Two days ago, I walked into my Grandmother’s kitchen to sample her latest batch of cookies, checking them, as I always do, for poison. I avail her of this free service twice weekly and I know from the way she watches me devour my heaping plate of baked goods that she’s relieved and grateful.
As I walked across her kitchen floor Monday afternoon, bowl of carbs in hand, something scuttling across the tiles caught my eye. Crouching down, I observed a small shell with tiny orange legs sticking out. Lo and behold, it was a hermit crab! I have no clue how he got indoors or what he was doing in the kitchen, but I was thrilled. I probably only see a hermit crab in Grenada once yearly, after a very heavy rainstorm, so this was a rare treat.
He was doing a lot of scuttling but not covering much ground, as the kitchen tiles are quite slick . I scooped him up and decided to keep him around for a few days. He was grateful I saved him from being trodden on so we became fast friends and came to an amicable arrangement. I would provide him with temporary lodgings, a new shell, and plenty of fresh food. In return, he’d do his hermit crab thing and let me sketch him. It was a win-win situation, so he readily agreed.
His new name is Neptune. His shell was much too small for his body, so I picked up two larger shells for him to consider and deposited them in his tank. I was intending to make him fabulous by gluing crystals all over them but he couldn’t wait. Under the cover of darkness, Neptune switched shells immediately, opting for the biggest shell out of the bunch. This morning I found his discarded micro shell tossed to the side like so much trash. He was booking it around his new abode, happy now that he can pull his long legs fully into his new shell when scared.
A side note: My cat just puked up a puddle of yellow bile and fur onto my clean floor. Nice. Hermit crabs are looking better and better in comparison.
Hermit crabs look like a cross between a cockroach (which I find disgusting) and a shrimp, which I am less bothered by, which makes no sense. I feel affectionate towards Neptune and am amused by his antics, but also feel guilty because there are moments when his twitching legs creep me out.
He loves: climbing up crystals (I am moving my quartz collection into his tank), bigger shells, sitting on top of fresh lettuce, digging himself a hole in the damp sand and eating rice.
So far, so good!