Crabitat for Humanity

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Originally Published in the Sun by the Sea Summer 2004 edition

I love a holiday weekend! Everywhere you look, there are people! Here I sit, soon to be surrounded by a boardwalk full of people. People just like you in need of a cute little pet like myself…Somebody will eventually buy me. I don’t like to brag but, oh, who am I kidding, when you’re special, you know it. What better pet is there than a hermit crab? I’m definitely a low-maintenance, family-friendly pet. Okay, so I’ve been sitting in this cage since Memorial Day and nobody’s offered to take me home with them. That’s okay; I’m a nocturnal creature. I love the nightlife the boardwalk provides. Besides, Fourth of July is coming, and you know what that means! That’s right, kids! Kids love me. They all want to take me home. Who could blame them? I’ve got a lot going for me. True, I’m not a cuddly creature (I leave cuddly to the Easter bunny), but as long as you pick me up by the back of my shell, I promise not to pinch you. Also, I’m not a fussy eater. I’ll eat just about anything the tide washes in. However, I do have my restrictions. To begin with, I will not be going to the Dairy Queen with you anytime soon. I am seriously lactose intolerant. Dairy and me do not dine together. While we’re at it, please do not even think about feeding me acidic foods as they have yet to make a Pepcid AC for hermit crabs. Aside from that, when it comes to food, I live by the Variety is the Spice of Life Credo. I like to mix it up, nutritionally speaking. Basically, I’m eating anything that hits the ground (hoping it’s not a soft serve or a giant tomato). These include plants, grass, and fallen fruit (especially coconuts and papaya, which remind me of the folks back home). I’ve also got a reputation for liking what some people refer to as junk food, but what I like to think of as boardwalk cuisine. Chips, pretzels, to name a few, are some of my favorites. Don’t mistake me for a vegetarian, though, just because some of my best friends are animals. I like meat as much as the next land dweller. Hot dogs in particular interest me (which means I’m available for your Fourth of July barbeque as long as I’m not on the menu).  I should tell you I’m a bit of a water snob. When it comes to drinking, as well as bathing, I go for the chlorine-free variety (save the chemicals for your pool).  Bottled water usually works for me. Expensive, yes, but fortunately, I’m well worth it. If you’re  looking to save a couple of bucks (extra hot dog  money) you can purchase a dechlorinizer at the pet store. As long as my little gills are kept moist, we’ll get along (and I’ll live). Make me think I’m back in the tropics, as I, like any other living thing, tend to get homesick. My crabitat (domain, dwelling, crab pab of choice is a 10-gallon glass aquarium with a temperature no lower than 70 degrees Fahrenheit and no higher than 78 degrees Fahrenheit. This’ll make me feel right at home (Pina Colada, anyone?) I, like everyone else, like my living quarters to be well decorated. This keeps me engaged. Hey, I need something to do and they refuse to let me on the Nor’Eastern! I also like a variety of climbing toys. I plan on enjoying myself at that July 4th barbeque and will need to work out afterward.

So, you see, I’m a great pet to have around! All I ask for is food, water, a weekly bath, a nice moist  environment, and some toys to play with (I’m just a kid at heart). Did I mention I’m reasonably priced? You can’t throw a beach bucket on this boardwalk without hitting a hermit crab cage marking my value around $2.99! Clearly, I’m worth much more than that, but the storeowners, much like myself, want you, dear vacationer, to save your money for what’s really important. That’s right, more hermit crab friends to keep me from getting lonely while you’re out enjoying yourself! And remember, at least you don’t have to take me out for a walk!🦀🦀

Happy Seaside Fourth of July!!!

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