Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Do you remember when the hermit crab craze was so prevalent a few years ago? They were everywhere, including kiosks in the shopping malls. Well, that was about the time that I gave in to my two daughter’s constant requests for the, oh so, cute crustaceans.
It all began innocently enough. We bought a little starter set with the cage, the sponge, the food and the little plastic palm tree. We started out with two crabs, presumably so they could keep each other company. One of the hermit crabs died almost immediately. We got a replacement, but he also didn’t last too long. Soon after that, the original one died too.
What was I thinking when my youngest daughter said that she wanted another hermit crab? I must have been thinking a lukewarm “yes,” because I went with her to a pet supply store and picked out a replacement. It was a nice conversation piece for a while. We changed its water, the sandy beach platform and even got a bigger cage. I would take it out for walks on the kitchen counter and let it crawl over my hands. Once, I was successful in getting my daughter to let it crawl on her hand. That turned out to be a mistake. She flinched at the touch of the crab legs and the little guy pinched her skin tightly so he wouldn’t fall. I had to rinse her hand with cold water in the sink to get the crab to release its grip. That was the last time that my little girl did anything with her (my) hermit crab.
Since then, the crab has molted about seven times, growing a little bigger each time. He has even escaped a few times in the middle of the night, and I’ve been convinced that we’d never find him again. Each time, I found him in the far corner of our family room behind our sofa. How he survived the drop from our kitchen counter onto the tile floor, and then evade our boxer dog is still a mystery to me.
And now, I learn that these hermit crabs have a lifespan of up to 23 years. I don’t even know if I’m going to live that long; and I know that my daughter is never going to take care of it in my absence. What’s a Dad to do? I can’t make crab cakes out of it, because it’s just too darn small. I’m afraid to get another one as a companion, because that might extend my watch for another - who knows how many more years.
I guess if I want any crab cakes for dinner, I’m going to have to go to the restaurant like everyone else. I’m not a big fan of them anyway, so maybe I should just keep watching the seafood in my aquarium, and praying that they increase in portion size.