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Buried crab

Discussion in 'General questions about care.' started by Donna M, Dec 9, 2007.

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  1. Donna M

    Donna M "First Molt, A Success"

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    I'm a newbie and I have a medium-sized crab (named "Buddy"), that has been buried for over 3 months. I don't know how he stays alive because I never see him near the food dishes or even the water dishes. When he was the only crab I had, I kept track of the food, and it never moved or disappeared, so I know he's not eating food. Can he be eating mulch to stay alive?

    Sometimes it seems to me that his deep red color is changing, but other times not. Wouldn't his color change because he's not getting proper nutrition? After 3 months of being buried, can I assume he's not thinking about molting?

    The substrate is the "Cypress Mulch" that they sell in the pet store specifically for hermit crabs. Sometimes I mix in calcium sand or play sand.

    I know they say not to dig him up, but sometimes I have to in order to clean the tank, change the substrate, etc. I bought him a friend over a month ago, ("Shorty"), who's he's totally ignored. Then I had them on a towel in the sink and Buddy started chasing the new guy and started rocking his shell. Buddy was being pretty aggresive and now I'm afraid he's going to hurt Shorty, though they're about the same size.

    I could use some advice. Can a crab go 3 months without eating? It's really worrying me.

    Thanks!
    Donna M
     
  2. Chuck_Norris

    Chuck_Norris "Preparing For Second Molt"

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    I know that crabs can go a very long time without eating... somebody else on here can probably tell you just how long. Also, just because it looks as though they haven't disturbed their food, it doesn't mean that they haven't. Crabs eat so little that it's very hard to tell. If your crab is coming up and down, then I wouldn't guess that he'd still be destressing... but you never know, I guess. Some crabs just really like to stay buried. I have several that I hardly ever see. And about the bedding... I have to admit that I'm not familiar with mulch bedding, but is it like EE (Eco Earth, or forest bedding)? As long as they can dig comfortably, that's important, and I'm really not sure if the mulch provides "diggability"... and yes, I know I made up that word, but it was the only way I knew how to make my point. ;) One more thing... I've heard from many different sites/people that Calcisand is really no good, not to mention that it's hard for the crabs do dig through because it clumps too easily. Definitely go with playsand. Most people on here use only playsand, or a mix of EE and playsand, or go half and half. I personally am using all EE, but I plan to switch to all playsand once I do my next deep clean, and that choice was made after starting this site and really seeing all the benefits of using just playsand (if you do a search for substrate, you can make an informed decision). A lot of people get their playsand from Home Depot, and I've seen somebody else mention Toys-R-Us, but you have to make sure that it doesn't contain silica.

    But in short, about your main question, as long as you are providing good, healthy foods, then your crab will not intentionally starve himself. If the food is available to eat and he's hungry, he should eat it. One suggestion: if you happen to be feeding commercial foods, throw them out. Start feeding fresh foods. Honestly, I think the smell of fresh foods/vegetables/meats/etc. entices them to the food dish and they chow down. Not to mention it's cheaper (because you have to buy it for yourself anyway, so you're really not spending any extra money, unless you purchase something specifically for the crabs to eat), and it's healthier. You can search the forums for good/bad foods to feed.

    Hope this helps. :)
     
  3. Donna M

    Donna M "First Molt, A Success"

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    Thanks for the reply, Chuck. The substrate is called "Crab Island" by T-Rex, and the product itself is called "Cypress Bed". It says "Premium Substrate, Twice-Milled Cypress Mulch". There's no huge chunks of bark or anything, and the "diggability" (good word! :D ) seems superior. They have no problem moving this stuff because it's very light. It's not cheap though. ($3.00 for a 1 liter bag or 1 dry quart!).

    Daily I offer them both the commerical (powdered) food and fresh food. But I'm afraid to give them too much human food because from what I've been reading, everything has to be organic and non-processed. I don't
    eat organic. I don't know if I can even give the crabs a piece of lettuce or carrot from the "pre-bagged" salad that I buy at the grocery store. Or if I can give them defrosted veggies by Green Giant or Libby, for example. It's certainly not organic. And many things I eat have herbs or seasonings on them. Shorty eats fresh apple pieces, but I've offered banana and other things that he doesn't seem too crazy about. But even then, the fruit I'm offering is not organic! I just wash the fruit in water when I get it home, as I have done all my life.

    What to feed these crabbies is pretty confusing when you talk about feeding only "non-processed" foods.

    Being a newbie is not fun. I keep thinking this buried crab is going to die, and that would upset me. So if he's not molting, is it okay to gently dig him up once a week and let him run around for some exercise? Or is that a bad idea?

    I really appreciate your input. Thanks again!

    Donna M.
     
  4. msdiamonddawg

    msdiamonddawg "Third Molt In Progress"

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    In terms of food, feed them basically what you would eat for dinner ... minus the spices. You should steer clear of the commercial foods. You can feed them anything from shrimp, to chicken, to meat .. veggies, fruits. Here is a website for edible and non-edible foods. epicureanhermit.com - Food List

    The foods don't all have to be organic...more in terms of things like peanut butter, or honey - where you want to stay away from salts, sugars, etc. Print this off and keep it handy. Once you get going, it will become pretty easy.

    I would normally say NOOO...never unbury a buried crab. You don't know if he's molting or not, and can cause a lot of stress, not to mention injury to a crab that is buried...and maybe molting. BUT, are you saying he's been buried for 3 months and you haven't seen him at all in all that time? He's not moving? Can see him around or at the bottom of the tank?

    A good substrate, especially at that expense, is playsand. You can buy big 50lb bags for pretty cheap.
     
  5. alli'smommy

    alli'smommy "Preparing For Third Molt"

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    I would not dig him up. He could be preparing to molt, in which case digging him up will delay the molt, which is not healthy. Being a newbie is hard, but you'll catch on!! :D We all did!! I've been at this for 9 months and I still feel "new" at times!! Don't ever be afraid to ask questions!!!
     
  6. Donna M

    Donna M "First Molt, A Success"

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    Thanks for your replies. My first crab (Buddy) comes up maybe once per month. But at those times I haven't seen him near the food dishes at all. I can't imagine how on earth he can be surviving without food or water. I know, he may be sneaking those things at night when I don't see him. The other crab (Shorty) comes up quite often and is eating. The UTH kept the tank at about 75 degrees, but I recently put them in a larger tank (in case by some miracle they decide to move around. LOL!) and the UTH is no longer sufficient, so I'm adding more heat today to see if maybe they're just cold.

    This may be a silly question, but can you tell a crab's mood by its antennae? Sometimes their antennae are calm, sometimes they're straight up in the air, sometimes they're wildly waving around, etc. I would think their antennae would indicate their emotions. When Shorty is topside and I pick him up, I can't tell if he's happy to see me or upset! I let him walk around on my hands and arms and talk to him so he'll learn to trust that I'm not going to hurt him. I believe it's helping, but the trust isn't fully there yet. One false move and slam! back into the shell he goes! But I understand that this is normal and I'm learning to be patient about it.

    Thanks again for your help! It is appreciated.

    Donna M
     
  7. alli'smommy

    alli'smommy "Preparing For Third Molt"

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    I have also wondered what the antenna activity means?? Any help guys???
     
  8. krackersmom2

    krackersmom2 (Large Crab)

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    Since they use their antennae to smell and feel, I would think that increased activity means they are exploring something new or dececting something familiar....of course, that's just a guess. They communicate with each other by having feeler fights...when my crabs explore a new shell, their feelers go crazy! I always like to believe that my sociable crabs are happy to see me:D! I have a couple of extremely affectionate, outgoing crabs...can they be affectionate? ;) One of my little guys Baby, loves to climb all the way up my arm to my shoulder. Then I have Spooky...cowers back in his shell if he detects your eye movement!:eek: When he gets ready to come out...here come the feelers first. Checks it out..then he makes his move!
    So, to answer your question, I believe their antennae activity has to do with curiosity and security.
     
  9. Donna M

    Donna M "First Molt, A Success"

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    Do the antennae indicate mood?

    I changed the title of this thread so we may get more responses. Don't know if it will change when I post this reply, though.

    When I clean the tank, I put my two crabs together on a towel in a sink so they can't escape anywhere. Last week, Buddy decided to start showing aggressive behavior towards Shorty. I thought it was just a feeler fight at first, but then Buddy started rocking Shorty's shell. So I guess he wants his shell? He's done it more than once. I've read how bad it can get, so I watch them carefully. They have 3 or 4 other shells to choose from, but apparently that's not good enough.

    Anyway, when Buddy is acting aggresive, I noticed two of his antennae were straight up......straight as an arrow. The other two were just flicking around as usual. So I guess I can interpret that antennae position as an indicator of aggression.

    If anyone has more information, I would be very interested to hear it. For instance, if the antennae are moving slowly, is the crab calm? If the antennae are waving around wildly, is the crab nervous or scared? Just wondering.

    Thanks,
    Donna M.
     
  10. crazy4crabs

    crazy4crabs "Second Molt In Progress"

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    hmm thats a good question. i have noticed that my more aggressive crabs do move their feelers faster. it may or may not have anything to do with it but its still interesting.
     
  11. Donna M

    Donna M "First Molt, A Success"

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    Well, Buddy is still buried. It's been maybe 4 or 5 months now? I guess he's just not a friendly crabbie. He comes up maybe once a month but I never see him near a food or water dish. I don't understand how he can be surviving. If I happen to catch him on the surface and walking around and I pick him up, his antennae just go wild and he starts walking really fast like he wants to get away from me. Somehow I get the feeling that his antennae are not waving wildly because he's so happy to see me! :p

    I was hoping if I kept handling him (as few as those opportunities are), that he would get used to me and realize I mean him no harm.

    The friend that I bought him (Shorty) is almost as bad. But I do see him near the food dish, but he hardly eats anything. I've offered tuna, chicken, fresh fruit, etc. but all I've ever seen him eat is apple. In the mornings the food is so dried up and they've kicked so much substrate in the dishes I can't tell what Shorty has eaten, but it's sure not much.

    I've never read anything about serving sizes for hermit crabs. I mean, do they like a chunk of food that they can take little chunks out of, or should I mince everything microscopically small? (Is microscopically even a word?? :rolleyes:).

    I appreciate your input!

    Donna M.
     
  12. Yadokari

    Yadokari (Small Crab)

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    Crabs aren't picky with their food's size. Big or small, they'll still eat it. However, they often pick up "chunky" foods and drag it somewhere away from the food dish. My crabs do this a lot when I throw in a small piece of apple into their food dish. I leave for 5 minutes and when I come back, it's gone. They often drag it to their favorite hiding/resting spot. The hermie hut in my case.
    Then of course, if you feed them grinded up foods, then crabs don't really bother dragging it anyway. The whole food size thing is up to you really.

    As for antennae movement, I don't think it really tells their mood. You can tell what they're trying to do with it though. When it's moving rapidly while climbing or walking around, it's most likely exploring surroundings. It doesn't really mean it's "moody/mad/angry" or whatever. When they're still, they're most likely at peace, since they don't need to wave it around to detect danger. In any case, the antennae is used for detection, rather than mood. I find it amusing to watch crabs flicker their antennae at each other whenever they meet. Sometimes I think they're going to fight and rip each other up, but it never ends up that way (Thank God!).
     
  13. krackersmom2

    krackersmom2 (Large Crab)

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    I've never had any of my crabs drag away a piece of food. I do enjoy sitting and watching them take itsy bitsy bites of food.
     
  14. Chuck_Norris

    Chuck_Norris "Preparing For Second Molt"

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    Mine drag food all over the crabitat. I have to spot clean about twice a day because it tends to mold so quickly once it has been drug from the food bowl. It's cute at first, but it gets super annoying pretty quickly.
     
  15. krackersmom2

    krackersmom2 (Large Crab)

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    My son and I were doing some maintainence on our tank today and he found one of the crabbies in a pocket under a dish with a piece of egg shell.
     
  16. List Of Demands

    List Of Demands "First Molt In Progress"

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    my crabs only drag around certain foods. They hide black olives, or well one of mine will just hold a piece with her and the others try to take it but she refused to let anyone have any of it. and my rug goes crazy over coconut, he grabs a piece and runs off to hide with it!
     
  17. Donna M

    Donna M "First Molt, A Success"

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    Thank you for your replies!

    I posted a new question under a separate heading about dishes in their tank.

    Happy New Year!
    Donna M
     
  18. Chris30507

    Chris30507 "Never Molted"

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    speaking of buried crabs...
    several folks had said my substraite should be deeper, so I aded another inch orso. I suppose it2 1/2 inches or so deep now..?? Little crabbies are fairly small.
    Sinceadding the additional... gee I had one of my little guys REALLY bury himself in the bottom. Looks like he went all the way to the bottom... heck the top even collapsed in on him.
    I suppose when he wants out,.. he can get out.
     
  19. Briard

    Briard (Micro Crab)

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    Yup, but if the sand is collapsing it might need a bit more moisture. Most people here recommend "sand castle consistency" so that your crabs can tunnel and bury safely.
     
  20. krackersmom2

    krackersmom2 (Large Crab)

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    It's been my experience that if they can dig in, they can dig out too. Remember, they have gills to breathe.
     
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