Dear Hermit Crabs.
Why on earth do you exist and whatever was the supreme being thinking when she/he created you? Why do you even bother getting in a vacant shell, setting up camp, if the next thing we know you’re going to move on? Are you like that? Just a tenant with no thought of putting down roots (eww, just the thought of this makes my skin crawl) and no mind to the trashed shell you leave behind?
And why, pray tell, do you look like this:
I mean, look, I’m not a person who judges on apperance alone. I like to look beyond the crustacean, into the living, throbbing squish of the … OMG!thing. But YOU. You make me feel all crusty inside, make my skin prickle to the zenith, make me want to cringe as I watch your body of leggy, wobbly, stick-eyed goo EMERGE from this nice, innocent-appearing shell. Just. I don’t really know what to do when your legs unfurl … because … oh … but
And I CANNOT LOOK AWAY.
Last night, I found Mac and Pop gazing into the hermit crab tank while sitting on Pop’s bed chatting about amazing creatures. Fighting back my urge to say, ‘YOU TWO ARE SICK, WEIRDO, FREAK-MOTHERCUTTERS,’ to my life partner and child, I crept in softly, stifled a gag when I noticed that one of the four hermit crabs was creeping around on those leg things, and asked Mac what he thought of hermits.
We’re minding them for Pop’s lovely friend. She’s away for two weeks. Her mother failed to tell me that these creatures look like they are aliens from the Planet of Grossing Disgust and Gag Reflex. (They are a lovely family. I’d never judge them on their pet freaks and crustacean bent).
Mac turned with a smile and said, ‘yeah, they’re good. Bit boring, though.’
Boring? I looked beyond the glass as the single crab snuffled the food into the shell. It scrapped the black sand against its crawly, crustified, scuttly legs, moving its shell up and down so I couldn’t see its face. Seriously, it looked like a weird shell-thing that might be involved in a humpy, campy mating dance at crab corner. It was unsightly, but I couldn’t look away.
If I wanted to watch a hermit crab eat, I’d (possibly) seek psychiatric help. In hindsight, I think I need it. Mac proceeded to tell me, in typical style, about various facts relating to this particular unattractive monster. Things like the ‘shedding’ of the shell (which is NOT shedding, like a fur coat, but moving away from the shell). I’m sure he used that word ‘shedding’ to evoke strange feelings within all my sensory areas. Apparently, they’re not ‘fast enough’ for him to consider them anything but pretty boring.
Fast enough? I guess compared to, say, his BFF the Huntsmen spider?
Also, if you drop them, they will die. This is quite alarming, given that we are minding these gorgeous creatures for a lovely little girl, so I have persuaded Pop to leave them the fuck alone and not pick them up.
‘But mum! They need to be picked up!’
‘They don’t!’ I retorted. ’If we drop them, they’ll die. We don’t want to upset your friend by sending her back empty shells.’ Without the friggin alien heads inside.
Do they need picking up? (I asked Mac later).
Pop won out on this occasion, so under supervision (usually me) she picks em up and lets them walk on her palm. THIS IS WHAT FREAKS ME OUT A FAIR BIT. These creatures? They just kinda loom and materialize.
Oh, what a nice shell. Oh, my freaking god, there’s some sort of prehistoric spidery crab item you’ve got in there!!!!
Dear, dear Hermit Crab. Thanks so much for staying with us and scuttling round the sand, making ‘creaky, crabby, spindly’ noises at night. We’re having a stirfry for dinner soon. I wonder how you taste with some bok choy and coriander.
We’re hermit crabitareans.