Archived information regarding hermit crab behavior.
8 posts • Page 1 of 1
So I come to my room to find my crab Pippin being eaten by a crab about four times his size. I'm trying to figure out how he ended up out of his shell. I have 7 [counting Pippin] crabs and they've lived peacefully for a while now. I can't figure out why a crab would kill him since there is no crab that would want his shell. Two others are the same size, one is extremely tiny-er and 2 are a bit larger and then one is much larger - so there wouldn't be a shell dispute. Also his shell appears to be missing a chunck on the rim. I thought maybe he wasn't dead when I took him out b/c his leg moved but I think he was just limp or something. He had his big claw and two legs ripped off and his abdomen was oozing stuff. It's disgusting. What would cause this massacre to happen?Oh, the big crab [Tragdor] just went back to the empty shell as I removed the body and started looking into it (if that means anything).
Crabs can live peacefully together for a long time and then there can suddenly be an attack...out of the blue. I had a simlilar situation happen to me the other week. One of my crabs got pulled out of her shell and who ever did it didn't take her shell. I put plenty of extra shells in the tank for the other crabs and ISO'd the one that was attacked.After a week I put the ISO'd crab back in the main tank and that same day she was attacked again.She survived but lost two legs in the "battle". I have her in ISO for now and plan to keep her there a while...I've had her for a year or so w/ no problems up until now so it's very odd.A crab can become aggressive in their natural environment and in captivity...it's just part of their natural instinct I guess.Do you provide your crabs w/ plenty of vancant shells? Maybe he didn't want that particular shell the attacked hermie was wearing but was in need of another shell more suitable??Was the attacked crab in pre molt?? This can also sometimes cause other crabs to attack a crab.
Well Pippin is definately dead, the fact that it was oozing from it's body and it wasn't moving. You don't think it survived that do you? I already put it in a bag and my mom already put him in the garbage.But I just watched the big crab go at another crab so he is going into isolation. Right as I was reading your response I looked over and he's creeping towards another one and that one is out and they are both wiggling anteneas and then he kept walking towards the little one whoe was trying to back up but was up against half a coconut, then he sortof jumped on top of him so I moved towards them and they shrunk into their shells. Then I took the big one out.I have plenty of extra shells, not for the big one though. Enough for the smaller ones. 9 shells and the one that Pippin was in. I think I need to get another large shell for him.I don't know if it was in pre molt. I have gravel so I had a top molter once because I don't think he could dig. I have sand to put in but haven't gotten around to it. Pippin had just sortof been sitting there for a while so I don't know what he was doing.
I wonder if this is nature's way of eradicating, for the lack of a better way of saying it, the weak, sick or frail.I had two cats (Ludwig & Mozart), brothers, who were very, very close. They even slept wrapped around each other.One day, Mozart slipped and fell out the window, 4 stories. We retrieved him and he had lost the ability to stand on his hind legs. He also had this stench that was unmistakably horrible. As Mozart lay there painfully meowing and dragging his body around, Ludwig came up to him, hissed and tried to attack him. I was stunned. Needless to say I took him to the Animal Medical Center where he was diagnosed with a cracked palate, and the nerves in his legs were bruised. After babying him for a few days, he was able to heal and walk again. The whole time Ludwig had to be separated from him. Once the smell subsided and Mozart began walking again, Ludwig was his buddy again. I always wondered what made Ludwig react in this way. Unfortunately, Mozart died about 2 years later due to Kidney failure which they think could of been a result of the fall. Ludwig misses him terribly.Nature has a funny way of doing things!
Strange, but you might be right. I don't know what was wrong with Pippin though.Anyway, I bought the largest shell I could find (everywhere is sold out) and it's not much bigger if at all but it's at least different. He didn't touch it in ISO for two days so I put him and the shell back. However he is making me nervous. Just a few minutes ago I came into my room (about 40 minutes after he was re-instated into the tank) and he was nose to nose (in a ficticious sense) to Chandler, who was my very first hermie in July 2003 (so he's very dear to me). But Tragdor (the big hermie) just kept wiggling anteneas at him and they were touching and Chandler backed up and fell off the piece of coral he was on, he got back up and then a few seconds later Tragdor walked away. THEN he walked over to Pippin's old shell and picked it up and was literally holding it in the air with his claw like he was trying to see how it would fit - it definately is too small. But it's just weird. That makes me think he's checking out the shells of all the other crabs and killing them if he thinks they might work. =( I don't know what to do with him. I might put my 10gallon tank divider in (like I did when Chandler molted - my only one to ever molt) and keep him separated but close at the same time? But he's still making me VERY nervous for the sake of my other five crabs...any input?
You've said you had the crabs for a while, but I wonder how long have you had Tragdor. If he came from less than desirable petstore (or kiosk or whatever) conditions, then he could be in survival mode. I'm so sorry this happened. I think a little isolation with some good fitting shells (when you can find them...craft stores are great places to check for shells, even larger ones) might do this guy some good and protect the other crabs until he gets a shell he wants. If he didn't just pull Pippin out of his shell, then you might also want to make sure he realizes he's got a steady source of food and doesn't need to attack. It can take some crabs a while to catch on. Crabnewbie to answer your question, most crab attacks generally are between two crabs of the same size, usually over shells, it would seem. Occasionally a premolter or molter will be attacked by crabs of any size. Usually shell fights can be avoided by providing plenty of extra shells of various sizes. Premolt fights...well, all you can really do to prevent that is watch carefully for premolt signs or out of character behavior and isolate.
I disagree with those saying that you can't have different species and sizes together. I have straws, Ruggies, PP's and Cavipes all together in my tank. I have small through Jumbos, and have never had a problem except one. She was a newer crab that was in a king shell. She seemed to not like her shell, and started ripping everyone out of theirs no matter what size they were. I isolated her with about 30 different shells, mostly turbos since she was a PP. She found one she liked and buried down immediately after to molt. She is now happily playing with the other crabs. I suggest getting a bunch of shells for your crab, and keeping it in ISO for awhile. Unless it is an E, I suggest turbos. If you have a hard time finding some big enough locally order some online. Petdiscounters and Ebay are some of my favorites.