The Brody Bunch – Our Hermit Crab Is Stressed

Acquiring Shelly, the Hermit Crab

With much happiness, Rachel, age 11, used her beach money, a gift from her grandparents, to purchase a $29.99 hermit crab hotel, and the hermit crab was free!  This milestone purchase occurred on the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk. The non aquatic salesman said to me, “Ma’am, no one has ever asked so many questions before purchasing a [free] hermit crab, and all of the other customers are leaving.”  I always have a lot of questions. I needed to know: Does the hermit crab hotel get cleaned?  How often do we feed her?  Are there activity toys we can purchase for the hotel?  What room temperature is best?  And so on. The purchase transaction was in motion and, with the best smile, brighter than the sunshine, Rachel FINALLY got a pet, a hermit crab, and named her Shelly Brody.

Shelly Gives us a Death Scare

Fast forward, it is just the second morning of the new school year, and Rachel runs into my room sobbing, “Shelly might be dead!  I love her!”  Shelly’s leg fell off!”  I was so sad.  While I recognize that Shelly isn’t living in her natural habitat, I believe that we rescued her from an overly populated souvenir gift shop and this is not how I envisioned Shelly’s time with us.  Though in this moment, I found much pride in Rachel’s love and empathy for a living creature. That part of this situation was beautiful.  Rachel wanted me to do something. But what? Thankful for Google. I quickly discovered that a  hermit crab’s fallen off leg doesn’t mean death, but I didn’t read enough to understand why.  However, I did see that this happens when the hermit crab is under stress.  Oh my goodness, even my hermit crab is stressed out!!!  

Our Hermit Crab is Diagnosed with Stress Thanks to the Internet

Of course Shelly is stressed out.  She was removed from her natural environment.  We have a loud home, hard bright lights are on and off but mostly on, the house gets way hot or way cold. The doorbell is constantly ringing. The smoke detectors blare daily. Doors slam. We have fragrant art supplies.  While our home is loving, it is not for the meek. Shelly the hermit crab is suffering from stress.`  And, I believe that Shelly is stressed beyond not living in the Ocean or on the Boardwalk.  She is stressed out.

We identified that Shelly is stressed. Rachel’s tears stopped. I tried singing to Shelly and Rachel told me to stop singing because I am stressing her out and making Shelly more stressed out.

Saltwater Brings Happiness, … I am Stressed

Ironically, the day before this saga, friends gave me a shopping bag filled with supplies leftover from their beloved hermit crabs, and I remembered what was in the bag!  We had a bottle of saltwater!  I told Rachel to spray Shelly with saltwater. Saltwater should make Shelly happy! Saltwater and the beach certainly makes me happy. Oh, Rachel was happy. Rachel reported that Shelly is happy. Shelly moved around!  I am stressed out.

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