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Mehitabel has gone under

Discussion in 'Molting.' started by pstice, Sep 13, 2006.

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  1. pstice

    pstice "Never Molted"

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    On Monday I watched mehitabel dig herself into the corner and then tunnel a bit inward. She has not emerged. This is the very first time she has dug, since she never had anything to burrow into until two weeks ago. Her companion, archy, has stayed under the hideylog since she went under. I've moved a little dish of food under there for him and he's eating. I can't see that she is coming out at all. I have plenty of food in there and will get some cuttlebone to put in there in case this is a molt. I am basically leaving the two of them alone except to change their water and food. The temp is maintaining at around 75 and humidity hovers around 80. Of course I am worrying, being new to this stuff but trying to go moment by moment. Am I missing anything?
     
  2. rodent111

    rodent111 (Micro Crab)

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    i think u've got it all. i would just leave them alone but keep a close eye on um. if it does turn out to be a molt i would dvide the tank in half just in case. dont want to risk one bullying the other
     
  3. pstice

    pstice "Never Molted"

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    This morning, archy burrowed partway under the grapevine; when I walked through a moment ago, he was completely submerged under a mound of sand and coconut fiber. Far as I can tell he and mehitabel are in opposite corners of the tank. All is quiet now. Feeling a bit bereft. But there's food and water available; I'll get more shells and the cuttlebone and play the waiting game. Thanks for your encouragement.
     
  4. pstice

    pstice "Never Molted"

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    It's been a month now since mehitabel went under. Three weeks since archy went under. No movement at all. The tank still smells okay, like coconut fibers. I go from feeling confident they will emerge to feeling awful and sad and wondering what's happened down there.
     
  5. Jason

    Jason Moderator

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    I know how you are feeling, since every crabber has been there. It is stressful at times but they know what they are doing. It is best to leave them alone, not disturb them and they will come up when they are ready. If you are up late at night, you might hear a scraping sound since I seem to hear it every night. That is the only way I know for sure that they are alive. Of course I always think they might be trapped under the water bowl and are trying to scratch their way through it. So it can be stressful at times. Hopefully all is well and they will come up soon.

    Jason
     
  6. reader101

    reader101 Banned

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    NEVER underestimate the cunning of the hermie! :)
    I have had several molt right under the water dishes; I couldn't figure out why they burrowed in the worst place...until I realized the dishes were going down quickly, as the molter underneath just stood up when he wanted a drink and tipped the dish!
    Please, if anyone ever thinks they've got these guys figured out, let me know!
    ;)
     
  7. reader101

    reader101 Banned

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    It's been a while...any update? (Or is it in another thread/forum).
     
  8. pstice

    pstice "Never Molted"

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    They are both still under. No sign of any movement that I can see. If they are eating, they are eating the substrate (mehitabel loved to eat the EE), 'cause they haven't touched the food. Not even the shrimp I put in last night brought them out. Trying to keep up my spirits and am very appreciative of everybody's encouragement. I posted pictures of Mehitabel on here somewhere. Having only the two of them and having them both disappear at the same time left me sort of stunned, I guess. It's an experience, this is. Keeping my pincers crossed for them both.
     
  9. Jason

    Jason Moderator

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    Keep your spirits up and don't worry about them not eating when they are under. They can go a long time without food when molting. If you are up late a night, listen for movement. When you hear it you will know what I mean. It is sort of like the scratching sound you hear in the horror movies. :) When they are ready they will come up and hopefully with a shiny new set of armor.

    Jason
     
  10. pstice

    pstice "Never Molted"

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    Thanks. This is sort of goofy, but I've been trying to memorize the patterns in the substrate sand and EE against the glass, so that I can tell if somebody's been making movements under there. Watching the water dishes carefully too. Again, thanks.
     
  11. reader101

    reader101 Banned

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    How long is it now? Keep in mind that even though they might not be up and "hitting the dishes", they are usually well stocked when they go under, and only priority is that they eat their own exo and have time to recharge. I've got one fella right now that is in iso for having 3 legs torn off, right beside the glass for 2 wks. now and no sign of movement. Boy, do I ever want to check him, but must let nature take its' course.
     
  12. reader101

    reader101 Banned

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    Not to worry. When hermies decide it's time to "hunker down", they always make sure they are prepared for it. Whether it be checking out a safe spot, stashing away food where it's close (I've caught several dragging a whole goldfish to their spot), or tanking up on water (others have taken to "spitting" (dumping shell water into the shell they choose to take or molt in), they do seem to know what they're doing. All we can do is provide the ideal environment and be patient.
    ;)
     
  13. pstice

    pstice "Never Molted"

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    It's been 5 weeks since mehitabel went under and just over 4 weeks since archy dug himself in. I'm getting the clear message that this could go on for some weeks more. Thanks so much for the support.
     
  14. pstice

    pstice "Never Molted"

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    ARCHY HAS EMERGED!!!!!:):):):)

    This morning he's in a new shell and almost as big as mehitabel was when she went under. It's been 6 weeks to the day for him. I spooked him, I was so excited, so he went back under a little. I'm SOOO excited!
     
  15. Jason

    Jason Moderator

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    I am really happy to hear that everything went well. Waiting is sometimes the hardest part for caring for crabs. Now if they could only develop transparent sand all would be well. :)

    Jason
     
  16. nancy

    nancy "Preparing For Second Molt"

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    What is it about hermit crabs? I have a 20 long with three large crabs in it and they always go down together. For about two or three months it looks like I have an empty tank. Pstice, I was wondering about the size of your crabbies. That often has something to do with the reason some crabs stay below longer than others. Are they different sizes?
     
  17. pstice

    pstice "Never Molted"

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    Boy, I don't know. The two of them stayed under to molt just about the same length of time - 6 weeks or so. My mehitabel and archy both spend more time now under than on top, although they seem to go in spurts. Around thanksgiving, mehitabel spent a lot of time climbing all over the place, as if she had just discovered her new-found, post-molt strength. Then early this month, I provided new shells, and she switched into a bigger one, climbed all over the place for days, then went under. Haven't seen her for 5 days. She is a medium-large, I would have to say. about the size of the palm of my hand when she spreads out her legs. archy is about a third to half that size- small but not a micro by any means. He tried a larger version of his apple murex shell, but after a day switched back to the one he fits very snuggly. They are in a 10g tank. They usually come out when I add something new, just to explore, but mostly they like to go under. mehitabel has dug a cave under the water dish twice now. I always wait until she completely tips it over to get in there and remove her, so I can fill the cave back in, which I hate doing, because she seems to be enjoying herself so much. But I don't know what else to do when she dumps their fresh water. I find them immensely entertaining when they are on top and when I can see them digging through the glass. The winter temps here make it tough to keep the tank temperature up - I manage with a radiator and blankets to keep it around 75-78. Could they be going under to regulate their own temps?
     
  18. nancy

    nancy "Preparing For Second Molt"

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    It could be the time of year that keeps them down, as in a hibernation cycle. You said, I believe that Archy completed his molt first. That's because he's a smaller crab. Mehitabel will take longer to molt but will probably not molt as often as Archie. Is Mehitabel up yet? I'm waiting on Moose, who has been under for two and a half months now. Why are you filling her under the waterdish cave? My crabs have catacombs dug of which the intricacy must be judged because I can only view it from the side. If I were you I would let it be and maybe adjust the position of the water dish a little. Sorry I've been so long winded.Hope to hear an update on your situation soon.
     
  19. pstice

    pstice "Never Molted"

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    Haven't seen mehitabel since before New Years. archy has come out twice to eat. And he moved into mehitabel's old shell over the weekend. so the two of them are now in shells much bigger than they've had previously and i thought maybe they are headed for another molt so they can grow into their new residences. I don't know anything at all about hibernating patterns, but i've thought of that as well - it's darned cold here and it's unusual for us. archy dug under the water dish day before yesterday and then filled it back in and headed off somewhere else. i had to move mehitabel when she dug under there because she was too big to be under there, and i couldn't keep water in the dish - she kept dumping it out by making her cave bigger in diameter than the water dish so it would collapse on top of her. archy's a much better size for digging under the water dish. now if i could get them settled long enough where i actually knew where they are, i'd set up a bigger tank for them, but i can't get them to stay visible and i don't want to disturb them if there's a chance somebody's working on another molt. I wish I knew all the answers, but these guys just aren't talking to me. Do you get the sense they enjoy yanking our chains? :confused:
     
  20. nancy

    nancy "Preparing For Second Molt"

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    Any news from Mehitabel? I know how hard it is trying to wait. You have plans for a nice new tank or a deep tank cleaning when one of them always goes down. They do it without warning and they sure don't tell you their plans. We need to develop some hermit crab telepathy. Your crabs are missing out on a bigger tank. Who can figure?
     
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