Hermit Crab Survives Earthquake

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An egocentric popularity-hound such as I would never pass up a chance to get a bookmark in your browser. I got so many comments on my Facebook page about the Hermit Crab a few days ago that I’m going to repeat the ploy – this time with another poor, unsuspecting Dardanus.

Last Saturday at Barracuda Point  near Pig Island  I was fooling around under the boat using up the rest of my air and looking for something, anything to shoot. I noticed a Trochus shell sitting on top of a plate coral. This is a dead giveaway for the presence of a Hermit Crab. There’s no other way that the shell is going to get there.

I went over to have a look and saw that there was, indeed, a hairy little occupant. I tipped its house over as gently as I could, though I don’t imagine that it felt very gentle to the householder. Here is the shell, appearing empty:

An empty Trochus shell?No, wait! Somebody’ home:No, somebody is in there. A Dardanus Hermit Crab emerging from a Trochus shell.Having observed this many times, I’m intrigued that Hermit Crabs don’t seem to be able to get their eyes out for a look-about before exposing their thorny, but undoubtedly tasty legs first. It’s like sticking your hands around the corner and waving them to see if your burglar has a gun.

Anyway, out comes Mr. Crab looking a mite grumpy:

Hey, who turned my house over? A Dardanus Hermit Crab emerging from a Trochus shell.

While its feet still dangle above the coral it seems to rest a moment to evaluate the situation. Is it possible that it’s waiting to see if there will be an aftershock?

Sooner or later, the job of re-erecting the house must be done. This requires reaching way out of the front door, grabbing the coral and giving a mighty heave:

You JERK! Now I have to fix this mess. A Dardanus Hermit Crab emerging from a Trochus shell.One wants to get this over as quickly as possible as the soft, ticklish and predator attracting end of the critter is highly exposed.

Now, go away and leave me alone. A Dardanus Hermit Crab emerging from a Trochus shell.

Finally, with an audible ‘plop’ the house returns to its vertical position. A little grooming is in order now. Clean up the bits knocked off of the top of the house onto the coral. Be sure to check if anything tasty fell off of the roof.

I’ve never met a hermit crab that I didn’t like. I wish that I could say as much about people.

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6 Responses to “Hermit Crab Survives Earthquake”

  1. Wencke Says:


  2. MadDog Says:

    Yeah, really creepy ones.

  3. Kevin Says:

    When I was teaching in the gulf in the 1960s the village kids would whistle a Hermit out of its shell. The crab could not resist the whistle and would always completely emerge from the shell.

  4. MadDog Says:

    Kevin, you always have interesting stories. That one is a beaut! Why in the world would crabs respond in that way to a whistling sound? It’s amazing, but given the general whimsy of nature, perfectly understandable.

    Thanks for that, mate.

  5. Charly Lance Says:

    Have anyone noticed that earthquake is a bit frequent these days? Does climate change have any thing to do with earthquake?

  6. MadDog Says:

    Charley, from what I’ve read it appears that warming can cause earthquakes under certain conditions. Mostly is it where ice is melting. The loss of the ice mass changes the dynamics of forces at work in the crust beneath. This can trigger earthquakes. There have also been a few quakes associated with the draining of large bodies of water.