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losing limbs :( - Update w/ pics and good news

Discussion in 'Emergency Care - 911.' started by CrabbyMama, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. CrabbyMama

    CrabbyMama Hi, I'm New Here!

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    our big guy has lost three limbs in the last two days :(  

    Recent background:  I did a big clean/rearrange a week or two ago.  Thought it would be better b/c I used a container to better separate the sand from the coco fiber, and had two deeper areas for water, both declor. and salt water.  He heading straight for the water and enjoyed a nice soak, a looooong drink of salt and seemed happy.  I subbed his coco nut house for a larger heavy duty cardboard pyramid  from a shipping box b/c it was bigger.  Deeper substrate too, which he promptly dug down into.  He didn't seem quite as active after the first day or two, but if I've learned anything from hermie articles it's that you leave them alone if there's a question.

    Then the limbs. :(  I put them back in his cage with some fresh food (spinach leaf bits and natural peanut butter on a cracker bits and a shrimp tail).  He clearly has munched up the old limbs and the shrimp.  I'm concerned that the coconut fiber was expanded in untreated water and that might be the origin of his problems.  I *can* replace it all with more this time expanded in dechlorined water, but I also don't want to stress him even more.  If there was chlorine present, I would have thought it would have long evaporated by now.  I may have already done too much harm at this point.  I did pick him up enough to notice that the ends of each limb look pointy instead of rounded.

    The humidity is hard to keep down really, it's almost always in the 90's or above and often condenses on the sides.  In the old setup it was b/c he emptied his water dish daily onto the substrate.  I do watch carefully for mold, and leave the lid open a lot to bring down the humidity a bit.  Temp is low 70's with two tank heaters (under and on the back).

    More background:  No offense but we weren't looking to be crab owners.  The Grandparents thought my animal loving daughter would love two hermit crabs.  They supplied us with two hermies (haven't figured out the species yet) a large one and a small one, and the tiny little open on the sides plastic container with the palm tree from petco.  It didn't take much reading before I realized there was no way to keep the humidity and temp right in that.  $90 later, with a new tank, heater, substrate, etc I figured we'd may as well do it right.  But the little guy lost a limb.  I moved him back to the smaller container with some modifications (wet cloths along the back to keep up humidity, etc) and the big guy has been in the big tanks just fine until the above mentioned situation.

    If he makes it I think we need to replace the calci-sand with regular play sand.  My problem is that we're 120 miles (each way) from the city, and I don't think there's anyplace in my little Montana town that will have play sand in stock in the middle of winter.  It makes fast fixes a lot more difficult.


    UPDATE AND PICTURES IN POST #6
     
  2. scoobdoo

    scoobdoo "PM Jason For Custom Title"

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    Re: losing limbs :(

    take the cardboard thing out first thing please, he might be eating it and making him sick. you only want to use things like fish tank approved or crab and those can be sketchy approved items in their tank, or plastic only like the shower caddy things, pencils type holder/ baskets or gladware. you can use gladware cut a hole in it for a door and turn it up side down for a hut, or even a large glass jar. when you first get a crab the less you do with a crab the better, some crabs stress more than others. He prob need to left in a room in a quiet place with high energy foods for a month, with just someone changing foods and water and hands off the rest of the time..
    you need to get a heavier bowl for his water use a reg food bowl of yours or go buy some glass ash trays they are heavy he can't  tip those, I have big crabs and they can't flip mine! you can take out as much of the e.e. as you can with out getting close to him and stick it in a bucket and add some salt water mx it up and take handsful out and squeeze as much of the water out as you can? I have mixed mine up before using reg tap water my crabs lived, I wasn't thinking.. then let it sit out over night to dry out? you might just need to open you lid a little more if your humidity is so high that also can be a factor, that is hard on a crab to. UTH? what do you mean under and on the back? not under your tank as in on the bottom like looking up through the bottom? if so that is another problem, it should be mounted on the back side to one side of your tank. yes you need to replace the  calci sand, it is very bad..it will cake on thier limbs, it's good as a snack in a dish.. you can go on line to places and have eco earth sent to you, may cost more but it's lighter. to me it sounds like your crab is going through some stress issues. I didn't want to be a crab owner either, but my son took off and left his original crab here in a 5 gal tank everything wrong, 5 yrs later I have 55 gal tank I have 5 crabs I have lost a few to stress to
     
  3. mom_of_3

    mom_of_3 (Micro Crab)

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    Re: losing limbs :(

    I know what you mean about living in the middle of nowhere as I do as well. I called my local hardware store before going to it and found out that they did have the play sand in stock so I went and got 3 50lb bags for less than $13. Also if you have one of the UTH's on the bottom of your tank you need to remove it and place it on the side. It can cook your little crabbies in the sand. Also the hermit crab sand actually bad for them. It is fine as a calcium supplement but not as a substrate as when it gets wet it will cake up on your crabs and can harden and your crabs won't be able to dig in or out of it. Also give your guy some organic or natural honey or mashed up banana. These may help.  As for the sub try ringing it out or placing it in the microwave and drying it out a little that way.
     
  4. vckums

    vckums Moderator

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    Re: losing limbs :(

    What size is the tank?
     
  5. timebandit

    timebandit (Large Crab)

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    Re: losing limbs :(

    I was another one that never intended on getting any but my stepson brought one home that his mother had bought for him(he lived with his father and I)Now almost 5yrs later and a couple of thousand dollars later I have my 65gal exo and my stepson no longer lives with us. I wouldnt let him take them because he would have never taken care of them. I also have lost a couple due to stress.But still have my original 5.
     
  6. CrabbyMama

    CrabbyMama Hi, I'm New Here!

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    Re: losing limbs :(

    Thanks so much for the feedback!

    The tank is an 8 gallon plexiglass (I'm guessing?) tank with rounded corners.  I'm not *supposed* to use the sticky heater, but it doesn't get it all that warm really.  The heating pad under the tank was originally under only one half, so the crabs could move away if they wanted and they were usually found on the heated side.  No surprise as I can't seem to get it higher then 72 degrees.

    Both crabs were very active when they came home early January.  The little guy lost his limb so I put him in iso and he stayed very quiet (and we left him completely alone) and has just recently started moving about in the daylight every once in a while.  The big guy in question has been quite active until just a few days ago, just after the tank alterations.

    He didn't ever tip over the water, the dish was pretty heavy and it was never overturned or out of place.  But he would get in it to soak?  And I assume carry the water out in his shell.  He made a pretty good mess of the tank really.

    I'll put his coco hut back in lieu of the cardboard hut.  I switch b/c the door to the coco was too little for him and it was a 20 minutes ordeal to maneuver in and out.  Plus it looked as if he had eaten (or pinched?) off the side of the doorway.  I caught him peeking out from under the hut yesterday, and continue to leave  high protein goodies right next to him. 
     
  7. CrabbyMama

    CrabbyMama Hi, I'm New Here!

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    Re: losing limbs :(

    Is it possible that he went through a very quick molt and the ends of the limbs are all I found b/c he'd already eaten the rest of his exo?  He had been quiet, in the hut and I was still following the "leave them alone" philosophy.  Since this original post I have been leaving him alone, new protein rich food each night. I know he's been up and around b/c of the sand tracks and he's been eating well.  I've only recently gotten a great look at him in the daylight and notice that his color was a LOT different.  I was never sure if he was a PP b/c his pincher and other legs were all very red.  But now his limbs are a greyish/brownish/purplish hue with only some red near the ends and his pincher is quite purple.  Plus there is a LOT of "hair" (setae?) on the back side of his limbs I'm sure he didn't have before.  His eye stalks seem much paler too, almost white and the tips of his legs are very pointy.  Like I said he seems to be eating very well, he's been quite active at night for nearly a week and I plan on leaving him be (except I really want to get some real sand into the crabitat sometime very soon) during the day until he's back to his active/outgoing self.

    I'm also thinking it's time to put the little guy back into the main crabitat.  The humidity is better, the substrate is deeper (although still only coconut fiber and separated calci sand that's not near the water) and it has both declor and salt water instead of having to alternate.  Now that I'm pretty certain his stress probably wasn't from being tormented by the big crabbie, I'm feeling a bit more comfortable.

    I did a super quick surface clean and put him in the "cabana" while I was working.  I managed to snap a few quick pics

    [img=400x300]http://i115.photobucket.com/albums/n319/WhitehouseLV/Hermits/IMG_1664.jpg[/img]

    [img=400x300]http://i115.photobucket.com/albums/n319/WhitehouseLV/Hermits/IMG_1665.jpg[/img]

    [img=400x300]http://i115.photobucket.com/albums/n319/WhitehouseLV/Hermits/IMG_1666.jpg[/img]
     
  8. timebandit

    timebandit (Large Crab)

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    If he has been up for a couple of days and he looks fine I would put him back in the main tank. Sounds like he had a successful molt and ready to go home. After you put him in the main tank keep an eye on him.The others will be curious so if they go up to him it is perfectly fine as long as they don't get violent with him.
     
  9. CrabbyMama

    CrabbyMama Hi, I'm New Here!

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    sorry my posts have probably been kind of hard to follow.  The big guy was always in the main tank.  I pulled the little guy out quite a while ago thinking he lost a limb b/c of the big guy, so they've both been alone for probably 6 weeks (we only have two). 

    I put the little guy back in the main tank earlier today and he promptly buried himself somewhere I can't see.  I think I'll get the sand ready and if I catch him up I'll make the switch then and there.  Now that I don't have to worry about the big guy being on his deathbed, I'm soo relieved!  I just had no idea they could molt that quickly.
     
  10. scoobdoo

    scoobdoo "PM Jason For Custom Title"

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    if he is the main tank and looks o.k.  I wouldn't bother him any more, kind of confused about the sand issue..if you are changing sand in your main tank to get rid of yucky sand then, yes do it as quick as you can so you don't stress him any more. Just don't put him in that wire looking cage thing anymore as a reg home, I would toss that thing, not even use it for a iso. The dish in the picture? Is that the water dish? If so it needs to be wider and deeper for him. crabs are confusing creatures, even to those of us that had them for years now we still scratch our heads at times and can't figure out something and then we smack ourselves on the head and go DOY! Then think that is what the forum is for! for me molting is stressful! drives me nuts!!!!! I'm looking at the calender calculating when they should be up and when the day comes and goes I get nervous, I panic, after a week I am STRESSED TO THE MAX I'm to the point to dig or not to dig, I just know they are dead! I talk my self out of it, wait another week or two and then they start coming up. THEN I BREATHE! :biglaugh: I've had crabs since 2009 and I have lost 2 both to post molt stress, it doesn't take much to stress them and if they get they way and they get weak, they go down hill fast..so I have learned not to bother them very much after a molt. wishing you lots of luck with your crabbie baby!!!
     
  11. CrabbyMama

    CrabbyMama Hi, I'm New Here!

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    no no, that's not the main cage, just a safe spot I could put him for a minute while I pooper scooped.  I'm going to venture a guess that he had been holding off on a molt since maybe before we even got him.  As soon as I changed the cage arrangement he molted super quick.  He was always crawling in the water dish (the one you can see in this picture) and one of the bigger changes I made right before this all went down was bigger, deeper water.  I actually used a compartmentalized plastic container (think TV dinner but deeper).  The minute I put him back in the tank he hopped right in the water and hung out.  Then I watched him perch on the edge of the salt water section and use an appendage (?? almost like a butterfly tongue?) to collect salt water.    In hindsight and after reading more about the actual molting process, this all makes sense.  I didn't really consider a molt as it seems like a pretty long process (especially since he's a fairly big guy) and this all came down in less then 2 weeks.

    Thanks for mentioning post molt stress!  I will make sure to give him lots of time to chill.  I kept the tank covered almost 24/7 after finding the limb bits until just recently.  Yesterday he was pretty active throughout the day, which is reassuring.  I think I'll wait a while longer before making any major changes to the tank.  The more I know about hermits the more changes I want to make, but I don't think there's anything in there that is terribly detrimental.  It's 70% cocofiber, 15% calci sand in a bowl submerged so it's ground level, 10% declor water submerged to level and 5% salt water.  I really should switch the salt water and sand containers, but I don't think it's an emergency.  I moved the sand away from the water for safety sake.

    I want to change the substrate to a better mix of real sand/fiber mixed together, make it even deeper, add some climbing items but all these things can wait a bit until everyone is back to happy and healthy.

    so glad I found this forum, btw  :spunky:
     
  12. vckums

    vckums Moderator

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    Sounds like he's doing great in his new home! The pictures show him as a great looking crab.
     

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