So Felix has been begging us for a pet for ages. I tried to bring him into this gently by buying him an ant farm for Christmas. I even ordered the ants around Thanksgiving so I wouldn’t forget. Of course, the ants are gathered from the wild in Utah, I learned, and are dormant in winter. Also they don’t ship live critters until it’s reliably warm outside. So that brings us to mid-spring with an empty ant farm and a sad boy still wanting a pet.
Mammals are out of the question. I don’t want a reptile. I wanted a fish, damn it, but Felix can’t cuddle a fish. We took him to the Animal Rescue League to look at the animals and pet the bunnies, hoping this would appease him a bit. Nope. He wants a pet he can hold. So Corey went and bought a damn hermit crab named Teapot.
We brought Teapot home in his tiny little pet store plastic box, filled with pet store rocks and pet store food. And Teapot was pretty boring. But then we started reading about hermit crabs online and realized we were giving Teapot a really miserable life in this pet store box. So what did we do?
We had to go out and spend $100 getting more things to give Teapot a nice life. We built him a lovely crabitat (as it’s called) in the huge bin that used to house my maternity clothes. We also had to buy Teapot a friend, because hermit crabs are social animals. Now we have Lightning, too.
And so, after rehydrating coconut fiber and creating moist tunnels for the crabs, planting succulents in the humid crabitat, and filling soaking pools with specially formulated salt water, we also had to slice up some steak for the crabs. Steak. Because crabs like meat. And coconut, evidently.
There was a bit of drama last night because we came upon Lightning on top of Teapot, and it looked like maybe Lightning was trying to eat Teapot? This was very traumatic for everyone. Further research from Smithsonian magazine taught me two things. 1. I’m insanely jealous that I did not write that article about canibalistic habits of hermit crabs. 2. Most likely, the crabs were just sniffing each other.
I checked on Teapot periodically throughout the night, as I would an infant baby, because I don’t have enough to worry about. He seemed fine overnight. The steak is mostly eaten. This morning, I cannot find any trace of Teapot at all. Not even his shell, which is encouraging because if Lightning ate him, he’d surely leave the shell behind. My best hope is that Teapot has buried himself somewhere deep within the rehydrated coconut substrate, preparing to molt.
So, if you need me, I’ll be off crocheting a hammock for the hermit crabs. Because they like to climb.