Painted shells are toxic, unnecessary, and destroy a much needed natural resource. Please speak out about this to your local pet shops who continue to order hermit crabs in painted shells just so they can charge more for them.
Hermit crabs are forced out of their natural shell. One method can be seen in the video below, the crabs are placed in a vice and their natural shell is destroyed. Other methods include heating the shell so the crab abandons it, drilling a hole and poking the crab with a wire until it abandons the shell.
Hermit crabs are often forced into the shells while the paint is still wet. The paint could trap the crab when it dries.
Hermit crabs will not voluntarily pick painted shells. In all instances, some form abuse is used to get the crab into the painted shells. Painted shells exist solely to attract small children who will cry and moan until their parent gives in and buys the Spongebob shell. Hermit crabs are not good pets for small children but that is exactly who they are marketed to. If your child wants a cute shell, buy an empty one.
Hermit crabs pick at their shell to modify to fit better. They may ingest paint directly from the shell or as it flakes off into their food or water.
Gluing googly eyes and other junk to the shell throws off the balance of the shell making it difficult for the crab to walk or climb.
You can donate your painted shells to us for display at the St Louis Amazing Pet Expo (held each year). Use this form to get the mailing address and to let us know the shells are on their way.
How they are painted overseas:
Due to a lack of shells, some hermit crabs are forced to live in trash. Just one more reason we should all Say NO to Painted Shells.