Let’s hear it for the hermit crab. The bargain hunters of the ocean. They don’t aspire to Kevin McCloud and go building there own ‘Grand Designs’. Hermit Crabs are thrifty and make use of those designs that other molluscs have left behind.
Common hermit crab
Hermit crabs are my ultimate favourite. They’ve an eye for a perfect spiral and as they grow they move from first one then another second hand geometric home. Using shells of dogwhelks or periwinkles, whatever fits their soft body, they slide themselves in and two short back legs clamp themselves in place.
The oversize right claw seems to cover the shell opening almost hiding them from view.
You have to be patient to see a hermit crab. They are jedi masters of hide and seek. One quick glance in a rock pool and they very probably look like all the other whelks and periwinkles there. But remain still and quiet (they scare easily) and you may see a bubble pop out from under a shell and rise the the surface. Or one very slowly moving over the bottom of pool (this could be any mollusc though)
One quick peep inside the opening and if it looks all slimy and snail like, you have to go back to hunting but if it looks something like this …..
That’s yer man, perfectly concealed inside his geometric home.
Hermit crabs share my love of shells, to find out more about how/why shells get made and a whole beautiful journey through the history and value of shells read Helen Scales ‘Spirals in Time- the curious life and afterlife of shells ‘ So wonderfully written with an engaging style even the most apparently boring of molluscs takes on a new life under her tutoring. And! (dare i say it) she has offered to write an exclusive piece for The Smart Happy Project magazine! Her piece will appear in the Autumn edition to be released in August 2016 – I’m sooo excited I cant contain myself!
anyway – back to my hermit crab heroes.
I’ve only spotted Three in ten years, that’s how good they are at hide and seek.
Have a go , maybe you can seek one too.