This week in Bunaken… The next time you pick up an empty shell on the beach and pocket it to take home, just think of all the hermit crabs that would have loved to move into such a nice home. That’s right, with more and more shells going as souvenirs to be placed on bookshelves, our dearly loved hermit crabs are experiencing the worst ever real estate crash here on Bunaken. Here’s a picture of a local hermit crab who still has his home (although a bit shabby looking). The photo was taken by our repeater guests from Germany – Mendy & Andreas.
To keep you up to pace on our hermit crab friends, here are some interesting facts:
1. Hermit crabs are more closely related to lobsters than to actual crabs.
2. Hermit crabs have long, spiral shaped abdomens that are soft. Therefore the shell they carry helps protect this soft abdomen of theirs.
3. Hermit crabs are social animals despite their name, sometimes living in colonies of up to 100 individuals.
4. Hermit crabs form vacancy chains – when a new shell becomes vacant hermit crabs kind of line up around it in order of largest to smallest and begin moving shells – the largest hermit crab takes the new big shell, the next largest moves into that shell, and so on and so forth. Think of hermit crab musical chairs.
5. Hermit crabs can be bullies. It’s not uncommon for a group of hermit crabs to gang up on one hermit crab with a really nice shell. They will work together to rip him from his shell and the most dominant will take over this nice shell.
6. Hermit crabs are nocturnal, preferring to move around at night.
Being 100% Project AWARE, Two Fish kindly asks that we don’t remove anything from the reef, even empty shells, as these items are quite important to our hermit crabs. Let’s keep our hermit crabs housed and reduce the pressure of having them get displaced by their friends.
In other news, we’re happy to welcome Thijs and Rudy to the world of diving as they completed the PADI Scuba Diver Course and the PADI Open Water course with instructors Sandy and Dion. We’ve had back some guests from long before, including Mendy & Andreas from Germany and Sandy and Bob from the USA. Thanks for coming and diving with us again!
Stay tuned for next week and remember the hermit crab has just as many housing issues as we have – leave shells in the sea!