How to Get a Hermit Crab Out of its Shell – Most of the time, hermit crabs do exactly what their name suggests: They live alone, without socializing with other members near their species.
However, in some cases, they end up having to find themselves, even if it’s to change home.
Hermit crabs like to live inside the old and/or abandoned snail shells. They drain these shells to make room for their eggs and for their own growth. It’s a basically sweet life, except for the problem of finding a snail shell in the first place.
And it’s not just the desire to find a house that all hermits have in common, but also to swap it when it’s too small.
Some species of terrestrial hermit crabs have a peculiar way of doing this.
When a crab is in the market for a new ladle, your best bet is to cheat another crab, making you give up your own shell. As many humans would agree, that’s pretty easy to go out looking for a house and legitimately conquer it.
This process of “stealing a larger house” among the hermits is indeed remarkable, as researchers observed from the University of California at Berkeley (USA).
To start the “commerce”, only three crabs need to meet, which in turn attracts dozens of other crabs to the site. Then they organize the smallest the largest shell, in a kind of “circle” klepto of crabs (not well a circle, as you see in the picture below, but a crazy mess).
The crab with the second-largest bark jumps to the even bigger bark in front of it, making it its own home. The process repeats all over the line until every crab is in a larger house, except for the crab that initiated the event with the best shell of all.
The prize for having the best residency? Try to squeeze in the smallest shell that’s left or continue without one.
Small ladle is better than no shell, but for very little. “What will be plucked from his bark is often left with the smallest shell of all, with which he really cannot protect himself. So he’s liable to be eaten by anything. For hermit crabs, it’s really your sociability that propels the predation, “explains the researcher Mark Laide.
The phenomenon of stealing houses among these animals is particularly intriguing, precisely because they are naturally solitary creatures. Anyway, scientists say it was the evolutionary path that led them to excavate and live in snail shells, the same way that forced them to live occasionally when they need to change home. Who knows in a few thousand years they can evolve good manners too