For hermit crabs, a suitable shell is one of the most essential elements of their survival. Why? Because their shells are their greatest defense mechanism. It of course provides them with a source of armor against potential predators, but that’s not all.
Their shells also shield them from the elements. Without them, these little guys would quickly bake under the hot sun, particularly in tropical climates.
But finding the perfect home isn’t as easy as calling up a real estate agent and having them do all the leg work.
Instead, they have to find the perfect shell. It should be the right size—not too spacious, and without any holes. And while that may sound easy, finding the right size can be a real challenge. And it’s not as though their work is done once they find the right fit.
As they continue to grow, they continue to find themselves in search of a new shell.
And even then, the process of finding a suitable home doesn’t start and stop with the individual’s needs. Instead, they have to be patient.
Once they find a shell—any ol’ shell will do (preferably intact, of course), it becomes a waiting game. Eventually, another hermit crab will come along. From there, more crabs join and they will finally begin the exercise of creating a queue—arranging themselves from largest to smallest.
And that’s when the real-estate transactions begin!
In the video below, you’ll see how a group of hermit crabs execute a near-perfect exchange of homes. It’s by far one of the most bizarre rituals I’ve ever seen! Check it out!
L.D. and her eleven-year-old lab, Eleanor Rigby Fitzgerald, moved from Seattle to Grand Rapids earlier this year, and are currently enjoying exploring their new city! She likes books, music, movies, running, and being outdoors as much as possible.