Two Hermit Crabs Showed Me the Keys to Living Well.

Photo by Thomas Lipke on Unsplash

My mother and I lived in an apartment most of my childhood, so we never had pets. Honestly, I don’t even remember asking for one, but I enjoyed other people’s pets when the opportunity presented itself. It wasn’t until later after we moved into a house that I did get a pet, two actually. They were hermit crabs.

Mom took a trip to Myrtle Beach on Memorial Day weekend, and when she returned, she gifted me with two hermit crabs in a tiny little enclosure and a complete set of instruction on how to care for them. One was a reddish color with a brown and white swirled shell, and the other was bluish in color, with a shell that looked like it came right from the ocean floor.

I thought they were adorable.

I named them Dewey and Louie, after Scrooge McDuck’s nephews from the cartoon Duck Tales; minus Hewey, of course, because I only had two crabs. Dewey was the red crab and Louie was the bluish one.

Caring for them was easy. You give them their hermit crab food (I couldn’t tell you what’s in it). You make sure they have plenty of water by keeping a sponge wet and you make sure you clean their enclosure and put down fresh aquarium pebbles. At the time, seeing that I was in eighth grade, I didn’t give very much thought to hermit crab poop or its odor, but I soon learned that it stinks like everyone else’s poop.

Ok. They weren’t dogs, so interaction was minimal, but I would take them out and they would crawl up my arm. There little crab legs would tickle, as they walked across my skin, and I thought it was great.

When they would go to sleep, they would pull themselves into their shells. But here is the most remarkable thing. if I put them in separate corners of their enclosure, as nighttime came, and it was time to sleep, they would migrate towards one corner, snuggle close together shell-to-shell, pull themselves inside and go to sleep.

In July, after Independence Day, my mom, Dewey and Louie hit the road headed to a family reunion, like mom and I did every year. Our reunions are a weekend event, so we travelled to Virginia and checked into the hotel, where all the festivities would take place. After we had brought our luggage into the hotel room, we noticed that the room door was a little…

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