

Just now, Cinnamon was walking along the front of the tank, passed a driftwood cave and this white blur launched itself at her. It was Spider. He stopped short of touching her, but he was really jerky, stiff legged and aggressive looking. She didn't see him because he was behind her. He turned, walked away, then turned back and charged at her again. He repeated that about 6 times and then ran off.

I am perturbed. This is highly out of character for him and I'm not at all sure what's going on. I hate isolating them, because it always seems to stress them out rather badly, but I'm not sure what's going on or what to do. He's been so incredibly passive for a whole year and now suddenly he's acting like this. It's like a switch has flipped.

He has plenty of shells, there's only 8 crabs to a 120 gallon and there is always protein available to them.

I don't like having aggressive crabs :( Termite is really bossy, but the only time he's ever grabbed another crab was when he grabbed a female and that was when all my males seemed fixated on mating.

So, I'm at a loss. The only things I can think of is that he's somehow mad that the other crabs have been walking all over him for a year (his fault - he never ever stood up for himself), that there is something wrong with him, or that he's a different species (we do have a few here) that got collected by accident and can't communicate with the others properly.
Last edited by tnt4eva on Thu Dec 22, 2011 7:15 am, edited 2 times in total.


eloise13
Posts: 64
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2011 7:42 pm
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Contact:

Re: Spider has lost the plot & I don't know what to do with

Post by eloise13 » Thu Nov 24, 2011 5:41 am

In a lot of animals, sudden aggression is a sign of pain. Maybe something is wrong with him?

I've heard antenna tapping is a way of showing dominance. Is he initiating them ? Turning their back and running seems like he has won.. He may be trying to assert himself as alpha crab. If that it is the case, hopefully it'll settle down soon.
I own 11 Aussies! my photography
Micro: Baby
Teenies: Friday, Jeffery, Molly, Nero, Louis
Smalls: Edward, Andromeda
Mediums: Beetle, Bug
Large: Big boy.

User avatar

Topic author
tnt4eva
Posts: 237
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2009 8:31 pm
Location: Australia
Contact:

Re: Spider has lost the plot & I don't know what to do with

Post by tnt4eva » Thu Nov 24, 2011 5:59 am

I took him out for a bit, hand fed him and checked him over. He made no attempt to pinch me, gobbled some peanut butter and I couldn't see any obvious injury. But of course there could still be something bothering in his shell. He hasn't been eating that much the last few days that I've seen. He's been checking out the new shells - I think he may want to change.

Mine all tap antennas. Usually it's all very civilised and cute and they do it until one gets bored and walks off or falls asleep. Termite even does it when the teenies when they are eye level height to him and it is the cutest thing ever to see this big ol' bossy boots tapping antennas with a crab the size of his pincher. :D

But, this the is first time I've seen them run away from it :( They back up fast like they've just been shocked and then they run, or turn their backs.

User avatar

Invert Mom
Posts: 34
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 2:50 pm
Location: State of Washington

Re: Spider has lost the plot & I don't know what to do with

Post by Invert Mom » Thu Nov 24, 2011 1:11 pm

Is it possible he has some sand trapped in his shell irritating him, maybe? I know it isn't good to over bathe them, but maybe you could give him a quick dip?
"Mom" of 7 rescued Hermit Crabs, 5 PP's, 2 E's

User avatar

wodesorel
Tech Support
Tech Support
Posts: 9720
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:49 am
Location: Leetonia, Ohio
Contact:

Re: Spider has lost the plot & I don't know what to do with

Post by wodesorel » Thu Nov 24, 2011 3:43 pm

I'm wondering if a bath is in order as well - maybe something smells "off" because of the molt.

I've also had crabs drastically change in personally after molts. Sometimes I think the molting doesn't just reset their bodies but also their little brains. :\
Want to see all my crazy pets? @waywardwaifs on Instagram

User avatar

coxbrea151
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 3:22 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada.
Contact:

Re: Spider has lost the plot & I don't know what to do with

Post by coxbrea151 » Thu Nov 24, 2011 4:17 pm

The same thing happened with me with my second largest purple pincher; Chee.
Hello, my name is Brea.
I have 2 cats, 2 guinea pigs, 5 Jack Dempsy chichlids, 8 white clouds, 1 plecotumous (bristle-nosed, female), 3 PP hermit crabs,and one syrian hamster.
Hermit crabs; Chee (female), Vango (male), and Kai (male).

User avatar

Rocky
Posts: 1267
Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:22 pm
Location: Vernon, BC (Canada)
Contact:

Re: Spider has lost the plot & I don't know what to do with

Post by Rocky » Thu Nov 24, 2011 4:25 pm

is he your largest or close to? His last molt might have irked him (or his brain said 'ive molted x times, im a big boy now!') to be more dominant
We're not asked to do great things, we're asked to do all things with great care.
Rocky's Reptile Rescue: https://www.facebook.com/RockysReptileRescue
Stop the demand. End the trade.

User avatar

Topic author
tnt4eva
Posts: 237
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2009 8:31 pm
Location: Australia
Contact:

Re: Spider has lost the plot & I don't know what to do with

Post by tnt4eva » Fri Nov 25, 2011 3:29 am

Things have calmed down dramatically and he's been peacefully sitting with the other crabs. They aren't running away from him and he's not pushing them around or anything. When I see him out again, I'll give him a quick bath, but I'm hoping that whatever is going on resolved itself.

Funny thing - Termite was buried all day yesterday and came up late last night - after which there did not seem to be any trouble. They only seem to ruckus or quarrel when Termite isn't about. Hmmm.

Spider is the 2nd/3rd biggest crab in there, so I guess he could be trying to climb a few rungs on the bossy ladder.

Wodesorel, you are so right about them changing after molts!! So far, I've been really lucky and grumpy or super shy crabs usually settled down after a few molts. Cinnamon was a horrible little thing, but straight after her last molt, she became markedly more friendly to me and the other crabs. Hopefully, Spider won't be the exception :/

User avatar

Topic author
tnt4eva
Posts: 237
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2009 8:31 pm
Location: Australia
Contact:

Re: Spider has lost the plot & I don't know what to do with

Post by tnt4eva » Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:03 am

He's at it again :( Twice within an hour tonight I've caught him standing over Cinnamon while she was rolled over on her back. I'm presuming he rolled her over. We are going away Saturday (it's Thursday now) and coming back Monday. We bought two very small crabs the other day and I'm really worried he'll hurt them while we're gone :( I hate isolating crabs because every time I've tried, they seem to get really stressed and spend their whole time trying to escape and running around frantically. But I'm wondering if I should go out and buy a storage container to put him in while we are gone (set up properly of course). The container I use to use an an isolation contain is being used for something else so I need a new one. Ugh. Why can't he just play nice :(

User avatar

Rocky
Posts: 1267
Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:22 pm
Location: Vernon, BC (Canada)
Contact:

Re: Spider has lost the plot & I don't know what to do with

Post by Rocky » Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:35 am

Oh no :( do you think it might be because of the new crabs and he feels like he needs to establish dominance? Or has anything changed in the tank (or around it) at all?
We're not asked to do great things, we're asked to do all things with great care.
Rocky's Reptile Rescue: https://www.facebook.com/RockysReptileRescue
Stop the demand. End the trade.

User avatar

Topic author
tnt4eva
Posts: 237
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2009 8:31 pm
Location: Australia
Contact:

Re: Spider has lost the plot & I don't know what to do with

Post by tnt4eva » Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:40 am

I don't know. :/ He doesn't seem to have paid any attention to them at all. My big ones tend to ignore the really little ones completely. The only thing I can think of is that it's something to do with mating. There's been a bit of mating behaviour in the tank and I've heard of other people having trouble with male crabs getting aggressive during mating season.

Or else he's just nuts :( There's lots of shells, there's protein and only 10 crabs to 120 gallons.

User avatar

Topic author
tnt4eva
Posts: 237
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2009 8:31 pm
Location: Australia
Contact:

Re: Spider has lost the plot (Updated - photo)

Post by tnt4eva » Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:58 am

They have been like this for about 10 minutes now Image he's usually skittish, but is ignoring me completely even when I had my phone a few inches from him for the photo - usually he runs off when someone enters the room. They are barely moving, he only moves if she moves.

I'm keeping an eye on it, trying to work out if he is trying to initiate mating or if he's just being aggressive

User avatar

Topic author
tnt4eva
Posts: 237
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2009 8:31 pm
Location: Australia
Contact:

Re: Spider has lost the plot & I don't know what to do with

Post by tnt4eva » Thu Dec 22, 2011 5:03 am

She kicked him in the eyes and he pinched her leg, so I separated them. He sat there looking very confused and I took her out to make sure she was OK. Bizarrely enough, she was happy to take peanut butter from my finger. In a year of owning her, I have never been able to hand feed her and picking her up for any reason is usually a nightmare because she snaps at me with her pinchers continuously.

Edit: I'm so not going to get any sleep tonight...

User avatar

Rocky
Posts: 1267
Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:22 pm
Location: Vernon, BC (Canada)
Contact:

Re: Spider has lost the plot (Updated - photo)

Post by Rocky » Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:53 am

Maybe he's just gone senile :? a couple people have mentioned that they had a PP that was just nasty to everyone, but was perfectly happy to have his own place
We're not asked to do great things, we're asked to do all things with great care.
Rocky's Reptile Rescue: https://www.facebook.com/RockysReptileRescue
Stop the demand. End the trade.

User avatar

wodesorel
Tech Support
Tech Support
Posts: 9720
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:49 am
Location: Leetonia, Ohio
Contact:

Re: Spider has lost the plot (Updated - photo)

Post by wodesorel » Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:03 pm

He's got sand up his tail, that's for sure! I would be seriously considering a time out for him while you're gone, or you won't be enjoying your weekend in the least becuase you'll be so worried him. Maybe some quiet time by himself will calm him down. I would even consider putting him on the opposite end of the house - if it's a mating thing maybe getting him away from the girls in your tank will flush some of the testosterone (do they have that?) out of his system.
Want to see all my crazy pets? @waywardwaifs on Instagram

Locked