Look how cute!
How could you not love this adorable little critter?
I know. I can hardly believe the words coming out of my fingers. Hermit crabs are fantastically ugly and kind of creepy, what with that monster claw and those beady little eyes and those antennas waving around. However, I have grown to love this little crab we call Snoopy, who was a gift for my son's fourth birthday. See, my son turned four when we were at the beach for a week in August and we neglected to do any advance shopping. After browsing the dismal shops in the nearest beach town, my husband and I and our enthusiastic daughter agreed on two hermit crabs. We knew nothing about them and the store provided scant information on their care and preferred dwelling (which is probably NOT in a house). But one shopper assured us that they were easy and low-maintenance, so we bit.
Long story short, one of the original two crabs didn't survive the trip home, and we soon discovered that the wire cage we'd purchased as their home was insufficient. One trip to Petco and many dollars later, we had a replacement crab, Spike, and a well-stocked aquarium. At that point I had serious doubts about our decision. I mean, how much companionship can a pet like a hermit crab bring to one's life? I did not envision us curled up by the fireplace or going for long walks, and I figured the kids would quickly lose interest.
Surprise! We're quite fond of these two critters. Low maintenance doesn't even begin to describe them. They eat almost nothing. They poop almost nothing. They don't bark or shed or need to be walked. And the kids? Several times a day they are peering into the aquarium or bringing them out for walks around the kitchen. They change the water and fill the food bowl. Snoopy is quite social (he's our favorite) while Spike is a true hermit. How fond am I of Snoopy? If he were to die, I would be upset. Spike, not so much (he also chomped down on my son's finger with his claw, so we're a little leery of him), but it would be a bummer for the kids. I have long fought pet ownership, and no matter how amusing Marianne's hamster stories may be I just couldn't imagine taking care of one more living thing. But now that I see how rewarding it can be, I'm seriously thinking about getting a houseplant.