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I recently got a job as an assistant manager at a large chain pet store here in the states (can't say which one), and have been there roughly 2 months. THE BAD PART: (there's good to come, I promise!)----------------------In that time I have seen COUNTLESS animals die due to neglect or ignorance - and not just crabs. I spoke with the manager there who is basically so overwhelmed with stupid demands from corporate that she doesn't have time to deal with the animals on a cage-by-cage basis. The assistant managers aren't supposed to deal with animal issues either. If one arises, we're to have an associate handle it. The crabitat (which is almost entirely E's - RARELY do we get a PP) had less than one centimeter of FILTHY reptile sand with an algae-covered sponge in the centimeter-deep (they couldn't even dip their shells into it) TAP water bowl (NO salt at all, and the "fresh" water was never treated and often not changed for several days) and corn-based "crab chow."All shells are painted, and they frequently would die and eat the deceased.THE GOOD PART:-----------------------I finally got so fed up with trying to train associates who were unwilling to learn or lazy, and have started coming in on my days off to take care of the neglected animals. The hermit crabs are one of them.I switched their substrate to 50/50 ecoearth and sterile play sand from my own batch. The manager wouldn't allow me to give them deep substrate due to horrible corporate rules, so I sloped it - the front is still one centimeter deep, but it gradually increases in depth at the back where it's roughly three inches - the most I could get away with. The manager has yet to notice or say anything. (YAY!) The crabs have started to burrow and sleep in the deep part in the back, but the largest ones cannot completely cover themselves. I've done the best I could while still following their rules.I added a second bowl for salt water and brought in my own supply of Instant Ocean, which I've used for years with my crabs.When I order food from the Crabbage Patch, I get a few extra baggies for the store crabs. They currently have small bowls of worm castings, a seafood mixture (which the E's have been FEASTING on) and some other plant-based protein mix I bought. I forget the name. When I make batches of fresh veggies or eggs, etc. for my crew I bring in a small baggy of it and give it to the store crabs late at night after the manager has left and have one of the trustworthy girls remove it in the morning. I have added a cuttlebone to their cage, but they've yet to touch it. I also include reptile calcium and minerals in their wet veggies on occasion. They do have a heat lamp and I mist them with my own water bottle in the mornings if I open the store. I have trained MOST of the associates to get their water from the fish tanks instead of the tap. I know it's not the cleanest water, but at least it's treated. If the fish can live in it, I figure it has to be safe for the crabs. I've also trained MOST of the employees to sell salt water mixture when selling crabs. Few of them understand WHY they need salt, but they know that they do so they try to sell it. That's something, at least. ----------------------If you were in my position, is there anything you'd do differently? Anything ADDITIONAL I should be doing? -----------------------I just wanted to let everyone know that SOME pet store employees ARE knowledgeable about hermits and that SOME pet store employees DO care.I also wanted to celebrate with everyone the fact that I've successfully homed several crabs with PROPER set-ups and to let everyone know that I've had THREE families tell me they never thought crab-keeping could be so entertaining. What started out as school projects for kids or just quick, impulse-buys have turned into life-long hobbies it seems. One little girl came in and told me she'd researched hermits online (I SEND EVERYONE HERE, BTW!!) and she told me the difference between PP's and E's, she knew how to sex them, she told me how she saves some of her dinner for them every night and watches them eat, and that her crabs have gotten so used to her that when she takes them out they don't hide, but will walk across her hands and take food from her if it's something yummy. This girl is roughly 7 years old. They bought a tank, a heat lamp, they wrapped the top in plastic wrap, they've been misting every morning ... they're doing everything right as far as we know how to. And this was a girl that started out wanting to keep one lonely PP (a previous classroom pet) in a kritter keeper with gravel. If that doesn't make you guys happy, I don't know what will. --------------------------Anyway, sorry this is so long. I just wanted to share my experiences because it's been such an uphill battle. But those few customers who really get into crab-keeping make it all worth it to me. Hopefully we'll be seeing some of them on the forums soon! ------------------------My next project is the Halloween crabs we sell that no one knows ANYTHING about. I'll be going in early tomorrow to set them up (relatively) properly. If anyone has suggestions, I'm open to them. I've read the threads here and elsewhere regarding their care and will do the best I can.
Sounds like your doing the best you can. If I remember right somewhere here there is a pamphlet version of basic crab care. You could see if your allowed to print some out to bring in for handout with crab purchase.
@Mindibum, unfortunately the big chain pet stores have always had corporate guidelines to follow and employes who varied even the slightest from them would be punished with wage lost or worse termination for failure to observe protocall.The corporate guidelines are designed to ensure a large turnover in animals by denying them the most basic care because the animals and I quote "Are Cheap" they dont cost the stores that much to get in when order in bulk fahsion often less than five dollars per on the larger pets and less than a dollar on the smaller ones so the corporate honchos just don't care as long as their bottom line is being met.I know for fact that this has been the SOP or standard operating procedure at Pet-Smarts around the country until about two years ago when somebody with some power and say started changing things now the hermitcrabs are often based upon specific stores in better conditons than at other large pet store chains.I know you can't say which chain you work for based on job security reasons but any little bit you can do to change your corporate bosses minds definitely helps.
Hi I have autism so I tend to answer questions very directly and with little emotion so please don't think I'm being rude.
They are selling the crabs as low maintenance pets that are cheap and easy to care for. If they stocked proper foods and amenities, it could benefit their bottom line, sales. But as we all know, we need to get most of our supplies elsewhere. Would sales would be lower if people knew they had to buy all the other stuff? Or maybe it would be more if they sold all the other stuff. They don’t want substrate in the habitat if the crab is going to hide, can’t sell it if the customer can’t see it. And of coarse the painted shells... ;( I find that the complexities of hermit crabs is what makes them so interesting. If people want a simple pet, direct them to the pet rock department (lol, just kidding).
Crabs around here are anything but cheap.. a small and I mean between micro and small are around 8$ meds 10$ large to extra large 14-15$ jumbo now if you can find them are around 20$ the most I have seen is micro n small. They don't want that substrate deep for a reason.. can't sell crabs if they are down. I have seen some junk set ups to. A lot on you tube. The know it all's..I call em. Unfortunately some people are just at a job for the money, don't give a rat's.... about what going on...just keep doing what your doing!
Be very watchful of them burrowing to molt and then cannibalizing each other. Small space-delicious molting smell...
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It's actually better for them to have low substrate levels at a store. You do not want to encourage them to even think of molting while in that tank. It's too risky - too many other hungry, stressed out crabs looking for an easy meal - and too much of a chance of an employee grabbing up a molting crab and injuring it or thinking that it's dead. It is rather ironically much safer for that crab to wait to molt until it's sold and gets into it's permanent home. (The only time this isn't true is when a pet shop has strict rules not to dig up molting crabs and everyone knows to follow it.)