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Classroom Hermies

Discussion in 'The Welcome Rock' started by Moi, Mar 24, 2008.

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  1. Moi

    Moi Hi, I'm New Here!

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    Hi,
    We're home for spring break and finally have some time to join an online crabitat. A little about our crabby family and then some questions...

    I teach first grade and started a classroom crabitat project after Christmas break. Of the 4 hermies purchased from a mall Kiosk in December we only have one remaining. After much research, the children have decided that "Big Bubba" survived because he was smart enough to swap out of his painted shell. The 3 hermies "lost" all had painted shells.

    We added 4 natural shelled hermies from the local Petsmart and all of them are happily sleeping, climbing, clicking and/or tunneling... (I hope!) Big Bubba and Reggie have not been seen in over three weeks!! We know that we're not supposed to "dig up" molting crabs - but how can we be sure they are molting and not "stuck" in a tunnel?? Is there a safe way to "excavate" through the substrate to find our friends?

    Allemands Elementary
    1st Grade Crabitat
     
  2. Hermie's rule

    Hermie's rule "Second Molt In Progress"

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    No. Don't do any such thing. You could interupt a molt and kill them. They'll come up when ready.
     
  3. HERMEZ

    HERMEZ Moderator

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    You really need to read up on all the "facts" before setting up the tank. They need alot of things- crabs can have caves collapse - unless molting its not an issue- by having the "right" substrate they should be fine. Crabs will destress and not necessarily molt until they settle. Please read the care sheets- Thanks :)
     
  4. Moi

    Moi Hi, I'm New Here!

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    Oh we have read ALL the care sheets we could find along with several books, etc. We tried to make choices based on a majority rules philosophy since many websites, care sheets and books have different opinions. Choosing the calci-sand was a lesson we learned NOT to do again.

    Our tank - soon to be upgraded to a 20+gal - has everything a hermie could desire. We have soooo many accessories that we need to move into a bigger house, not to mention that the hermie addiction has struck and we want to add new friends. Our "keeper" and smaller tank will be used for isolation and/or transport when needed.
     
  5. WizKidsMom

    WizKidsMom "Preparing For Third Molt"

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    You have to teach patience. They will come up when they are ready. You can't peek at them. De-stressing after you get them is essential. You can tell the kids that they are getting use to the new home, just like they had to get use to first grade.
    Just keep on providing fresh food, plain de-chlorinated water and salt water. After a while you will see evidence that they have been up at night - mounds of substrate, holes, shells messed up and food trampled on.
     
  6. alli'smommy

    alli'smommy "Preparing For Third Molt"

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    I think having a "classroom pet" is great! I wish my daughter's class had one. But I'm not sure if hermies are gonna interest the kids, since they are nocturnal. My daughter is in first grade and lost interest within a few weeks!!! She never got to really see them often and got bored!! But you know your class better than I!!! I wish you lots of luck and enjoyment!
     
  7. vckums

    vckums Moderator

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    I made up a basic checklist for my forum.

    SUPPLIES

    •Glass aquarium or terrarium. We recommend nothing smaller then a 10 gallon. Also known as a crabitat.
    •A glass or plexi-glass lid for the aquarium. You may use a mesh lid and cover it with saran wrap. Please be advised this isn’t the best solution.
    •A humidity gauge to assure the crabitat stays at the recommended 74 - 82% relative humidity
    •A temperature gauge. The crabitat needs to be between 72 - 84 degrees farenheit temperature
    •UTH(under tank heater) for your correct tank size. You may also use a combo light. You will need a day-glo and a night-glo incandescent bulb. The wattage will vary depending on your tank size.
    •Substrate that is acceptable, such as play sand that is deemed safe for children, beach sand, compressed coconut fiber (Eco Earth and Forrest Bedding) or fine crushed coral.
    •Extra shells are needed. Approximately 4 shells per crab in a varying range of sizes and types.
    •Fresh foods are a MUST. Offer them daily fresh meat, eggs, fruit, veggies and nuts. We offer a safe food list on our site, please check it out.
    •Dechlorinated water & bowl(not metal). Get a water conditioner at most pet stores in the aquarium supply area. Make sure it does NOT contain a slime coat. Tap water will harm your crabs.
    •Saltwater and bowl(not metal). Also found in the aquarium section of a pet store. Do NOT use table salt as it is harmful to hermit crabs. You need the salt water bowl to be deep enough to FULLY cover your largest crab. Some brands are Oceanic and Instant Ocean salt water. The salt water also need to be dechlorinated.
    •Hiding coves and huts. You can make your own out of Tupperware or buy store bought items such as half logs, caves and coconut huts.
    •Climbing accessories such as choya/cholla wood, cork bark, grapevine, driftwood and coral. You can use fake plastic plants and vines, hemp nets, turtle docks are also great.
     
  8. Moi

    Moi Hi, I'm New Here!

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    Thank you for the replies!

    The tank is the 1st thing they check out when entering the room. They LOVE telling anyone/everyone about the nuances of land hermit crabs, exoskeletons, molting and have even been seen acting out antennae wars from under their coats while waiting in the bus line. I provided the books but THEY did all the research. I think because of this, they have taken ownership in their own knowledge and have just blossomed with the whole project.

    I got my first hermie in 1982 (way before care sheets and the wonderful info available now), used them in my first classroom in 1990 and just returned to elementary school and my hermie addiction this year. That being said, I just got a 30gal long set-up but I think I'll keep this one at home through summer break. I'd hate to have hidden hermies when its time for summer vacation. My school won't be readily available and moving a 30gal FULL tank would NOT be pleasant for human nor hermie!

    Can't wait to train a new generation of hermie adopters next school year as well!
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2008
  9. WizKidsMom

    WizKidsMom "Preparing For Third Molt"

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    You will be known as the crabby teacher.;)

    In August, I was deciding on a classroom pet and brought home a few hermit crabs to 'know' them. I decided that the nocturnal habits might bore my fourth graders. I got a turtle (by adoption) and I am now known as the turtle teacher. Students who have never been in my room come to make sure that rumor is true. :D
     
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