Say NO to Painted Shells… Picallo’s story

Our treatment of animals will someday be considered barbarous.
There cannot be perfect civilization until man realizes that the rights
of every living creature are as sacred as his own” – Dr. David Starr Jordan

and now, on with the show…

Hermit Crab cup

Hermit Crab cup

 

Crab in a cup anyone?

First a bit o’ the story. I went to the pet store, the one that I LIKE, and they always have good patties, in natural shells, none of the painted. So I wander to the hermit crab tank and in the aquarium is about 16 crabs in cups, stacked on top of each other. all in red or pink heart shells. One of the employees walked by and I said,

“Um… why are these in cups?”
“Oh, it’s just for valentine’s day”
“But…why don’t you free them, this is exactly what walmart does” *frown*
“Well we haven’t had TIME.”
“Dood, it’s your JOB to take care of the pets.”

He went to help someone else. So over comes a girl, and I said,

“Ooh, I guess i’m going to get one. Can I look at them?”

She said, “Sure, go ahead”.

And the guy comes back and said,

“Oh, when you have time can you open all those containers?”.

So she did, while i’m politely bitching about their stupid painted shells they are now having. I helped her free them. I was going to get one that was staring at me through the bucket, and making praying pinchers. She freed her before I could say I wanted her and the little pattie was happily roaming so I looked on and decided on booger, because of the blob of boogery paint by her eyes. More on her later.

So I went in search of another in need. Found one dead, and then came upon my newest rescue. I could tell by looking he was stuck. Generally, if a hermit crab doesn’t at least come out to check you out, they’re either stuck, sick, or dead.

So I told her, “He’s stuck you know.”
“Oh really?”
“Um, yeah, he can’t move.”

I took him home, got home at 5:55pm, gave them a quick bath, in which he did not move one little bit. Only his big pincher moved so I knew he was alive. I could only see 3 of his 6 supposed to be seen legs.

Piccalo before

Piccalo before


So yeah, freeing a stuck crab is just about as intricate, daunting, nerve-wracking, and time consuming as brain surgery. I use cuticle nippers that have a sharp point and let’s just say, I learned my lesson the hard way.

Hermit crab stuck in painted shell

ugh


For one thing – why do they paint the inside of the shells? It CEMENTS their bodies and legs to the shell they’re forced into, and they are so traumatized in the ‘factory’ that i’m sure a good majority of them hide asap. To their detriment, obviously. Crabs are not pliable, they are hard crustaceans with not a lot of options once they get in such a predicament.

Hermit crab stuck in a painted shell

Cement


From first clip to last it was a full three hours. I took a one minute break, and went right back at it. I knew I was stressing him out, but I guess I’d rather do that all in one fell swoop, than to free him bit by bit and leave him almost free, which I thought about doing, but. I didn’t.

Hermit crab stuck in shell

Poor Little Pattie


He was by far my worst stuck crab. Tucker and Freedom were difficult. Tucker more so because he was in a REALLY thick shell, but he wasn’t nearly so bound. At first I thought it was his big pincher that was holding him captive. Well, it was, but in actuality, it was EVERY leg that was stuck. The two on his left were absolutely super glued to the shell, the two on his right were so cramped they were not visible. His little pincher was no where to be seen. It was squished under him and one of his left legs was over the top of the other one. completely unnatural. It’s like crossing your legs and having your body roped to your legs with your arms squished and crossed, somewhere in the middle.

Hermit crab stuck in painted shell

Paint


Probably about an hour in, maybe more.

1 hour into freeing him

1 hour into freeing him


This is about an hour and a half into it.

90 minutes into freeing him

90 minutes into freeing him


This I will never forget. I stabbed him. you can see his on his right leg. as soon as I did it, he kicked his leg out in pain, and all my apologies to him didn’t help. soon it went soft and limp. ugh. 🙁 I am always SO careful when I do this. I have to chip the shell away flake by flake by flake. once in a while I can get a ‘chunk’ and it will go zinging through the air and hit a wall. the chunk is the size of a pencil lead tip. anyway, about twenty minutes after I stabbed him, he kicked his leg out again and wouldn’t put it back down. I knew if he survived he would drop it, at least they have that benefit of dropping a leg if need be. it was soft and cold. guilt=piccalo.

Wound

Wound


It’s hard to tell, but this pic shows how much he was cemented. A few times I just set him down on the towel and hoped he would just die. but I started clipping away more and more and finally I could see his eyes. sort of. but he saw me and I couldn’t stop now.

Woe

Woe


painted shells should be outlawed. period.

Totally Stuck

Totally Stuck


so, after seeing his eyes, I knew the worst was to come. if I could stab his leg so easily, damaging his eyes would have been catastrophic. and it just so happened that the worst part of where he was stuck was precariously close to his eyes. so I used stress coat as lube and flake by flake by flake his legs started moving. I couldn’t take pics at this point because I was too close. I thought. he was SO bound, that once he started getting a little room to move, his leg lifted a little so it was over the surface of the shell. kinda like a rubber band tight on your finger. I was hoping he’d start to move himself out but he did not move whatsoever. I honestly didn’t think i’d get him out. 🙁

Almost Free

Almost Free


FINALLY finally finally 2.45 hours into it, I saw an eye, and only one eye because he still couldn’t move, but one last clip did it and he moved so I could see both eyes. and a pile of cottage cheesy scum on his back. I don’t know what it is, but I THINK it was a collection of shell flakes/stress coat/water. poor thing.

Scum

Scum


YAY

yay

yay


i put him in the shell box and off went his leg and he went to the side, I missed all of that, in the 2.2 seconds I turned away.

Hermit crab dropped leg

Hermit crab dropped leg


this is booger. with the paint blob booger on her stupid shell. most of her legs are broken, but she’s otherwise cute.

Paintblob

Paintblob


so in they go to the iso tank. I checked on them 10 minutes later and houston we have a shell change.

Out with the old

Out with the old


i saw his old shell sitting there and omg. lifted the cocohut and there he was. 🙂

OO

OO


her name is booger.

Booger

Booger


HOUSTON WE HAVE A SHELL CHANGE. he needs a name.

houston

houston


i hate to do it but I always take pics of them next to their stupid old shell.

hooray

hooray


and sadly, he *feelerfeeler*d it, smelling it. it has to be like a nightmare.

feeler feeler

feeler feeler


the million flakes from rinsing the nipperthingies. they were all over the kitchen and me.

craps

craps


too bad her shell sucks, because the color is great with her color.

Booger

Booger


see that blob of crap? tell me why painting a seashell is necessary.

Blob

Blob

 

He makes me sad

He makes me sad


October, 2004
Used with permission by piccalo