Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rude People

Rude people can just "jog on" for all I care. Why would someone take the time to go out of their way to be rude? I have better things to do. Apparently I don't have better things to do than complain about it though, so enough said on the matter.

Have a wonderful day filled with the happiness you deserve and all the manners the world can offer you!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Weekend Away

My husband's company was voted the best place to work in the US in its size category. As a reward, the company invited the department my husband works for and another department (nearly everyone, it seemed) to hang out in Orlando for the weekend. What's fun is, my husband's team is half-remote, meaning they work out of state and so had to fly in, where we only had to drive up. So my husband got to meet the New Guy on his team and such. Kinda cool.

The company paid for 2 nights at the Portifino Bay hotel, which is all done in an Italian style. Their main central courtyard has fake Vespas sitting all over and lots of outdoor seating. There's a little marina, which is very quaint, and ducks therein, who come up to the "dock" to be fed in the evening. I wanted to slap the parents of the child who decided to run around chasing the ducks after a serene scene of lots of people feeding bunches of the ducks. Really, what's wrong with people? Is it so hard go say "Billy, no!" and take him somewhere more appropriate to run around? /Sigh. There were 3 pools, none of which we used, and one that showed movies on a screen in the evening for the kids. Very cool. I liked the hotel a lot, but the Royal Pacific is more to my liking as it has sentimental value and I think the decor is more my style. I think the Portifino is a "nicer" hotel, but is not my favorite of the two. We never got to have a gellato at the "gelloteria" downstairs, but we had some very nice pastries there.

Friday, the company gave everyone a half day and we drove up. We got there around 6, just as the dinner was starting, but went to our room to...relax a bit... and change clothes before going downstairs. We did the dinner reception, which was quite nice, better than I thought it would be. It had bunches of carving stations and the food was good: ceasar salad, roast turkey, roast beef, tortillini with either marinara or pesto, and a dessert and coffee bar with lots of fruits and marshmallows to dip in hot dark chocolate. Plus free drinks, of which I had several Baileys on the rocks. We spent about 2 hours there, just talking to people Dave worked with and making sure to say at least "hello" to everyone. It was nice, but hot. The weather was predicted to be in the 60s at night and 80s during the day. It was in the upper 70s or low 80s at night and 90s during the day. It was baking hot. There was a DJ and mostly just little kids danced. Same with the face painting - but I don't think adults are meant to engage in that.

Saturday we got tickets to the theme parks on the company for one day to both major parks. We've been to Universal and Islands lots of times. In fact, our passes just expired a couple of weeks ago. We could use our room key to "fast pass" the rides, meaning we never had to stand on line. There's a separate fast pass line, which includes people who used the little ticket booth to buy a fast pass to that particular ride. You get the ticket 2 hours in advance, do something else, then come back and get in the fast pass line. Its good but not nearly as convenient as using your room key instead. We did the parks super fast that way. We went over to Islands first and rode the Hulk (coaster) and Spiderman (an amazing ride), but then left there to go to the other park and ride a few things. We hit Shrek (which is a show, not a ride), then the Mummy ride (a coaster), the new Simpsons ride (which is pretty cool and in the style of Spiderman), and saw the T2 show to get in from the sun. We also had lunch in that park, which was hot dogs and chili fries, per Dave's tummy's request. We drank lots of water but it was mega hot and we both got a little sun, ruining my very even tan. :( It was still only 1pm by the time we left that park and went back to Islands. There, we rode Cat in the Hat (ride), and watched the fountain for awhile. The fountain is just a fountain, stone fountain, but it has a microphone inside and speakers. Kids will come up and the fountain will ask a question or squirt the kid with water and whatnot. Its the same things everytime, but different voices and levels of smart-alleck. We love to sit there and just chill, but they need an ice cream shop nearby. The kids always get soaked, complain they're cold or wet, then try to taunt the fountain into squirting them. the fountain refuses, of course, and goads the kids into trying again. Its good fun. We got turned around as there were walls where the walk through usually is because they're building a Harry Potter area (open in 2010). I don't think we rode anything else there, just walked a little and ate ice cream. The sun beat us both to death and we went back to the hotel to shower and cool off by watching some TV - Con Air was on.

Saturday evening I had booked us massages, so we went down to the hotel's spa and did that. Good massages which were over too fast (they always are) and they put us in the same room, which surprised us. Then we changed and took the ferry boat over to City Walk (the little area for shopping and dining and clubbing outside Universal) and had dinner and many margaritas at Margaritaville. There was a live band playing and a DJ in between sets. It was fun and the food and drinks were good. I could have stayed longer but I think we were a little too close to the band and the music was quite loud, so Dave was ready to go. After 90 min there, not one Jimmy Buffett song, which was odd to me. Upon standing, the room pulled a tilt-a-whirl on me and I realized my tasty drinks were alcoholic and had an effect. I knew I had a buzz, but it didn't hit until I stood. A moment later, I had my bearings and we dipped back to the boat and the hotel.

Sunday we slept in and drove home. On the drive home, we encountered two amazing assholes on the Turnpike. Around mile marker 183 and about to the West Palm toll plaza, there were two cars being excessively reckless. I was stunned. When I tried to call highway patrol (*FHP from your cell phone), Dave discouraged me, stating we'd have to pull over and make a report and they'd get away. I disagreed, but did hang up, frustrated that this was just going to continue to occur without punishment. There were two cars: a green Honda Civic, license plate L813MA, and a black Nissan Maxima, license plate 547KAA. The two cars would pull up alongside one another on the 2 lane highway and slow down enough to be matching their speeds (thus slowing down everyone else too) and hand some piece of paper from the driver of one car to the passenger of another. This happened THREE times. If you know of how I can report this kind of bullshit, please do comment to my blog. Its dangerous and reckless and there's no reason for it.

Oh, and also on Saturday, I bought an awesome pair of sunglasses by Maui Jim. I'm generally an Oakley-only girl, but it was at the Oakley store that I bought them, so I think I'm alright on that front. They're amazing -the layers let in just the right amount of light indoors or out and you don't squint as you step outside as they seem to adjust for you. They're fantastic.

All in all, a very good weekend. I'm quite glad the company footed the bill and it allowed us some alone time to just have fun together. Thanks to my parents for watching the boy while we were away.

Back to the work week now, I suppose. /sigh

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hermit Crabs - the real deal

I've had my hermit crabs now for only 4 months. But in that time I've done tons of research and learned a lot about the lil guys through some trial and error, but mostly by being willing to take good advice when I heard/read it. At this time, I have 12 crabs ranging from Tiny (about the size of a nickel) to medium (about the size of a golf ball or slightly larger). They all coexist nicely and have great digs.

This article is meant to be a quick guide for anyone interested in owning hermit crabs, or improving the conditions of their own crabitat.

The initial cost is fairly high, but the monthly cost is very low. Fairly minimal cost for a pet.

Feeding will be every 2 days. Water will need to be refilled every 3-7 days depending on how deep your dishes are. Cleaning will need to be done monthly. Cleaning will probably take about 30 minutes. That's it! Very low maintenance.

Painted shells:
Just a quick word about painted shells. Never! That's the word. Never. Cool? Okay. Why? Oh, alright. Paint is toxic to animals who are adapted to breathe through gills on land and they nibble the edges and it wears off in the home and eventually kills them. Good enough, huh? Plus, pets aren't decorations. Shells are beautiful. Let them be. Further, the places that make the shells and the process to get them into them is inhumane. Remember the word for painted shells? Never. Good. Moving on.

I'll go into detail here as to what you REALLY need to save you the time and expense of doing it "wrong" and having to go back and re-buy or do again. Bleh to that! If you'd like to see my previous attempts, (lets call it progress) you can look HERE and HERE and HERE. To save you the trials of it all, I'm going to condense it and tell you what it cost me. I'll leave out what I spent that DIDN'T need to be bought so you can do it once and do it right.

I promise you that if you buy these things, and just this, you'll have a perfect crabitat out of the box and can get your lil hermies home and happy right away.
  • 20.00 20 gallon long tank - bigger is better, but this is a great size for up to medium crabs. Want it cheaper? Try FreeCycle or CraigsList or ask the pet store if they have any tanks that will not hold water. You're not putting water in, so a small crack is okay! You may get half price or even free.
  • 20.00 4 hermit crabs - they are social. You need 3, get more depending on how big your tank is.
  • 7.00 Instant Ocean from the aquarium section of the pet store - this is for salt water.
  • 6.00 Hiding log, just taller inside than your largest hermit crab = Biggie.
  • 10.00 Coco hut, textured for climbing, not the smooth ones, opening large enough for Biggie.
  • 15.00 Coco mat, 10 gallon size, climbing surface on back wall of tank.
  • 10.00 Flat glass lid (not mesh) to fit your tank.
  • 6.00 Fluker's moss from the reptile section of the pet store.
  • 25.00 Extra shells for the crabs - at least 2 each, more is better. The opening should be about the size of the current opening and some larger shells. Your crab should be able to duck inside without being lost in there, and have his big pincher cover the opening for protection from birds and such. Pet store, craft store, online sites, eBay. When you buy, ask for an extra "feeding clam shell" - a half clam shell that's fairly deep that you can give food in. Should be thrown in free.
  • 8.00 Driftwood or Mopani wood or Cholla wood for climbing - Target, craft store, pet store.
  • 4.00 Food dish from pet store - hamster/ferret/hermit/reptile bowls, just 1
  • 20.00 Temperature and humidity gauge, digital is best, reptile section.
  • 5.00 Calci-Sand, reptile section.
  • 4.00 Playsand from the Home Depot - 50 pound bag. Get one from indoors, near cement.
  • 2.00 Thin velcro strips with tape backs from the home improvement store.
  • 4.00 Natural sea sponge - painting section of home improvement store. Not fake!
  • 1.00 Gallon of distilled water from grocery store
  • 3.00 Two Gladware containers at 2/3 cup each, kinda deep, deeper than Biggie.
  • 5.00 Fake flowers from the craft store, include vines and whatever you think will look nice.
  • 4.00 Two soap caddies from the bath section of Target with good suction cups on them.
  • 1.00 Pebbles or glass marbles, just 1 small bag from craft or pet store.
  • 10.00 The good food - order it online HERE - type in your species and get the "mix". If you're confused, email the site, they'll get right back to you and suggest something. They will also send you loads of free samples to try out and see what your lil guys like for next time.
$190.00 Yeah, well...that's initial set up. After that, all you have to update is the food at $10 every 2 months or so. And if you feed them fresh stuff too, even less.

Ready to setup:
You got your supplies and you're ready to setup. Great!
  • You cleaned the tank, right? You can use vinegar and a sponge if it's used. Let air dry. Crabs are sensitive to smells!
  • Staple the strips of velcro to the coco mat all over the edges. Tape the other side to the tank. Adhere.
  • Mix about 1 Tbsp Instant Ocean with 2 cups distilled water. I find this amount stores nicely in a used water bottle for easy pouring. Fill a second used water bottle with regular distilled water for easy carrying. Label the salt container.
  • Pour enough sand in the tank to make it twice as deep as your largest crab is tall. Deeper is fine. Do think ahead to maybe you'll get bigger crabs at some point, just in case. Add salt water and mix by hand until it is sand castle consistency. You may need to make more salt water.
  • Arrange your coco-hut, climbing wood, hiding log, moss pit (just kind of toss it all in a corner, or however you like), water dishes (Gladware) with the glass pebbles divided between them to coat the bottoms, food dish, feeding clam shell, sponge, and shell bins (soap caddies with suction cups) so they can get to everything. Drape your fake flowers into the water dishes so even the smallest crab can climb out should it fall in. This part takes the longest. I highly recommend that once you get it all how you like it, you leave it alone. So play all you want now. Create lots of shade (I use a hemp hammock from HERE for extra shade and climbing surface) and hiding places. Make sure they have easy access to food, water, and shells.
  • Add the temperature and humidity gauge. Make sure you can see it with your decorations.
  • In the feeding clam shell, put some Calci-Sand. Calcium deficiency is the number one reason for cannibalism - and you don't want any of that! Its also a necessary nutrient for molting, which is necessary as to not die - good stuff.
  • In your food dish, at night time (they're nocturnal) give a pinch of your good food. If you also feed fresh, use a separate container to avoid spoiling. I replace the dried food (wiping out the bowl) every 2 nights. Fresh food must be taken out each morning. They like loads of fresh foods including fruits and veggies and plain meats - they're scavengers. Check THIS out for more information.
  • Make more salt water. Fill one dish with salt water (pick which one you'll remember - I suggest the one closest to the wall or the one on the side of the hand you write with - can't mix em up) and one with distilled water. See, isn't pouring from the little bottles easier? I think so.
  • Put shells in shell bins. I use a single layer, opening up. People do it all different ways. When your crabs need a shell, they'll figure it out.
  • Add lid.
  • Do all finishing touches.
  • Add crabs, gently.

Sounds like a lot of work, but if you like decorating / arranging, its not, not really.

And that's it. You're done. All you have to do is maintain now. Simple, huh? Yep!

You'll see them wander around for awhile then settle in for a good hide. At night they'll be up and roaming again. Some scratch the glass with their feet, so they may not be good in a bedroom. Mine live in the office of our house.

Some people will say you need a heater and lights. Lights are not necessary. A heater is necessary only when it is cold - and then depending on where you live. In South Florida I'll never need a heater.

My crabs love walnuts, honey, and plain popcorn. Its fun to try different things on them and see what they're drawn to. Remember not to give them preservatives or spices; go easy on their digestive tracts.

Here's my crabitat at present:Left side: shell bin, hiding log, shell big for large shells behind hiding log, digital gauge, substrate: Eco earth mixed with dry sand - tank is very humid.

Center: moss pit in plastic bath bin (to keep the moss out of the water dishes), mopani wood in the back, sea sponge, coco hut, hemp net held up by aquarium suction cups

Right: water dishes near front, fake flowers to climb out of the water, two cholla logs, coco hut, shell bin, food dish in back, two shell food dish in front corner attached to driftwood (worm casings in one side, calci-sand in the other)

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Movies with Numbers in the Title

Someone at work was telling me she and her boyfriend were waiting for a table at a restaurant and started compiling a list of movies with numbers in the title. Dave and I tried last night and got a pretty good list going.

Ordinals (first, second, last) do not count. Sequels do not count.

How many can you think of?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


I play this time-waster site called NeoPets. Its a virtual pet, but it never dies so upkeep is low. There's loads of games to play in all types of categories. Its free and addictive. If you're interested, check it out by clicking on my brown Ixi below.

fairiefire got their Neopet at

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Best Movies to Impact Our Generation

I'm a Gen Xer. My friend Greybarr and I were talking about the must see movies of our generation and I was looking for a place to compile a list for a few days before I remembered I had a blog. Duh. Alrighty then.

Must see movies are not necessarily the best movies. Some things that make a movie must-see are the content and some things are the parody and quotes from it. For instance, some old must-see movies include: Soylent Green, Psycho, West Side Story, and Citizen Kane.

The parameters are still under construction, but here is part of the list:

Idiocracy - 2007
Holy Grail - 1975
Usual Suspects - 1995
Pulp Fiction - 1994
Reservoir Dogs - 1992
Pump Up the Volume - 1990 (hawkke)
Princess Bride - 1987 (hawkke)
Heathers - 1989
Clerks - 1994 Proof that we cannot eliminate black and white films from the list
Dogma - 1999
Chasing Amy - 1997
Matrix - 1999
Interview with a Vampire - 1994
Silence of the Lambs - 1994
Lost Boys - 1987
Face Off - 1997 (dave)
True Romance - 1993 (dave)
Breakfast Club - 1985
Memento - 2000 (hawkke)
Good Will Hunting - 1997 (hawkke)
Eternal Sunshine on a Spotless Mind - 2004 (hawkke)
Goodfellas - 1990
With Honors - 1994 (hawkke)
Empire Strikes Back - 1980 (hawkke)
Aliens - 1986 (hawkke)
Terminator 2 - 1991(hawkke) - wait, T2 but not T1 - 1984? That's not right.
Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure - 1989 hawkke
Wayne's World - 1992
Austin Powers - 1997
28 Days Later - 2002
Shaun of the Dead - 2004
Kung Fu Hustle - 2004
Indiana Jones & the Raiders of the Lost Ark - 1981(dave)
Remo Williams - 1988
Fargo - 1996
Goonies - 1985
Jerry Maguire - 1996
Pay it Forward - 2000
Kill Bill - 2003
Being John Malkovich - 1999
Lord of the Rings - 2001
Die Hard - 1988(dave)
Office Space - 1999
The World According to Garp - 1982
Dead Poet's Society - 1989
Forrest Gump - 1994
Dazed and Confused - 1993

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Fun little blog activity 2

I liked the last one so much (see entry in April) that I thought I'd try it again, this time on Photobucket.

I swore I wouldn't blog about other people's blogs. And this isn't. Kinda. Kinda isn't. So therefore it kinda is. Sigh. I give up. /becomes slave to internet culture. Found this little activity HERE.

Go to a photo hosting site
Type in your answers to the questions and post the first image you get as your solution. Here's mine:

What is your first name?
(Autumn - I'm guessing that's the little girl's name also)

What is your favorite food?

What school did you go to?
(Long Beach Poly - my high school - go Jackrabbits!)

What is your favorite color?
(deep blue)

Who is your celebrity crush?
(Brad Pitt - yum)

Who is your favorite Disney princess?
(Alice in Wonderland - she counts!)

Favorite drink?

Dream vacation?
(Japan cherry blossom festival)

Favorite dessert?
(chocolate mousse - um...)

What do you want to be when you grow up?
(psychologist - could they find a smaller picture?)

What do you love most in life?
(sleeping in, although perhaps there are loads of things I like better, but in keeping consistent with my last answer, to see how Photobucket differs from Flickr, that was my answer)

One word to describe you?
(intelligent - I don't know that guy, but perhaps he's an astrophysicist)

What do you dream about?
(traveling - WTF?)

I'm going to go ahead and judge Flickr the winner over PhotoBucket in this challenge.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Molting? - Crab Experiences

I redid Shell Beach for the hermit crabs (Not Sure, Rita, Frito, and Upgrayedd). I think I'm better utilizing the space. They sure like to climb! Upgrayedd, being the largest and most active, is often around the edges of the top. Crazy escape artist.

Here's some pictures of the newly redone tank. Upon the advice of some people at the Forum, I readded the wet sand I'd removed - thinking it would mold - and being told that they need the wetter sand to dig down into, that the soft sand isn't good enough to dig into as it collapses in on them. /facepalm. Of course. Okay, so now the sand is much thicker too as I had taken several cups out before to dry and added it back in. Now I won't worry about the sand getting wet. I was always overfilling the bubbler, especially. For now, I have removed the bubbler as last night at 3am it vibrated itself off the stand and behind the stand making a horrible racket. In the pitch dark, I unplugged it and moved the stands, banging my back on the tv stand. Fun at 3am! Ah well. I'll put the bubbler in the freshwater bowl on the left if its not too noisy and after I think of a way to keep the bubbler pump from moving around. I'm thinking of using Velcro circles.
Above, fresh water with a sea sponge and shells in it. Most of these shells are too large, I think. The shells on the sand here are very small. The container is a GladWare sandwich container.
This container is the same type but has salt water and shells that I think are a better fit. No one has changed shells yet, but its only been a day. I'll be so excited to see them in pretty shells, but they seems to enjoy their mud-fashion they're all sporting. I had to overlap the hidey log (they don't use it anyhow) with the container as the smaller ones seemed to have a hard time getting out of the container on their own.

Do you think they'll be able to use the two sources of water appropriately even with shells in them? And will they shell change in the water?
See two of them in the back corner of the basket?But I'm wondering if Upgrayedd is molting? I came home today and did a head count. Two in the back corner of the basket. And...two missing? I found Upgrayedd in the back corner by turning the tank around as you see here.
(Picture immediately above is sideways, turn your head left.) You can see there he's active, red legs out and all. And there's loads of sand, even the dry line is visible. I tried to mix the moist and dry and the front is all mixed, but I didn't even think about the back under the basket. There is quite a bit of sand there for him. I'm just concerned to keep him healthy.

I cannot find the other one. What should I do?

Help. I'm worried for my crabs and don't know the proper care of them during a molting - if that's what this is. Do they just like to burrow sometimes?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Shell Beach

Welcome to Shell Beach. Do you get the bonus points for recognizing the movie reference? Dark City. There is no Shell Beach. But at my house there is! I set up the crabitat today and got Not Sure some friends. I felt that having more than one in my tiny tank previously was wrong and once I got the bigger tank set up, its good for more crabs.

Here's the full view of the crabitat.
Left: notice the big shell that's also a water dish with sea sponge. Behind it are the clay-colored salt-water bath and the green food dish with powdered hermit crab chow from the pet store. The little shell to the right is for treats - today's treat is freeze dried bloodworms from the pet store for feeding to fish. Behind that is the "bubbler" everyone seems so fond of for keeping humidity high. Its just a fish tank air tube and pump through an air stone. I submerged mine in an empty and cleaned plastic fruit cup (it was pears, in case you wondered) and covered it with river rocks I already owned.
Middle is shells shells shells.
Right is the hiding hut, a few pieces of driftwood, and the low end of the sand dune. I also added a piece of cuttlebone to the right but after I'd taken the picture.
With all the awesome shells to choose from, why would anyone use crappy painted shells? Nature is beautiful and colorful!
In case you're wondering what Not Sure's friends' names are, I stayed on the Idiocracy movie theme. They are: Rita, Frito (the lawyer), and Upgrayedd (the pimp) - he's the largest of them, because of his giant pimp-hand (er, purple pincher).

Total cost of my crabitat and its inhabitants (for those thinking of getting hermit crabs as pets):
00.00 10 gallon aquarium from someone on FreeCycle
20.00 hermit crabs x4 from PetSmart (I feel I "rescued" them all)
04.00 playground sand from Home Depot (50 pounds in one bag. I have more than half left)
10.50 shells, large and small shell for water/food, sea sponge from an eBay seller
11.00 shells, 1 full pound of them, assorted from another eBay seller
13.00 thermometer and humidity gauge in a 2-pack
01.50 cuttlebone (sold for birds) to supply necessary calcium
03.00 driftwood pieces x2
03.00 hiding log
08.00 air pump, air tubing, air stone for "bubbler" to keep humidity high
06.50 powdered crab food from pet store as a daily food
04.00 salt water conditioner for cleaning shells and adding to water
00.00 two plastic water bottles, one for clean and one for salty water for daily refilling (reused my own)
00.00 river rocks to put over bubbler, already had
00.00 plastic fruit cup to make use of bubbler
07.00 plexiglass lid for tank from Home Depot
04.00 special knife to cut plexiglass to fit

Now, could I have done it cheaper? YES! I could have found my own driftwood. I live on the beach. I probably could have got my own crabs too, but I'm okay with store bought. I probably could have gotten the salt water conditioner cheaper too. And next time, I will buy a larger size for a bigger savings, not the pet store's stuff.

But it gets worse. Husband, just skip this part...

Here's what the pet store sold me that I didn't need in their misguided efforts to make a sale and not know what a crab needs:
20.00 tiny plastic cage (as shown in my other post)
11.00 temperature and humidity gauge for another cage (I couldn't remove it)
09.00 calcisand - unnecessarily expensive! refer to my play sand above!
40.00 of stuff I do not need. Grr.
But, I will be using this second tiny tank as my isolation tank for a sick, injured, or molting crab. So at least I'm making the best of things.

Realistically, do you need to spend $100 to keep hermit crabs? Absolutely not! However, you do need basics. And basics are not always cheap, but regular maintenance after that is very very low. So over the long run, the good initial investment is worth a bit as they are a super cheap pet after you set them up to start with - much like fish.

Here's what you need:
  • Good sized tank. 10 gallon minimum. As big as you like, but remember they're not tall and don't fly, so long not tall.
  • Some kind of hiding thing. A coco-hut or a log or a fishtank accessory (not painted) or any number of woven baskets or things you may already have. Remember they're scavengers.
  • Something to climb. Again, like above, you may have stuff laying around that will suffice or branches in your yard.
  • A thermometer and hygrometer (humidity monitor). Do fork over the money for this, but anywhere from $5 to $50 depending on how fancy you like it. I'm fine with dials but you may prefer digital.
  • 4 dishes: clean water, salt water, food, treat. Use the caps from Gatorade bottles for the food and treat. Use baby food jar lids for the water, or peanut butter lids for the water, depending on the size of your crabs. Remember to change the water and refill the water and clean out the food dishes. You do NOT need to buy anything special.
  • A cuttlebone. Again, less than $2 at the pet store in the bird section.
  • Some crab chow. I like powder, you may like pellets. Some people make their own. I'm all about convenience. If I knew somewhere I could buy it cheap and pre-ground, I would.
  • A sea sponge. Not a regular sponge from the kitchen. Put this in the plain water so your crabs can still climb in the water, but if they need to, they can grab on to climb out and won't drown. Also helps with humidity.
  • The bubbler. Its optional, but its helpful. I also like the white noise they make.
  • 2 or more crabs of a similar size (so they can share shells and so small doesn't drown in large's water dish). Don't crowd your tank, but you can see after you add 1-2 how many will fit comfortably.
  • Some spare shells. Don't use the painted ones. Don't use the ones that look lacquered. Natural shells. Lots of places sell them. My pet store did NOT sell them. But look online and factor in shipping charges to see if its worth it. For me, with the flat shells or for a whole pound, it was worth it.
  • Special note: before you put stuff in your tank to stay (climbing or hiding things, extra shells), make up some of your salt water and boil your things in it. This decreases molding with the high humidity. What I did is took a large glass measuring cup, added salt additive, laid shells opening up, boiled plain water, and added the water to whatever line for the additive I'd put in (1 tsp for 3 cups, so 3 cups of water) and swished around. Dry thoroughly, preferably in the sun.
  • Keep in a low traffic area, they have a compound eye like a fly and can be jumpy. And out of direct sunlight, but not in a dark room (like my computer room, or a basement) as they need the light regulation to know when to be active.
  • They're nocturnal so keeping them in the bedroom may not be the best bet.
I hope this helps someone. I'm happy to answer with my novice opinion if you have anything to ask. Or I can probably refer you to some good sites.

Happy crabbing!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Fun little blog activity

I swore I wouldn't blog about other people's blogs. And this isn't. Kinda. Kinda isn't. So therefore it kinda is. Sigh. I give up. /becomes slave to internet culture. Found this little activity HERE.

Go to Flickr
Type in your answers to the questions and post the first image you get as your solution. Here's mine:

What is your first name?

What is your favorite food?

(Lumpia - although pictured is shrimp lumpia, looks much different)
What school did you go to?

(Long Beach Poly - my high school)
What is your favorite color?

(deep blue)
Who is your celebrity crush?

(Brad Pitt)
Who is your favorite Disney princess?

(Alice in Wonderland - she counts!)
Favorite drink?

(margarita, that's from Margaritaville, a postcard)
Dream vacation?

(Japan cherry blossom festival)
Favorite dessert?

(chocolate mousse)
What do you want to be when you grow up?

(psychologist - although not necessarily that particular psychologist, lol)
What do you love most in life?

(sleeping in, although perhaps there are loads of things I like better, but on the spot, that was my answer)
One word to describe you?

(intelligent - crazy picture, huh? some server)
What do you dream about?

(traveling - which I possibly like better than sleeping in, but I have to go back to work soon and needed an answer quick)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Hermit Crab as Pet

A few weeks ago I got a hermit crab. This is a land hermit crab, not the kind that lives underwater. The advertising and the good-hearted but under-knowledgeable people who work at my local PetSmart assured me that the "kit" they sold was fine for the raising of a single hermit crab.

Here's the kit I got. It came with the plastic container you see, the two plastic bowls inside, and a sponge about half the size you'd use for washing your dishes and the same material. I immediately added the two pieces of driftwood for climbing and bought some "substrate" which is the sand stuff at the bottom. The kind I bought is light-reactive, so it "glows" in the dark - rather for the few minutes after you turn out the lights there's a faint glow. Ah well. It came with a metal grating to suction to the back for them to climb but it had sharp edges and I didn't think it a good idea. Plus, it took up too much room. It further came with 2 really cheesy feeling shells that you'd get at a dollar store, not on the beach. I tossed those. I added a hiding log. There were no instructions what to do with the dishes or sponge so I threw the sponge in with some water and put food in the other. Turns out that is wrong and I essentially kept him from having anything to drink for the two days before I learned what to do. How many people buy these and never do further research? Loads of dead crabs I'm sure.
I picked a small crab as the housing seemed awfully small to me. Here's a close up of Not Sure, my hermit crab. If you can help me identify the variety, thank you! The name is from Idiocracy, a must-see movie.
Wanting to be a good pet owner, I went online and looked up loads of info about hermit crabs and crabitats (as their housing is called) and found that the cage I had purchased was way inferior. First off its way too small. Crabs can cover a mile at night (they're nocturnal) and like a drag racing strip to cruise along. There's no room for that in this cage. The instructions online said to fill one bowl with fresh declorinated water (I keep gallons for refilling my fishtank) and one with salt water. I didn't have that, so I went back to the store for generic crab food powder and additive for the water to make it salty. They need to bathe in each to keep themselves regulated. So where's the food go? And what do they eat and what do I do with it? First thing I learned was the substrate needs to be a few inches deep to be able to bury themselves to molt (kind of like a snake shedding skin). Check. You also have to keep the temperature and humidity at certain levels. South Florida, check. I bought little gauges to keep track. They need shells to change into. If their feet stick out of their shell, its too small. Yikes, mine already stuck out! And no painted shells, they're toxic and the paint gets into their system and flakes off, awful. So I found some awesome natural beautiful shells at Salt Water Cove (who has an eBay store) and bought them, eagerly awaiting their arrival each day. They came with some free clam shells (for putting the food in), a natural sea sponge to wet and let evaporate for humidity, and a big clam shell one to make a bath out of. Alas, I don't have the room for it yet. I am actively looking for a 10-gallon tank that is in my price range and have an ad on FreeCycle.

Know what else I learned? Despite the name, hermit crabs don't like to be alone. They're social. Sigh, PetSmart employees. But since I feel I'm nearly abusing my crab with the small living space, I won't get another until I have a bigger area for them. Then I will get no more than 3 more, based on the size of habitat I plan to have and I would like them all to be about the same size - for shell sharing and so they don't drown in too-deep bath water.

Today I was reading about how other people have made crabitats fun and workable. It sounds like a little money here and there, but ultimately once its done its self-sufficient. Just change the water and offer bits of new foods every few days. Alrighty. I was also reading about how they change shells and got to thinking that my crab hadn't changed shells yet despite I'd offered him 3 that seemed to have the right sized opening. I looked through the shells I'd bought and picked one slightly smaller wondering if it should have been in the batch and added it. I had Not Sure out on my desk while my cat, Toffee, watched intently and I held him tightly. He purred at the stimulus walking around on the desk but, being a mild mannered predator, didn't make a serious move for the crab. I put the cat on the floor and returned Not Sure to his tiny abode. I set him on the pile of shells and he immediately - and I mean IMMEDIATELY - started checking out the shiny white shell I'd added. What? All this time, I had the wrong size? Doh! Bad pet owner! I had just read that crabs will turn the shell over and over to get the sand out. It didn't mention that they stuff half their body in to pull it out with their feet too. Fascinating. Here's the before picture of him discovering the new shell, all excited like a crab at Christmas.
And here's the video of him actually changing shells. I was spellbound! Not Sure is very jumpy and easily frightened so I had to be perfectly still. I apologize for the video quality, but you can see it okay. My digital camera only has video as a secondary function, its just a perk, but since it was on my desk, I took advantage to capture my first ever shell change.

[Uploading video to Blogger was taking forever so here's your link on YouTube, which, by the way, also took forever to upload]

Here's good old Not Sure after his shell change into the pretty white shell. See how funky his old brown one was? I was so excited. Was? What's that? Don't you mean you ARE excited? No...
..after uploading the pictures, and while blogging this just afterward, Not Sure was unusually active walking around his tiny crabitat and having a salt water bath. Then the sneaky little bugger had what the Crabbage Patch refers to as "buyers remorse" and ever so quickly popped back into his old shell. Dangit, Not Sure! Maybe something about it itched him. I don't know. I do know that he's interested in a shell change, so I'll measure the one he tried on and get some more in that size for him, see if he won't change again. Good thing I was able to witness and get evidence of his shell change. Now that he's back to the old one, you'd never have believed it. Sigh.