Archived information regarding hermit crab behavior.
2 posts • Page 1 of 1
I'd been meaning to post this for some time but I have to admit my lack of good pics has made me hesitate. Nonetheless, I want to share my experiences with everyone in case this happens to anyone else so no one either gets worried or assumes the worst.Apparently my crabs of five years now are starting to hit the 'teenage' stage of their lives. Back on August 11, I was cleaning and straightening the tank when I went to move my largest female crab, Salty, to the other side of the tank. She leaned way out of her shell as I picked her up and I couldn't believe what I'd seen - a large orange mass of eggs on her lefthand side! I have to admit I was pretty upset and shocked, so I emailed Tammy from the Crabbage Patch (since she has had experience with breeding hermit crabs) and she reassured me that it was completely normal and that several of her crabs also had eggs, and had eggs in the past without problems. She said that over a period of weeks the eggs would change color from orange (yolk) to grey, at which point Salty would likely release them into the sand or the salt water dish (crabs will normally release their eggs into the ocean), but that she should be fine. I have to admit that I wasn't happy about any of this, particularly since at the time we were getting ready to leave for our ocean vacation, but there was really nothing I could do but wait. By September 3, I was able to get a few pics of Salty as the eggs were now grey and I didn't want to miss the opportunity. My picture-taking skills are abysmal, but by this point I can tell you that the compound eyes were visible in the eggs just as they were in that pic of Tammy's crab. You can see the mass of grey eggs on the left-hand side of her shell. And a pic of Salty for size reference - she's about golf-ball sized.On the morning of September 5, I found all the grey eggs lying in the salt water dish - poor Salty had tried to give her babies the best shot at living as she could under the circumstances. I was too upset to take a picture of the eggs and didn't want to even look if the zoea were swimming or not (according to Tammy's site, salt water will rupture the eggs and the zoea will start to swim). So I just rinsed out the dish thoroughly and replaced the salt water. Salty had already begun digging by this point and apparently she'd held off on molting until she could lay her eggs (even hermit crabs try to be good mommies!).Also during this time, on the morning of August 27, (and I am assuming this all is fairly rare in captivity unless other crabbers come forward with their experiences) I found my alpha male Pumpkin engaged in what looked like a shell fight with one of my smaller females Sunshine. And I was like what? I haven't seen a shell fight for the longest time and not only that, her shell was way too small for him. I tried to separate them several times but Pumpkin kept going relentlessly after Sunshine. It was then that I realized...this wasn't a shell fight. Sunshine wasn't chirping nor was she fighting him off. So I wrote to Tammy yet again and described the behavior and she confirmed for me that indeed, what I was observing was not a fight at all but hermit crab mating (she also mentioned in the email back to me that she'd observed a definite crab mating season between July and September and especially in the waning crescent phase of the moon - which at that time we were in!). What I didn't expect to hear, however, is that Pumpkin wouldn't let go of Sunshine for over a day and half - which is normal apparently for hermit crabs. Other than my one other above-ground male keeping a close eye on them, though, none of the other tankmates batted an eyestalk at any of this going on. They were oblivious and by the afternoon of August 28, Sunshine was set free and was eating millet as if nothing had ever happened. So far, I have not caught Pumpkin (nor my other two males) with any more 'dates' so perhaps the activity in my tank has calmed down for the time-being. I am still waiting for Salty to resurface from her molt, but it's only been a few weeks and I am hoping she'll do fine. Many thanks to Tammy for all her help and experience - I hope that sharing my situation can help any crabber who may come across the same scenario in their own tank(s).
~ crabbing since 2003
Merged from another threadIt's mating season in hermit crab world again (early summer months) and for the third year in a row I have had 'pregnant' crabs (forget the myth that they don't breed in captivity - they will if you've had them long enough to reach golf ball size and if your conditions are favorable in the tank). This year, I counted now all eight females with eggs and they are starting to lay them in the tank now. I thought I would share some pics for those who have not experienced this yet; there's also a thread or two on this in the Archives under crab behavior. From best I can tell, the females hold onto the eggs for just over a month before laying them. Eggs laid in the salt water dish A close-up of the eggs A close-up of an egg cluster found in the sand Ocean with mature grey eggs Another view of Ocean with eggs Ocean when her eggs were new and orangish Salty with new orange eggs
~ crabbing since 2003