News from the Natural World: Hermit Crabs all around the world are more than happy to stay at home during the COVID-19 lockdown
The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the animal and human world alike. Billions of humans have been forced to change the way they live their lives. In addition to no flying, no travel and limited social contact many humans have also been told to “STAY AT HOME”. This “Lockdown” has affected almost all humans. Lockdown forces them to stay in their houses and remain inside. These lockdowns have also affected the animal world. Dolphins swam in the canals of Venice. Mountain Goats roamed abandoned villages in Wales. Rhinos wandered the streets of India cities. But many animals have been doing their part and sticking to the lockdown. One such animal is the Hermit Crab.
Hermit Crabs are decapod crustaceans of the superfamily Paguroidea. In total there are over 800 species of the hermit crab. The majority of them possess an asymmetric abdomen concealed in a scavenged mollusc shell. They are also opportunistic scavengers, feeding on anything they can find. They also have tough pincers but a soft body which they coil up inside their borrowed shell. In addition, they use their hooked tail to help them to grip on. Furthermore, as they grow, they move into ever-larger shells. The Hermit Crab community was one of the first animal species to adhere to the lockdown. We managed to secure an interview with their leader, Hershel. Hershel said;
“Being told to stay at home really isn’t much of a hindrance to us Hermit Crabs. I mean, we are quite literally a mobile home. It hasn’t really effected us because we take our houses with us.”
Hermit Crabs experts at sticking to lockdown
Hershel went on to say that they were naturally hermits and having a mobile home meant that lockdown was a minor inconvenience to them. They were perfectly equipped for a life spent stuck inside your own home. But having survived the pandemic the Hermit Crabs faced a new threat. The human-pet trade industry. Hershel and his crab brethren were being captured from their homes in the wild and stolen to be sold to petulant human children with a desire for a ‘pet’ or slave as we animals call them. Furthermore, these Hermit Crabs suffered a horrendous fate and slowly died and suffocated as the humans failed to care for them properly.
Hershel was distraught and finally encouraged all Hermit Crabs to flee from the humans and hide from their grabbing hands.
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