Saturday, April 02, 2011

Superman's Molting Saga - Hermit Crab - April 2, 2011

Superman in September 2010
Superman is our largest hermit crab. He's about 5 years old. Superman is friendly and very social. Earlier this week he surprised us by molting or as we like to call it "pretending he is dead." Superman is my son's pet so we had a tense week.

At first we thought that something had happened to Superman. All we saw was a broken apart exoskeleton. Then we spotted his new pink-ish self peering up through the substrate:

Over the next day he pulled himself out of the substrate and very slowly to his shell. On Tuesday morning, he was fully on top of the substrate, on his side and still shell-less. I left the house for a couple of hours. He was re-shelled by the time I returned home:

Friday morning I gave Superman an extra long misting, which seemed to perk him up. I found a small shell dish, filled it with water and a sea sponge and placed it down in the substrate just below him so he would not have to climb or try to get to the other water dishes (plain and salt water). Hermies are exhausted after a molt so I did not want it to be difficult for him to get more water. He immediately started drinking from and eating the sea sponge. A bit later he began to eat his discarded exoskeleton, which is full of nutrients that he needs.

We're not entirely out of the woods yet. I hope Superman continues to drink and eat and regains his strength. He's very special to us.

This is one of our favorite fiction books about Hermit Crabs:

Poor Hermit Crab! He's outgrown his snug little shell, so he finds himself a larger one -- and many new friends to decorate and protect his new house. But what will happen when he outgrows this shell and has to say good-bye to all the sea creatures who have made Hermit Crab's house a home?
Children facing change in their own lives will relate to Hermit Crab's story -- and learn a lot about the fascinating world of marine life along the way. Simon & Schuster


  1. What a fascinating post - I would have thought he had gone to meet his maker. Lucky he has you to watch over him.

  2. Awww, I had a hermit crab when I was a kid =)
    Hope all stays well with Superman..keep us updated!

  3. Huh. I knew hermit crabs moved into new shells, but I had no idea about the exoske, etc... Cool.

  4. Come on, Superman! We are all rooting for you.

  5. Thank you, Carmen. Superman is a great hermit crab.

    Vampires and Tofu - I will defintely keep you all posted. He was eating his old exo this morning. He also moved around a little bit. Now he's resting.

    Rissatoo - Hermies are fascinating. Superman got his name because he's a great climber. He gets all the way up to the screen on top of the tank and walks across it upside down!

    Thank you, Jenn. I'm so anxious about him it's crazy. I was up at 5 a.m. checking him this morning. I made sure that he got some salt water today as well as fresh water. He knows what he's doing. I'm just a stressed out observer!

  6. Hermit crabs are so cool. I've wanted one, but felt like I didn't know enough to have one at this time. Plus I live in such an arid climate I wondered if it was good for them. This is such a good post! Happy new shell, Superman!

  7. I LOVE this post!!!!!!!! I always wanted a hermit crab as a kid. I am so glad you captured this in photos!!