Wednesday, November 12, 2008

2008: A Crab Odyssey

Mankind has long had a tradition of wandering alone into the wilderness tripping out on hunger, pain and/or fistfuls of various psychotropic substances seeking answers from the other side about the big questions in life: why are we here? Where did we come from? What is my purpose on earth? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?

Apparently, hermit crabs go on vision quests, too.

I have five hermit crabs: Atticus Pinch, Bret, Jemaine, Cookie Monster and Ivan. In spite of the fact that they are identified as the 'hermit' variety of crustacean, they are actually quite communal and love to sleep in a cuddle puddle in the back of their aquarium under the plant, which is where the heater is. Hermit crabs are also boring as hell, by the way. When I went to the pet store to buy them I purposely got the ones that were the biggest bastards because I wanted only apex predators. But since I got them home all they do is dig holes and sleep in them except for the five minutes a day when they wander over to the water dish and put their feelers on it, then they go to the food dish and get some Crab Chum with their little pinchy claw, then they go back to sleep. I've tried toys and baths and humidifiers and everything with these buttheads to make them more entertaining, but so far no luck.

I couldn't get them to keep still for this picture, as you can plainly see.

A few weeks ago I was cleaning their aquarium and giving them new, fresh sand and scrubbing the tiny crab turds off of the bottom of the tank (on a sidenote, where are crab's buttholes? I mean, I figure they must be inside their shells where the rest of their ass is, but if it is, how do the poops come out of there? Is there like, a shell sphincter that I don't know about?) and after everything was all nice and clean I put them all back and, like the farteaters they are, they crawled behind the plant and went to sleep.

But the next day I noticed that Jemaine was not in the pile with everyone else, but way off in the opposite corner under the little pile of driftwood. To get a better idea of the geography of the aquarium, I have included this diagram:

The crabs primarily reside in quadrant A, which is commonly referred to as 'Under The Tree'. Quadrant B is where the crabs spend the rest of their time at the water and food dishes, and it is called 'The Sponge'. Quadrant C has their salt water dish and most of their empty shells and is known as 'The Shell Graveyard' and D is 'The Sticks'. No crabs ever go there, man. I guess it's the crab-quivalent of going out my front door and deciding to walk to Mongolia. So when Jemaine was found in The Sticks, I wondered what was up.

Jemaine was at The Sticks for a week. Every so often another crab would go over and cuddle with him for a little bit, but for the most part they left him alone. I was concerned that he might be sick or maybe he had a fight with Ivan, but after a week he was back Under The Tree.

That was certainly odd, but what was even weirder was that the next day Cookie Monster was hiding over in the Shell Graveyard. Four days later he went back, and shortly thereafter Atticus Pinch managed to completely bury himself in the corner near the water dish. He's been there for three days.

Seriously, there's a crab in there somewhere.

I have documented this whole affair with my camera, and, after much whining and pouting on my part Bret finally told me that crabs must complete a ritual when they hit puberty where they smoke some crab peyote buttons and wander off by themselves to commune with the astral plane. I thought he was full of shit and threatened to use the flash on my camera some more, but he said he could prove it and gave me the diaries of Jemaine, Cookie Monster, Atticus Pinch, and Ivan while they were tripping balls. (Apparently Ivan was the lucky one and got to stay in the fourth corner Under The Tree.) Bret, being the youngest crab, isn't old enough to go on his vision quest yet.

So for the next few weeks I will be sharing with you my crabs' revelations about life, the universe and everything. It'll blow your mind, man.

EDIT: Thanks to all the readers who informed me that peyote is not smoked but is, in fact, ingested. Shine on, you crazy diamonds!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hermit crabs are as exciting as watching a pile of rocks. It's worse when you're carrying the dead ones toward the trash can, and they fall out of the shell and land in a creepy hump on the floor. Mine never lived long enough to go on any spiritual journeys. I was always horrified that maybe I was killing them.