Bird facts

Before we get on with this I would like to tell you something: Feel free to leave comments about what animal I should do next, I will pick my favorite one and use it, just say the animal, also if you want to add a picture. And I am really stumped about what I should do next.

Now lets begin with birds….

This stuff is not mine I just did the pictures.

Interesting Facts about Birds

The chicken is the closest living relative to the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Many birds kept as pets, including doves, parakeets, and lovebirds, enjoy living in pairs for companionship.

The smallest bird egg belongs to the hummingbird and is the size of a pea.  The largest bird egg, from which the ostrich hatches, is the size of a cantaloupe.

A bird’s eye takes up about 50 percent of its head; our eyes take up about 5 percent of our head. To be comparable to a bird’s eyes, our eyes would have to be the size of baseballs.

The penguin is the only bird that can swim, but not fly. It is also the only bird that walks upright.

Owls turn their heads almost 360○ (a complete circle) but they cannot move their eyes.

Chickens have over 200 distinct noises they make for communicating.

When it comes to birds, the males tend to have the more glamorous feather shape, coloration, songs, and dances.  Female birds choose their mate based on how attractive they find them!

It is estimated that one third of all bird owners turn on a radio for their pet when they leave the house.

According to National Geographic, scientists have an answer for the age old dispute over which came first, the chicken or the egg.  Reptiles were laying eggs thousands of years before chickens appeared.  The first chicken came from an egg laid by a bird that was not quite a chicken.  Therefore, the egg came first.

The first bird domesticated by humans was the goose.

Kiwi birds are blind, so they hunt by smell.

Some breeds of chickens can lay colored eggs. The Ameraucana and Araucanian can lay green or blue eggs.

The common phrase “eat like a bird” should mean something quite different!  Many birds eat twice their weight in food each day.  In fact, a bird requires more food in proportion to its size than a baby or a cat.

A group of larks is called an exaltation, a group of chickens is called a peep, a group of geese is called a gaggle, a group of ravens is called a murder, and a group of owls is called a parliament.

Chickens that lay brown eggs have red ear lobes. There is a genetic link between the two.

Crows have the largest cerebral hemispheres (brains), relative to body size, of any avian family.

Mockingbirds can imitate many sounds, from a squeaking door to a cat meowing.

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Bunny Buddies

Rabbit

In the wild, rabbits have plenty to keep them occupied, from foraging to reproduction to territorial defense. Captive rabbits, on the other hand, often lack stimulation, which can lead to behavioral problems and poor health.

  • Rabbits have an excellent sense of smell, hearing and vision. They have nearly 360° panoramic vision, allowing them to detect predators from all directions. They can see everything behind them and only have a small blind-spot in front of their nose.
  • Rabbits have extremely strong hind limbs which allow them to leap great distances. They can jump up to one meter high and three meters long.
  • Rabbits are territorial animals which live in loosely organized social groups. They live in warrens comprising of an intricate series of underground tunnels with different entrances and exits.
  • When rabbits ‘binky’, this is an expression of joy. They will run, jump into the air, twist their body and flick their feet.
  • Rabbits are affectionate social animals that enjoy the company of other rabbits. They will perform logrolling where two individuals will simultaneously groom each other.
  • Although typically very quiet, rabbits do communicate vocally, with varying types of vocalizations communicating different messages, e.g. low humming when running around an individual is a signal of affection.
  • Rabbits stand upright on their hind legs to give themselves a better vantage point to look for predators. They alert other rabbits to the presence of danger by thumping their hind legs.
  • For the last 60 years rabbits have been increasingly commonly kept as pets in the UK and other countries. In the last ten years there has been an especially big increase in the UK making them the nation’s third most popular furry pet. In 2010 about 1 million rabbits were kept as pets. However, before taking on the commitment of caring for a rabbit as a pet consideration should be given to whether its physical and emotional needs can be met. Properly caring for an animal as a pet can have significant time and cost implications. For example caring for a rabbit is likely to cost more than £3,000 over the course of its lifetime.
  • People often think rabbits are very easy to look after and that all they need to do is pop them in a hutch in the garden and feed and clean them when needed. However, this is actually very far from the truth. Nowadays, we have a far greater understanding of rabbits and there are a few things we need to recognize in order to keep them happy. Rabbits expressing aggressive behavior toward people and other pets often indicates they are in distress and suffering emotionally. There are many ways to improve the lives of rabbits kept as pets:
  • Rabbits should be kept in pairs. Companionship is key to the welfare of rabbits – without the company of another neutered rabbit they get lonely and bored. In the wild, rabbits are social creatures, a fact that doesn’t change just because they are kept as pets.
  • Rabbits need an appropriate diet. Fiber, in the form of hay and grass, is the most vital food for rabbits – it’s essential for their digestive health, and they can die without it. Whilst a small daily amount of green veg is good, a diet based solely on vegetables, fruit and carrots does not provide all the nutrients that rabbits need, leaving them malnourished.
  • Rabbits kept as pets should be offered shelter and hiding places – rabbits confined to open spaces with no protection will feel threatened. Predators such as dogs may also scare prey species such as rabbits.
  • In the wild, rabbits have plenty to keep them occupied, from foraging to reproduction to territorial defence. Captive rabbits, on the other hand, often lack stimulation, which can lead to behavioral problems and poor health. Much like humans, they need to be kept physically and mentally active. A rabbit’s natural environment can be imitated by providing enrichment such as tunnels and platforms for climbing, tree stumps, twigs, suitable toys, and places to hide such as cardboard boxes.
  • Digging is an innate and favorite pastime of rabbits, both wild and domesticated. By providing digging substitutes, such as a sand or earth pit, rabbits kept as pets will be able to dig away without damaging your garden or escaping.
  • Just like humans, rabbits become bored if their environments remain the same, so can benefit from variety and occasional change of scenery. However, too much change can have adverse effects. A wild rabbit’s survival depends on an intimate knowledge of its surroundings in order to escape from predators, so structural changes to the “warren” of a rabbit kept as a pet should be kept subtle, such as changing their toys and regularly providing new ones.
  • It’s incredibly beneficial for rabbits kept as pets to start interacting with people, other rabbits and also other pets such as cats and dogs from an early age. Familiarity with other species will help rabbits develop into friendly and confident adults. Exposing them to normal everyday sights and sounds is also important, so they’re relaxed and happy in their environments.

So there you go. This is not mine, I got part of this from OneKind, an awesome blog. Here is some cute bunny photos:

There you go. These are some foot stomping facts. 🙂 🙂

Crickets

You might love crickets. You might hate them, but you just wanna know about them.

How to tell female and male crickets apart:

The easiest way to tell if a cricket is female is by observing an ovipositer. This is a swordlike tube up to three-quarters of an inch long that protrudes from the end of her abdomen, much like a stinger would. The tube is used exclusively for laying eggs deep in the soil. Both males and females have additional short prongs on each side of the abdomen.

2.Male crickets have shorter, sturdier wings with rough underside surfaces known as file. The top of the wing has a formation known as a scraper. To make his chirping song, the male rubs the scraper of one wing against the file on the underside of the other. The female hears with sound receptors situated on her front legs and responds if she likes the rhythm.

3. Male crickets chirp. Female crickets don’t chirp. Here is a link to a male cricket chirping.

Cricket Chirping – YouTube

That is a few ways to tell crickets apart, here is what they like to eat:

Water

The only other thing that your crickets need are fresh water. Tap water is fine for your crickets. If you plan to breed your crickets make sure that you do not have any standing water in their cage. If you have standing water the baby crickets (called pinheads) will drown in it. A simple way to avoid this is to water your crickets with a small sponge (1” x 1”) in a small dish. The sponge should be damp but not dripping water. This will meet your cricket’s needs and protect the babies. If you live in a dry climate make sure to check their water daily as it may evaporate quickly. Also, make sure to change their water every 2-3 days or it may start to stink.

water-sponge

Insecticides

Crickets are very sensitive to insecticides. Almost every garage in America has at least 2-3 different ant, wasp, and tick insecticides. These products are designed to kill insects and they will kill your crickets if they are not handled properly. Crickets are so sensitive to them that they will die if they are exposed to the insecticide fumes. So, keep your insecticides very far away from your crickets.

Crickets as Pet Food

If you are raising crickets to feed to your pets (snakes, lizards, etc.) then you will need to keep one dietary need in mind. Most reptiles require a high protein diet. In order to meet your reptile’s needs you will need to increase your cricket’s protein intake. This is called “gut loading.” When you gut load crickets you increase the amount of protein that you feed them. But, you need to plan the timing of the gut load to maximize the cricket’s protein content. You can do this by feeding your crickets extra protein 2-3 days before you plan to feed them to your pets. This may be accomplished by adding extra cat food, chicken, beef or commercial cricket food to their meals.

Crickets eat a lot of the same foods that humans eat. Feed them a balanced diet of raw vegetables, fruits and meats (protein) to keep them healthy. This may come from table scraps or cricket food. Also, they require clean water and a clean cage. If you sever their food and water in small dishes it is easy to change and clean-up. These simple steps will keep their cage from smelling and your crickets happy.

Crickets are very sensitive to insecticides. If you have insecticides in your house they must be kept away from your crickets. Crickets are so sensitive to insecticides that they may be killed by the insecticide fumes.

If you are going to use your crickets to feed to your pets you will need to add extra meat (protein) to their diet 2-3 days before the pet feeding. This is known as gut loading and it will increase protein content in your crickets.

Here is a diagram of the cricket.

There you go: This is all about crickets.

SSSSSSSSSSnakes

This is a printable guide for snakes. Going hiking? In the woods? Or you just wanna know about them? This is perfect for you. Let’s begin with some basic facts.

Snakes (suborder Serpentes) are elongated, limbless, flexible reptiles. There are about 2,900 spe375 are venomous.

Garter Snake, © Jeffrey Meyer

Diet

Snakes consume a variety of items including termites, rodents, birds, frogs, small deer and other reptiles. Snakes eat their prey whole and are able to consume prey three times larger than the diameter of their head because their lower jaw can separate from the upper jaw. To keep prey from escaping, snakes have rear-facing teeth that hold their prey in their mouths.

Venomous snakes inject their prey with venom, while constrictors squeeze their prey. They do not need to hunt everyday. Anacondas and pythons can survive for up to a year without food after feeding. Snakes hunt mostly at night.

Those were two very basic facts about snakes, now let’s see how to tell poisonous also known as venomous snakes apart.

  1.  Most poisonous snakes have triangular shaped heads. Non poisonous snakes do not have triangular heads.
  2.  Look at the colors. Some poisonous snakes have bright colors.
    Like this one.
    3.  Look at their eyes, some poisonous snakes have vertical eye slits, non poisonous snakes mostly have round pupils.
    4.  Look at the underside scales on the bottom of the tip of his/her’s tail. Most poisonous snakes have one row of scales. Non poisonous normally have two rows of scales.
    5.  Watch snakes swim. Some poisonous snakes swim with their body out the water, while non poisonous snakes mostly swim with their body in the water.
    6. If your bit by a snake, if you don’t know if it is venomous. Look at it before you get to any conclusions. If it has fang holes, two holes close together., you better call someone, that means it is probably poisonous. If it just has a bite mark and no fangs. It probably is not poisonous.
     Now that you know all about these snakes, do not go running after them. You don’t want you, or anybody around you at the time, to get hurt. We hope you remember all of this stuff about snakes, to help you be sssafe.
    Test your family and friends about this, see if they know what you know.

Guest Star: Avalon

This is Ketzenworld’s post, it is EPIC I am just rebloging it

Katzenworld

Hi everyone,

Please find below the guest story of Avalon! 🙂

“Avalon is the spawn of Satan. Either you throw your cat out, or I’ll throw you out!” my landlord said.

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Yet this feline ‘spawn of Satan’ taught me several important lessons about life and love. The most important of those lessons is that love is a decision – you decide to love and take care of someone, no matter what.

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During the first years of Avalon’s life, it was a challenge to remind myself of that decision. Describing my cat as jealous and possessive would be too mild. He wanted to be with me at all times. When another pet tried to approach me, it became a matter of life or death. If I came back from having left the house for a few hours, he looked gaunt as if my short absence meant that I was never to…

View original post 399 more words

Cats Cats Cats (comment what I say to get tomorrow’s shoutout

Cats who hates them? Nobody! (Well some people might not I definitely do not hate kitties!) BUT FIRST…. I would like to say comment down below if you have some cat(s), what is their or its name, how long have you had them or the one special cat? OR IF you do not have a cat what would you name one if you had one? How old would it be? How many would you have? This is how to get your name, a link, and some cool words in my tomorrow’s Blog about Dogs I will put in anybody who comments by tomorrow COMMENT NOW!!!! Now let’s show you cat tips.

That is from catchow.com I did not make this 😉

Remember about tomorrow ‘s shout out check it out.

So happy together

What to do when you bring a new cat home

1. Create less change. And more comfort.

Help your cat adjust to new surroundings by keeping some consistency between homes. Bringing belongings from the old home, like a blanket or toy, provides a familiar scent that can be soothing. And continue to use the same cat food he’s accustomed to eating, at least until your new pet has a chance to settle in.

2. Give them a room of their own

If you have the space, provide your new cat with a room that’s away from other pets and people. This way they can comfortably explore a small area before being introduced to the larger house. And any resident cats can investigate the new addition safely through the door—allowing them time to get used to having another pet in the home.

3. Get to know each other

Be sure to spend plenty of one-on-one time with your new cat throughout the day so they can become accustomed to your voice and scent. Sit on the floor and allow them to take the time they need to investigate, but keep the visits short during the first few days to avoid overstimulation.

4. Slowly introduce the whole family

Once your cat has adjusted to life in his new home, introduce him to other family members, one at a time. It’s a good idea to give your cat pieces of a towel or T-shirt, each with the scent of a family member on it, so that he will begin to know each person’s scent.

5. Teach your kids about cats

If this is the first cat in your home, prepare your kids for the change. Talk to them about how a cat should be handled, then lead by example. Use a quiet voice and soft touch when handling your cat—and instruct your kids to do the same. Explain that cats don’t always like to be squeezed or hugged and remind your children that slow and steady is the best way of petting their new pet.

Remember about tomorrow.

o e

Crab Care

BASIC CRAB CARE

Blondie the Ecuadorian crab

  • Just the Basics
    To live  I  If comfortably in captivity, hermit crabs require the following:
    Temperature no lower than 75°F. Consistent low temperatures can kill a hermit crab. Don’t allow them to bake in a window, either. If they get too hot they will die, overheating causes irreversible damage and a slow, painful death. Signs of overheating are a musty smell and discharge of brown liquid;
  • A constant humidity level of at LEAST 70% humidity. Try to remember that you want the inside of your crabitat to have a moist, “tropical” feel to it;
  • Substrate deep enough that the crabs can bury but not so deep that it negates the effects of your under-tank heater. If you are having trouble keeping your crabitat warm, try moving some substrate from over the heater. If you are having trouble getting the crabitat to cool down, turn off the heater. See the molting page if you need information on heating a molter’s isolation tank;
  • Food, water, shells and other tank decorations to keep the crabs engaged and active.

Friends!
I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but you really shouldn’t keep only one hermit crab alone as a pet. The name ‘hermit’ is misapplied to our little friends — they are quite gregarious and like to be around their own kind. In the wild, they travel in packs of up to 100 crabs, scavenging the beach for food and shells. The reason they travel in packs is simple: Where there are more crabs, there are more shells. Researchers have found by putting one clean, empty shell on the beach, they can initiate a “cascade” of shells changes: One crab changes in to the new shell, another changes into his old shell, and another changes into the other empty shell, and so on. Quite often I find about 20 hermies of my clan all piled on top each other, sleeping. So, please don’t consign your friendly hermie to a life of loneliness. As one seasoned crabber once remarked, “Two crabs does not a colony make.” Go get him a friend, or better yet, two friends.

Housing
The very first thing your new pets will need is a ‘crabitat.’ A crabitat is where your hermit crabs will spend most of their time, so choose a home that is clean and roomy. A 10-gallon glass aquarium can be purchased at a reasonable price and makes an ideal ‘starter home’ for your crabs. If you are unable to purchase an aquarium, there are other options available, such as plastic critter carriers. Keep in mind how many crabs you ultimately plan on housing and how you would like their home to look. It will help you make up your mind when the time comes to decide on the size of your crabitat. Make sure the cage will hold your pets, their food and water dishes, extra shells and climbing toys. You want a cage large enough to hold all these things and still have space for the crabs to roam if they wish. This means that the small plastic box that you got from a mall kiosk or boardwalk store is not an adequate shelter for any hermit crab. One way to give the crabs room to wander is to leave an area at the back or front of the crabitat that is completely clear of obstructions. This way the crab has an “express lane” to run down if s/he needs to get some energy out and doesn’t want to climb. While a plastic critter carrier makes a passable temporary home or ‘hospital cage,’ it is not recommended as a permanent home.

The second most important aspect of the crabitat is the type of substrate you put on the bottom. After all, your crab will in all likelihood be sitting on it every day! There are many different types of substrate available, but not all of them are ideal for land hermit crabs. You want a substrate that is relatively easy to clean, attractive and holds up to hermit crabs’ tunneling activities. The best substrates are sand and coconut fiber (also known as Forest Bedding®, Bed-A-Beast®, and Eco-Earth®.

Sand.  There are also many different varieties of sand available. The most expensive ones come in small bags and are labeled as special “hermit crab sand.” Don’t be fooled! When it comes to general crab care, “sand is sand is sand” and it doesn’t matter where it comes from, as long as it is clean. You can get a 50 lb. bag of clean play sand from a hardware store for the same amount you’d pay for 2 small bags of “hermit crab sand.” (Try to get a bag of play sand which is towards the middle of the pallet, otherwise, it may be wet or contaminated.) A word of caution about play sand. Some crab owners have reported problems with an orange-colored play sand they purchased from Home Depot. The sand had an oily, diesel-like smell to it. If you open the bag of sand and notice any “off” smell, throw it out or take it back to the store. Do not put any strong-smelling sand into your crabitat. One sand that has been of consistent good quality is “high desert sand.” You only need to concern yourself with special sand if you have a sick crab that needs calcium. Most sand comes pre-washed and/or sterilized. Sometimes, however, individual bags can develop leaks through which moisture, insects, etc. invade. As a precautionary measure, please take a close look at the substrate before you put it into your crabitat. Pour some into a bowl and sift it through your fingers, hold it to a strong light and watch for insects. Lastly, put your nose to it and take a whiff to check for a musty smell which would indicate moisture contamination.

Coconut fiber (Forest Bedding “FB” or Eco-Earth)is another excellent substrate. The coconut is processed to be very fine, almost like earth, and pressed into a dry, hard brick. To prepare FB, you put the brick in a large bowl or tub and add enough water until the brick absorbs the water and become soft enough for you to break apart with your hands. Then you add the moist FB to your crabitat. There are many benefits to using forest bedding, not the least of which is that it appears to be one of the very best molting mediums out there. Over time, the FB compacts a little bit and becomes stable, which allows the crabs to dig little tunnels all through it. An advantage of the FB over sand is that FB will not collapse heavily upon a newly-molted crab and damage it. I have had many beautiful molts in the FB. The moisture in the FB helps to keep the humidity in the crabitat at a good range, without resorting to sponges and misting. FB prepared as directed above is adequate, but if you want to make it extra special and healthy, you can prepare it using pre-prepared salt water instead of regular water. First you mix up your salt water according to the package direction, and then use the salt water to soak your FB. Hermit crabs love to eat FB and this helps them to get other, needed minerals in their diet. There is one unique drawback to using FB and that is that it attracts fungus gnats. Fungus gnats are teeny black bugs that look like midget mosquitoes. They are attracted to warm, moist areas and will lay eggs and start a colony of their own in your crabitat. Fungus gnat larvae are worm-like with black shiny heads.

Since hermit crabs and fungus gnats are both arthropods, you can not use any pesticides in your crabitat or it will kill the crabs! There is however a solution to this problem. Back in October 2003 I found and used <horrors!>– biological warfare! You can view all the creepy details on the FAQ page. Some people who have mixed their FB with saltwater have reported fewer fungus gnats.

Combination substrate is the latest and probably the best idea. It is a combination of coconut fiber and sand. You prepare the coconut fiber as you would normally, and put it in the crabitat. Then you add sand and mix it all together well until it is a nice, diggable consistency. Generally you want your substrate to be the same consistency as the sand you’d use to make a sand castle. Not too dry and not too drippy. There is one universal problem with all good hermit crab substrates. They are messy. Expect to have sand or forest bedding in your kitchen and bathroom at one time or another. Hermit crabs are not the most orderly critters and they do drag sand, FB or what have you into their food and water dishes. Also they bury shells that they aren’t interested in. So you’ll be cleaning out their dishes and shaking substrate out of shells, no matter what substrate you use! If it’s crab-friendly, chances are it’s going to be messy.

Tiny crab after molt. Notice the pale skin contrasted with black eyes.

WATER: DRINKING AND BATHING
The basic rule of thumb for land hermit crabs’ drinking water is this: Do not give the crab any water you would not put in a tropical fish tank.

This means that you’ll need to remove the chlorine and other harmful chemicals from water prior to giving it to your crab. Bottled and filtered water are also acceptable, but usually more expensive. Plus there is no way of guaranteeing that during processing (with bottled water) that the chlorine was adequately removed or (with filtered water) that the filter you’re using wasn’t clogged or contaminated. I’d go with the method below, regardless of the type of water you use.

Removing the Bad Stuff: Chlorine
Chlorine is harmful to land hermit crabs. Repeated exposure to it causes blisters to form on the crabs’ gills, resulting in suffocation and death. You can remove this harmful chemical by purchasing from your pet store a general dechlorinator (or tap water conditioner). It’s relatively inexpensive and usually comes in a dropper-style bottle. You do not need to buy a large amount of it (in fact, you shouldn’t, because the drops may gradually lose the ability to dechlorinate the water if stored for a long period of time). Try to get a brand with instructions on how to mix only ONE GALLON of dechlorinated water, otherwise you’ll have to do some calculating as to how many drops per quart, etc. Read the instructions on the bottle or packaging. Usually you’ll need something like 1 drop per gallon (if the dechlorinator is really strong) or 5 drops per quart. Check your individual brand, though, because the amount per brand can vary significantly. Put the required amount of drops in the bottom of the gallon (or ½ gallon) jug and fill it up in the sink, tub, whatever. I usually let the water sit open overnight after treatment, to be sure all the chemicals are neutralized.

Once you’ve dechlorinated the water, it can be served to the crabs in practically any non-metallic, non-porous container. The two things you need to consider when selecting water dishes for your crabs are: How much water it will hold; and how deep the container is. If you have large crabs, you will need a larger container, obviously. Hermit crabs like to drag themselves (shell and all) into the water dish and just sit there sometimes. They may be replenishing their ‘shell water’ or they may be cleaning out their shells. It’s important you check the water dish daily, and make sure that it is clean and full of water. To clean the water dish, run it under the tap and dry it well with a dishcloth. The best water dishes I have seen are molded plastic or cement reptile-type dishes that look like rock, sea shells, plastic jar lids and individual-serving size small Pyrex casserole dishes. NEVER use anything metal as a water dish. Land hermit crabs are extremely sensitive to metal.

VERY IMPORTANT!  Be sure your water dish is not so deep that your smaller crabs will drown in it. If you have large crabs and small crabs together, put pebbles into the large crabs’ dish so a stray small crab will have a way to get out if it stumbles into the large dish. Smaller water dishes and jar lids don’t need a sponge in them, but a sponge is critical if you’re using a large clam shell, which may be very deep toward the middle-back areas. If the water seems deeper than your smallest crabs, don’t take the risk. Put a sponge into the dish.

Wash Yer Dishes!
You may notice when you refill the crabs’ water dishes that there is sometimes a slimy residue in the bottom of the water dishes. This ‘scum’ is probably the residue from the (traces of) oil that is used in many commercial crab foods. This oil is used since our hermies need a bit of it in their diet. However, this does NOT mean to add extra oil to their crab food or feed them extra oil — THAT could kill them! Another culprit could well be the oils from the natural foods (such as the coconut, etc.) you feed your crabs. The scum is probably a residue of this oil, combined with food particles and other items the crabs drag into the dish along with them. It is no cause for alarm. Just scrub out the scum (do NOT use any chemicals, a damp paper towel works perfectly).

To bathe or not to bathe?
There is a lot of debate among hermit crab lovers as to whether bathing land hermit crabs is in fact necessary. When I was growing up it was taken as gospel and was held that way until maybe three years ago at the most.

The arguments for and against bathing can both be made to sound very good.  Over the years what I have owned hermit crabs, however, I have come to stop bathing them completely. At first this was because I took into my care several species of exotic hermit crabs and I was unsure about their care. As time went by and all my crabs benefited from not being bathed, I decided to abandon the practice. Now my crabs receive a bath only after coming up from a molt, before being introduced to the rest, or in special circumstances.

The general rule for bathing is thus: If you keep the humidity level of the crabitat at the desired level (above 70% relative) then bathing is actually stressful to the crabs. This is not to say that hermit crabs should never be bathed. What they need is to be able to bathe themselves when they feel the need. You should provide them with dishes ofdechlorinated water (both fresh water and salt water) deep enough that the water will flow into the crabs’ shell when the crab climbs into the dish. That is approximately one full inch of depth for large crabs, and a half-inch or less for smaller hermies. IMPORTANT: ALWAYS PROVIDE A WAY FOR THE HERMIT CRABS TO CLIMB OUT OF THE POOL!  Add a snip of sponge, a shell or pebbles, but always, ALWAYS have something in the pool they can cling to if they are uneasy with being in the water or especially if smaller crabs tumble in by accident. Some species of hermit crabs are terrified of exposure to water. The Indonesian species Coenobita brevimanus in particular is very sensitive to any water exposure. You can read up on it here. After an initial very gentle bath, in which the crab is very slowly and gently immersed in the water and quickly removed, the crab should not be bathed AT ALL. In fact, if you isolate these crabs from the rest of your crabitat for a month and do not notice any sickness, you can probably skip bathing them altogether. Regardless, ALL hermit crabs MUST have the opportunity to enter water if necessary. The species Coenobita perlatus or “strawberry hermit crab” in particular suffers and dies a slow painful death if deprived of salt water.  All hermit crabs require salt water to regulate the saline content of their bodies.

Bathing new crabs and/or new molters
Hermit crabs that you just purchase from a pet store should be bathed, if to only get the grime off them and make them “smell the same” to the other hermit crabs.
New molters should also receive a quick and gentle bath once they have emerged from their underground molting hide-outs. New molters retain a smell of shed exoskeleton and smell like a delicious treat to other hermit crabs. To prevent cannibalism, you bathe them and wash off this molting smell. Remember that your hermit crab cannot tolerate chlorine, so please be sure to dechlorinate the bath water. The temperature of the water should be tepid, that is, about the temperature of the surrounding room (not noticeably hot OR cold). For a really special hermie bath, put in a couple drops of Stress Coat® (click on the name to find out why). Most people bathe their hermit crabs in dishes, mixing bowls and plastic containers. Take your hermit crab from his crabitat and try to get him to walk down your hand or arm into the bath water. If he won’t then you can slowly lower him into the bath by himself. Set him at the bottom of the ‘tub’ so he is fully immersed. After a minute, take him out of the bath, whether he comes out of the shell or not. NEVER leave a hermit crab unattended in the bath, as bathing makes them very active and they might crawl out and possibly run away and get lost in your home. Drain the excess water from his shell and allow him to dry off. Some people have special ‘playgrounds’ for their crabs to exercise in while drying off. Their ‘drying off area’ can be a simple as a shoe box with a paper towel in it to absorb the excess moisture. Place your dried-off hermie back in his crabitat and sit back and watch. They are incredibly active after their bath time and love to explore!

Spot Clean-ups
The introduction of crabs to a crabitat is an excellent time for you to clean and re-order things. Use a kitchen strainer or fish net to strain the sand to remove all crab poop, bits of exoskeleton and buried food. Shake the sand out of the empty shells and replace the food in the food dish. Put all their climbing toys back to where they were the week before, or arrange them differently for a new look. I strongly advocate that all crabitats be ‘remodeled’ occasionally to keep your crabs from becoming bored with their environment.


Toys!

Hermit crabs LOVE toys! They really enjoy climbing all over and hiding in almost anything you can give them. There are many varieties of ‘hermie toys’ available in your average pet store. Some of the better ones are:

  • Dried choya (or cholla) wood (they actually like to eat it too)
  • Sand-blasted grapevine
  • Driftwood in any shape or form
  • Plastic plants
  • Coral, barnacles and sea fans (coral also provides additional calcium)
  • Man-made ‘hermie huts’ for them to hide in
  • Man-made ‘half logs’ also as hiding places
  • Unpainted clay flower pots


So you see, there are all kinds of things you can put into your crabs’ tank to keep them interested and active. Just be careful and don’t put any resinous (evergreen) wood into the crabitat. Crabs are arthropods (in the same phylum as insects) and, just as cedar or pine irritates moths, it also annoys hermit crabs.

Sponge Care
A large (baseball-sized or larger) natural sponge in a dish with water in it, close to or over the substrate covering the undertank heater is VERY effective as a means of dispersing humidity into the air. The sponge helps to ‘pump’ the humidity into the air better by providing a larger surface from which the water evaporates. You might compare it to how quickly a kitchen sponge dries out, as opposed to the time it takes a dish of water to evaporate. The key to using the sponges is to have a couple of them, so they may be switched out on a regular basis to prevent any mold or bacterial growth. A thorough rinse in hot water only and a short soak in a sea salt solution, followed by a rinse in with some dechlorinated water helps to clean the sponges. Squeeze out the extra water and allow them to air dry. If additional disinfecting is needed, place the COMPLETELY DRY sponge in the microwave for two minutes. Don’t put it in the microwave when they are moist (or even damp), or it will quickly shrink up to nearly nothing! Large natural sponges can be expensive, and the upkeep of them is mandatory. Since they sit in water and the crabs crawl on them, they are a prime breeding site for bacteria which could kill your crabs. Anyone ‘electing’ to try this method needs to be aware that neglecting the cleaning of the sponge on a regular basis is asking for problems.

Handling
There is a lot of information floating around about the proper way to handle hermit crabs. Some people recommend picking the crab up by his shell, and others recommend placing the crab on your outstretched palm. The proper handling of hermit crabs is tricky; if you hold them by the shell, they could reach around and pinch your fingers. If you place them on your hand they could wander a ways and then grasp on to the flesh between the thumb and forefinger.

Ouch! So I Shouldn’t Hold Them?
It is perfectly fine for you to hold your hermit crabs. However you have to respect the crabs’ ability to pinch. They are in fact CRABS and most people associate crabs with claws. The key thing to remember when you are holding your hermit crabs is to not take your eyes off of them. If you are paying attention to your wandering crabbie, you cut down on your chances of getting nipped and you also reduce the possibility that the crab could escape from you and become “lost.” When you pick up your crab, always grasp him by the back of his shell. NEVER pick up a crab from the front, or put a crab in your pocket and close your fist around him. The crab will become alarmed and stick out the claw and pinch. Pick up the crab carefully by his shell. If it is a very active crab, be ready to quickly transfer him to another surface, such as a sofa or bed. If you want to hold the crab in your hand, keep an eye on it and make sure that it has room to both wander and also that it seems to be comfortable. A good example of a happy, held hermit crab is one that wanders from hand to hand without stopping. You do this by placing one hand horizontally in front of the other hand, giving the crab a continuous walking surface. Do not place your hands fingertip to fingertip — because there is not enough surface area and the crab will become alarmed and pinch.

Handling Tips for New Crab Owners
Be especially cautious with new crabs that you don’t know, crabs that have in most cases been abused at the pet store and have every right to be pinchy. Think about it — if someone picked you up and poked at you all the time, you’d pinch too!

One of the reasons that new crabs pinch is because they are literally starving to death and they automatically pinch onto things, in the vain hope that they might snag some kind of food. A friend and I once went into a pet store and found a jumbo crab who was pathetically pinching the air about every 3 minutes and bringing up his empty claw to his mouthparts. It was heartbreaking, and on the way home with us, he ate an entire cracker all by himself.

A simple suggestion that plays on this is to feed your new crabs well, and try not to play with them for the first few days they are living with you. Use gloves if you are nervous. There is nothing wrong with protecting your skin from a crab that you don’t know. Thinner gloves are better because then you can feel the crab walking and get used to his weight on your hand. If you’re nervous about them however, thicker gloves are fine. Start out by holding the crab over a bed or sofa, so if the crab makes a move that startles you and you drop him, he will land on a soft surface and not be harmed. Never allow a child to hold a new pet crab in a kitchen, bathroom or other areas with uncarpeted floors. A fall from three feet or more onto a hard surface can be fatal (the crab’s delicate internal organs rupture). So please supervise all children with their new crabbies until they are comfortable with the crab and respectful of the crushing power of his claws. On the one hand, a softball-sized hermit crab can completely crush a No. 2 pencil in seconds with the large claw. On the other hand, the large crabs are generally more gentle. Respect the claws and you won’t be caught by surprise.

Helping Children Get Used to the Crabs
When I was a little girl, one of my favorite ways to play with my hermies was to lay on my stomach and put my arms out in front of me in a big circle, and put the crabs in the circle. They would crawl around in there, and I got used to how their feelers and legs feel on my skin (inner arms) without worrying too much about being pinched. If you have plush carpeting you can put down a blanket. Sometimes they try to escape underneath the armpit, but then since they were on the floor already, I’d just move myself and make a new circle around them, or roll them back into place.

CRITICAL CARE TIPS!! CRITICAL CARE TIPS!! CRITICAL CARE TIPS!! CRITICAL CARE TIPS!! CRITICAL CARE TIPS!!I’ve often been asked “What is the single most critical element of keeping land hermit crabs alive?” The answer to that question would have to be keeping their environment humid. Land hermit crabs have modified, stiffened gills which allow them to breathe air. They are GILLS, however, and not lungs, so are not able to breathe as we do. The air a hermit crab breathes has to be humid or the gills will dry out and the crab will endure a long unpleasant death of suffocation, similar to a human’s death by dehydration. To make sure your crab does not suffer this awful, very common fate, make sure the humidity in your crabitat is kept at a steady humidity level. Make sure of this by purchasing ahumidity gauge, and check it daily. Most humidity gauges read relative humidity, so unless your gauge specifically says it reads [b]actual[/b] humidity, you want to keep it at at least 70%. Many crabbers report success with a humidity reading of between 70% and 80% relative humidity. If you are forced to house your crabs in a plastic critter keeper, use plastic wrap to cover the holes on the lid to trap humidity, or place a warm moist towel over the lid for an immediate humidity boost. If your crabs live in a glass aquarium, you can purchase a glass lid for it at most pet stores. Since the glass lids store flat and out of the way, many pet store employees might not be aware they stock them. Go to this site and print out a picture of the lid so they will know what you are looking for. Note that the All Glass Aquarium Company also makes most aquarium sizes and posts them (with their dimensions) here. Look for your tank (or the want you want to buy) in the left-hand margin and click on the appropriate link. This site comes in handy if you happen upon a ‘leaker’ or used tank and are not sure of its size. Do not overdo the humidity, however. Like all things, too much of it can be bad for the crabs and can cause unhealthy bacteria to bloom in their habitat. I have personally gone for months without a single crab death, and I firmly believe that having adequate humidity in the tank is the main reason. If your hermies are acting listless and bored, check your humidity gauges, it might be that they are struggling for breath.

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