Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Poll: What do you think of Haha Crabs?



Haha Crabs are hermit crabs in painted shells being sold as pets in Singapore. Read more at: Haha Crabs Website

31 comments:

MiniBlueDragon said...

Erm... Hermit Crabs don't have a shell, they simply move into a shell abandoned by other crabs... How is a crab making a conscious decision to 'move home' classed as "cruel or unethical"?

You guys are applying a uniquely human perspective (it's not a natural colour, thus it is cruel!) to a creature that uses the shell SOLELY for protection... I'm sure it doesn't really care if it lives in a rainbow-coloured shell or a bright blue one if it's getting the protection it wants from the shell!

Cassidy Jayne said...

I'm a tad bit confused here. The celebrities die their poodles pink and it is considered normal. Why is this any different? And as the comment before mine said, the shell isn't a part of them it is their home. We should start taking pictures of peoples houses and seeing what people think of these oddities. I think as long as the hermit crabs, like every other animal in the world, could be a fine pet and there is no issue here. Also, just think of how many hermit crabs there must be in the world...

Marcy said...

It's not the colored shell part of keeping a hermit crab that is cruel. Hermit crabs aren't really meant as pets but damn, coloring their shells is a cool idea though, unless you actually put them out in the wild...

Though I disagree with keeping a hermit crab as a pet, I can't help but find them adorable... D:

The Patriot said...

Join the revolution people!

Oberon said...

.....it's time to change the world....what are you waiting for?

Monkey said...

Thank you for your comments everybody. I'm very happy to hear what people think about these hermit crabs. I won't say too much first so as not to ruin the surprise. This is leading to a post on my volunteer group's stand on these painted shell hermit crabs. Especially since the group is called the Naked Hermit Crabs, I've gotten many questions on our stand on these pets. We'll see. This is all very interesting for me. I love hearing what people have to say. haha keep me connected with general sentiments :)

Wenjian said...

Hello congrats for this site making it into Blogs of Note! Reading your entries really give me the push to do more for the environment. =)

An inspired NUS Yr 1 Geog junior

thru the eyes of ruby said...

Untill this morning I had no desire for a Hermit Crab, now I want one. But not just any Hermit Crab, I want one with a brightly painted shell that reflects my own personality. I have a feeling that my mind will be changed once your volunteer group's stand is posted. So I will hold off on purchasing such.

Monkey said...

ruby: thanks for holding it off ;)
Honestly the issue is really with keeping a hermit crab for a pet and not so much with the shell. it's precisely like what Marcy said. That's the gist of it. so yep Marcy you beat me to it :D

Hermit crabs are absolutely adorable but sadly, just like the problem keeping "nemos" (clownfish) as pets... despite the fact that they are utterly adorable, they really don't belong in our homes and tanks.

I still prefer seeing hermit crabs in the wild. They look just as cute in the wild. The only difference is, they survive longer in the wild!

With pets comes great responsibilities. Most of which us urbanites are unable to handle.

Hai~Ren said...

Here's my personal take on this:

Hermit crabs of course, CAN make excellent pets. It is a matter of whether people are actually able to provide their basic needs.

Sad to say, too many people keep pets, conventional or otherwise, for all the wrong reasons. Maybe only because it's "cute". Or because it's "different". Or maybe because it's fierce or dangerous-looking and lets you show off to your friends. Whatever the case, I would not be surprised if even today, the majority of these hermit crabs end up dying of neglect or improper care.

I hope that one day, there will be a way to breed and culture these hermit crabs in captivity; many of the colourful shrimps you see in reef aquariums are increasingly captive-bred; this will definitely be easier on my conscience, considering the reduced impact on wild hermit crab populations. Of course, when the time comes that captive-bred hermit crabs become available on the market, it's another matter of whether people realise the value of a captive-bred hermit crab over a wild-caught one, even if the captive-bred one might be more expensive.

And even if I end up having land hermit crabs as pets one day, I'm staying far, far away from those hideous painted shells. There are a number of websites and forums dedicated to serious hermit crab owners warning of the dangers and health risks of painted shells.

I recognise that there will always be people out there who will desire to have a slice of the wilderness in their homes. We can argue until we're blue in the face whether it is ethically or morally "right" to have pets. Personally, whether or not collection of hermit crabs for pets is sustainable (collecting on Singapore's fragile shores = definite NO), and whether people out there are serious enough to provide the best possible care for these creatures, are my main concerns.

Of course, at the end of the day, I still prefer the thrill of finding these hermit crabs in the wild. I've yet to find a wild Coenobita myself...

And please, keep those painted shells away from me. Aren't the natural colours of these shells beautiful enough without our perverse alterations?

Monkey said...

Hai~ren wrote:
"There are a number of websites and forums dedicated to serious hermit crab owners warning of the dangers and health risks of painted shells."

Do share what these danger and health risks are please. And ivan, please summarise key points :P Ive been trying to find out what health risk there are but nobody has mentioned. Do share please! thank you :)

Ayden said...

Ok, I feel like that hermit crabs don't really care what they're shell looks like as long as it does it's job. My friend has three of these, all painted insanly, she takes care of them regularly, ect, ect. I dunno how you test the happiness of a hermit crab, but I think they'd be pretty happy.
I'm sorry, but I don't get it- How is this inhumane? My brain turns off after school lets out, and...Heeeyy. We should have some sort of debate like this is bio or something....Hmmm...

Hai~Ren said...

A quick perusal of Google and the hermit crab websites reveal the following potential dangers:

(i) Potential toxicity of the paint and lacquers used. Due to the nature of the substrate (sand), it is inevitable that some of the paint might chip or flake off, and be ingested by the crabs.
(ii) Build-up of paint and lacquer, especially on the inside of the shell, might cause the crab to be trapped inside, or cause stress and irritation due to chemicals in the paints.
(iii) Unscrupulous dealers might even paint the shells with the crabs inside, causing the crabs to become stuck and glued to the shell. Movement, feeding, moulting and other behaviours are impeded, leading to death.
(iv) It's said that there are a number of cruel methods to "force" the crabs to give up their original shells and move into the painted ones, but barring actual documented evidence, these might be urban legends, though certainly not impossible.

Logically, painted shells in some situations would be alright, depending on the nature of the paints used, as well as the methods employed to get the crab to shift to a painted shell.

http://www.crabstreetjournal.com/articles/lhcosociety/paintedshells.htm
http://www.petitiononline.com/pshells/petition.html
http://www.thecrabbagepatch.com/shells.html
http://www.crabzilla.net/care.php#shells
http://msgboard.snopes.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=24;t=001450;p=0

On a personal note, I dislike painted shells, because it then seems that the hermit crabs are kept more as moving ornaments and pretty decorations, rather than living, breathing entities with their own needs for survival. Which questions the whole motivation behind keeping them in the first place; do people keep them because they are fascinating creatures in their own right? Or just because people find it "cute" that they have a bunch of pretty hand-painted shells with hearts or football patterns scuttling about in an aquarium? The hermit crabs might not be harmed, and they might not seem to care what we think about their shells, but it does raise a number of questions behind people's motivations for keeping them as pets in the first place.

It's like how in the past, some people would paint the shells of turtles and tortoises for decorative purposes, not knowing the harm of such practices.

With regards to land hermit crabs not breeding in captivity, I did a bit of checking around. Land hermit crabs have bred in captivity, but such occurrences are exceedingly rare, even for the most dedicated hermit crab owners. The most important hurdle is the fact that although the hermit crabs are terrestrial, they still have a planktonic larval stage. But given the progresses that have been made with breeding a wide variety of marine fish, crustaceans, and even hard corals and giant clams on a commercial scale, I suppose that one day, captive-bred land hermit crabs will be widely available.

Mona said...

The original photograph on flickr says they were on sale in New Jersey while your blog says they're on sale in Singapore. So where is it? The only reason I want to know is because of the difference between US$ and SG$... either I can afford them or I can't.

Ellie said...

I honestly don't know what to say about my opinion on this. I think it is an awesome idea, but isn't kind of like mockery to the crabs? I will respect anybody else's opinion only if they respect mine.

Ellie from MY WORLD THROUGH BROWN EYES.

Monkey said...

ah yes, i was trying to look for photos on flickr and those were the best I can find. Yes those are taken in the US. Just to give an idea of how these crabs look like...

Maybe I shouldn't have chosen such a cute picture haha now everybody wants to buy one.

I don't know what the prices are in US or Singapore.

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Grayle said...

Iol I wouldn't like it if someone vandalized my home...and sold it.

Monkey said...

well said grayle! i couldn't have said it better :)

Ayden said...

Oooh, ok. I get it now. Yeah, under certain circumstances it can be inhumane, but under others, the crabs wouldn't nesecarily be harmed.
Hey, thanks, hai~ren. Never thought I'd learn something on Thanksgiving!

Shadoe said...

I want a crab....

Di said...

Hermit crabs should be left out on the beach and where ever they naturally wander. It's as simple as that.

There are enough toxins in the environment to harm us all... Granted, they aren't pouring paint on the faces of these crabs..but look at them piled up on top of each other in that picture... This whole situation is ridiculous. Leave the creatures alone. It's absurd there's a market for making a creature of nature such a novelty and endangering them at the same time. We don't *need* to do this to the crabs.

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Fish and Garden freak said...

YOU SHOULDN'T PAINT HERMIT CRABS SHELLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! First off, you have to force them out of their shell by shocking them burning them ect.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Then sometimes the paint isn't dry and the crab is STUCK IN THE SHELL FOREVER BECAUSE THEY ARE GLUED INSIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Julia said...

I am telling you people that don't understand why this is cruel and unethical... The paint on all painted hermit crab shells can chip off from a hermit crab's pincher. A hermit crab will eat anything available to them! Thus, they will eat the paint flakes even if the paint is so-called "hermit-safe"! The practices used to get these crabs into the shells are such terrible, cruel methods that I don't even want to speak of them. Us hermit crab activists are trying to stand up to this animal cruelty as much as we can by posting on people's blogs like this one, and informing the uninformed. So to all of you who are considering buying a hermit crab, please go to http://hermitcrabassociation.com/ to treat your pet the way you should!
Thanks,
The HCA
http://hermitcrabassociation.com

Brianna said...

hello. i have a new hermit crab. before i found all this stuff out i got him. what can i do to get him out of his batman shell. i love my hermitcrab already and would hate myself if it died. i dont know when it is going to molt so do you have any tips on what i can do!?

Brianna said...

can i gently scrape the paint off of my hermits shell or would that hurt him?

Brianna said...

i have so many questions on hermits because this is my first one ever. i know a little bit on how to care for it but i never knew about all of this. the shocking and burning stuff that is horrible! oh by the way my name is brianna holt. but call me milo.i dont have any more money left and i dont think that i have enogh sand for my hermit to burrow and i have no idea when his next molt is. and could he possibly be glude into his shell because he hasnt came out sense i got him.

Monkey said...

brianna, don't panic. since you already got him, there's nothing you can do. i don't think he's glued to the shell (i hope!) don't scrape the paint off. that will just stress your crab out. just don't buy another hermit crab ever again ok? :)

Meliu said...

The paint will most likely kill the turtle. It will eventually chip off and the hermit crabs will consume the paint. In addition, when hermit crabs are given the option between a painted shell and natural one, the hermit crab usually prefers the natural one.