Thursday, July 30, 2009
Big Time Ut-Oh for Son's Pet
I'm so bad! I'm the type of person who does things, and then reads the instructions. Point in case: our son wanted a hermit crab. He thought they were cool -- until he owned one.
We put it in a plastic turtle-keeper, equipped with a 6" plastic palm tree in the middle. Our son was upset that the critter never ate, like all his rodent experiences. I was upset that we'd bought a brain-damaged animal into the house. For it would climb up the palm tree, hang upside down for a moment, then crash into the container, only to repeat the climb-and-crash all day long! If it would have simply sat there and scootched over a bit to make some of the food go away, that would have simply been a boring pet, but this one seemed psychotic. To me, the 2-inch wall holding it in hardly seemed secure enough.
Then, one day the hermit crab quit climbing and dropping. If it ever ate anything, we couldn't tell. (And, YES, we only "fed" it hermit crab food!) This sudden change in behavior -- or lack of it -- was confusing. We thought right away that it had died. But since it wasn't emitting a corpse-like aroma, we left the immoble pet alone. But after nearly two weeks of worrying and wondering, and none of the food disappearing, we decided it had indeed died. So we buried it in the backyard. We never got another one.
A decade later, as I was making a high school graduation quilt for our son, I looked up hermit crabs on the Internet and became horrified at my discovery: A HERMIT CRAB GOES INTO HIBERNATION WHILE IT OUTGROWS ITS PRESENT SHELL! This inactivity (with no motion and no eating) can go on for a couple weeks. We'd buried one of our pets alive!