Shell Aggression vs Guarding How to Tell the Difference?

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  • #854
    Profile photo of HugsForHermits
    HugsForHermits
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    I have three PP and one is a fairly new addition to our tat. A couple months back, I noticed my alpha, “Onion” would kind of pick up the newbie, “Rocky” and kind of shake him. ( I don’t really know if they are boys or girls btw) Rocky would Chirp and I would “break it up, thinking that Onion wanted Rockies Shell.  Onion has changed shells a few times since then, and things seemed peaceful again.

    But lately in the past week I would say. I notice Onion kinda sitting on top of Rocky and one of them starts chirping. Rocky is still shy, I think he was plucked fresh from the wild, and still adjusting. But when Onion does this Rocky pulls in tight to his shell. Onion doesn’t seem like he is hurting Rocky, but I don’t want to risk injury so I end up breaking up.

    How does one know the difference between “Shell Envy” and “Romantic Guarding”? I would love to see some video showing both behaviors.

    Hugs

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    #858
    Profile photo of Stacy
    Stacy
    Participant

    Here is our articled on shell aggression.

    http://crabstreetjournal.org/blog/2012/09/27/identifying-and-addressing-aggression-in-hermit-crabs/

     

    During mating there will be some knocking of shells and rocking… I don’t remember if the crabs exhibit chirping at this time however.

     

    I had this happen when I brought a new crab home.  I stopped it by giving the aggressor and the ‘victim’ a quick dunk in my water pool. It seemed like the aggressor was able to tell the other crab was new.

    You may want to search for info on pre mating behavior also.

    #861
    Profile photo of HugsForHermits
    HugsForHermits
    Participant

    I think my crab “Onion” is probably feeling love sick. He (she) sometimes pulls out of his shell slightly while he and another crab are wiggly antenna like crazy … the other crab will then back away and walk away. My other two crabs are kinda shy of him. I have also seen him guarding the “bridge to the food dishes! I have to move him away or move dishes to the others sometimes … lol He is a problem child I guess!

    #862
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    HugsForHermits
    Participant

    Thank you for the link to the article!

    #863
    Profile photo of HugsForHermits
    HugsForHermits
    Participant

    OH, I just read that article! It was very informative!  I am thinking now after reading it that Onion is maybe pushing his weight around as alpha of the tank. This morning I saw him on the bridge to the food blocking one of the other hermits. They were wiggling antenna for a while then he raised one of his legs up a couple times and kinda pushed or kicked  the other with it. ( Ii have it on film)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkOib4Abez8

    The other hermit then retreated, Onion is STILL on the bridge guarding the dishes! (I moved a couple of the dishes down so the others could get to them. I just got the larger tank(29 gallon) about 2 months ago and already I am thinking I need a bigger one!

    #868
    Profile photo of Stacy
    Stacy
    Participant

    Hermit crabs in captivity are  denied food and water until there are enough of them to fill a huge crate to ship to the states. They arrive at petstores hungry and dehydrated. Most petstores offer a small bit of water and hermit crab pellets.  So if the hermit crabs live to come home with someone it’s not unusual to see them gorging or protecting food.  Keep offering lots of different foods so everyone is eating well and Onion will settle down in time. We have some articles on all the different foods they can eat.

     

    A bigger tank… welcome to hermit crab addiction LOL

    #940
    Profile photo of Beth
    Beth
    Participant

    Its all about upgrading! I started with a 10 gallon. Then I got a 20 gallon…….now I have a 40 gallon…….hmmmmmmm, 80-100 gallon next? Btw, I have 3 crabs. A golf ball size female (the alpha female!) A medium male, and a small male. Seems like the 40 gallon looks small for the big crab. Yes, a larger tank is always better. I thought I was the only person who kept changing tanks until I joined this website a few years ago. Nice to know there are others who are just as interested as I am in giving the best possible care to the little ones! I am an addict!

    #973
    Profile photo of Shawn
    Shawn
    Participant

    Seems like you need either another access route to the food or two food dishes in you tank if this is going on.

    #978
    Profile photo of Stacy
    Stacy
    Participant

    You may want to consider getting some organic and hermit crab safe plants. I sprinkle dried flowers all through my tank to give everyone a chance to find something to eat without being forced to visit the food dish. Also gives them something to scavenge for which is their natural behavior. I use dried flowers, seeds, exos of cicadas… things that won’t mold or rot.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by Profile photo of Stacy Stacy.
    #986
    Profile photo of Ellen
    Ellen
    Participant

    I sprinkle things to eat around too–maple leaves, crushed shell, cholla wood, barnacles, oak bark, coral. They eat the plastic plants and the clay pots too. They visit the food dish in order of dominance at mealtime, and the ones waiting tend to chew on the other stuff while waiting.
    I never resolved this issue with my two crabs Baby and Sweet Pea though, who after 6 years have become jumbos.(I have 3 quarter-sized crabs too).Sweet Pea has been a bully from the start.I have always sensed that Sweet Pea at some time was not well treated and survived by intimidating other crabs.

    #987
    Profile photo of Korinne
    Korinne
    Participant

    My Favorite Hermit Crab “Aleacia” buried Herself To Molt A Few Weeks Back And My Meanie Hermit Crab BUrrowed Down Just The OtHer Day And Came Back Up With Both Her SheLl And His. So Now She Is Still Down There Naked! What Do I Do?! I’M So UpseT And Worried About Her :-(

    #988
    Profile photo of Beth
    Beth
    Participant

    Do not dig the crab up, it may come up by itself and look for a shell. Try to make sure meanie can’t get to her when she comes up.
    Coax the crab towards her shell, if you need to, you can put her into a cup with some distilled water and her shell in there, she may change into it. There is a link on this website explaining exactly how to do it. A little bit of water so the crabs abdomen doesn’t dry out.

    #989
    Profile photo of Beth
    Beth
    Participant

    You can also put the crab in an isolation tank with shells, that way she can choose a shell without another crab interfering with her.

    #990
    Profile photo of Shawn
    Shawn
    Participant

    I know what you mean Beth, went from a 20gal to a 30 or 40gal and now want something about 72″lx12″wx18″h so I can have room for a good sized ocean pool and have some heat and humidity variation end to end.

    #1004
    Profile photo of Korinne
    Korinne
    Participant

    Thank you for your advice Beth! I’m happy to report that Aleacia resurfaced alive and well about 4-5 days after Duncan stole her shell. I’m glad I hadn’t tried to dig her up. By the time she resurfaced, I had her old shell cleaned out and waiting on her and she went right back into it. After soaking up what seemed like 5 or 6 bowls of saltwater and 1 or 2 bowls of freshwater (all within about 24 hours or so) she seemed to be feeling just fine. Several days have passed now and she is back to her old self and ruling the tank :-)

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HugsForHermits

Hi, I was born in the State of Maine, went to College at SUNY in Cortland, where I studied Zoology, Biology, Psychology, Art and Art Education, concentrated in Sculpture and earned my BA. I went to Tompkins Cortland Community Collage also in N.Y., where I earned my a.s./a.a.s. dual degree in Computer Graphics/Graphic Design. I have always loved all living things. I have kept horses, pigeons, pheasant, quail, turkeys, geese, bantams, dabbled in falconry, ferrets, guinea pigs, rabbits, gerbils, hampsters, mice, rats (they are awesome), fish, bred angel fish, special interest in Discus, Oscars (are big puppies), goldfish, (should not be in goldfish bowls and neither should Betas, they all deserve equal rights with a legit aquarium set up), always have a cat or two and now bringing us to the present, I have two cats and three Purple Pincher Hermit Crabs which are my passion, though it was not intentional, those little critters just got to my heart! Here is the Story of How I Became Addicted to Hermit Crabs I bought 2 Purple Pincher Hermit crabs for my son last for Christmas. I thought they would be a very cheap and easy pet for my son. Boy was I wrong! Well, they ARE easy once you know how to take care of them! But they needed more equipment than I realized! (I don't mind though) ♥ About a month after I bought them I discovered one was out of his shell! (very scary!) Quickly we went to the internet and looked up what to do! We found out that we were to gently pick him up and put him alone with a few shells. Sure enough in a little while he went into one of the shells. (That was our PP named Onion) We learned that the reason he had left his shell was most likely because of improper living conditions. AND we also found out that we had a lot to learn about hermit crabs! One thing we found out was, a lot of people that work in pet stores don't seem to have correct information on these critters and we were only going on what they had told us, which was not much and incorrect! So I moved their tank to the living room where I could keep a closer eye on them and also because my son wasn't really interested in them. The more researched them, the more fascinating they became for me. And the more I watched, and cared for them, the more they got into my heart!