Home Sweet Home

Usually plastic and the environment do not go hand in hand, but artist Aki Inomata uses plastic to create an environment for her little pet hermit crabs in “Why Not Hand Over a “Shelter” to Hermit Crabs?” (2009, 2010-2013).

With the help of CT scanning to render a three-dimensional model of an empty shell, Inomata creates her base and then builds houses atop these shell renderings. These architectural wonders mimic the style of popular dwellings, from Tokyo house-style to Paris apartments. 

With these plastic hermit crab habitats, Inomata wanted to explore not only the hermit crab’s adaptability to new surroundings, but how we adapt as well. Immigration, relocation, even acquiring a new identity or nationality is more or less the human version of growing out of a shell, and finding a new one to call ‘home’.

Not only is this series an amazing symbolic representation of our will to adapt, but also a fun way to learn more about the life and physiology of the hermit crab, as the dwellings are completely see-through. Have you ever wondered what a hermit crab’s body looks like inside its shell?

A video of both the hermit crabs in action and how the artist came about designing the shells can be found here.

-Anna Paluch

No pet is an easy pet.

Starting to get increasingly annoyed with people comparing hedgehogs to other small mammals like gerbils, hamsters, etc., even when they’re trying to use it as an argument that hedgehogs are higher maintenance. Yes, hedgehogs might need more equipment due to heating needs. But no, hamsters & gerbils aren’t “easy” pets either. They’re just much more common and the neglect and misinformation given out for them is much more widely accepted & ignored.

No pet is an easy pet.

Every animal has specific care needs. Every animal needs the proper enclosure, the proper handling and attention, and proper diet. Some are easier than others. Some might work better for a person’s schedule than others. All of them need to be researched for, all of them need their enclosure set up appropriately, all of them need some kind of continuing care & attention.

None of them are “easy”. If you want easy, get a stuffed animal or a pet rock.

  • Customer:Hi, I'm looking into getting some hermit crabs soon and I had a couple questions. First, I know some people say a heat lamp OR an under-tank heater is okay, but what's your opinion? And how many crabs do you think I could put in a 20 gallon tank?
  • Me:*wipes tear* God bless you sir

- hermit crabs are not throw-away pets. they can live 20+ years!

- they are not ‘easy pets’ either. you have to keep the tank humidity & temperature at 75+, which means a glass tank with a lid + a heater. you need both salt water and fresh water. you have to dechlorinate all water they come in contact with.

- due to the high humidity, be prepared to clean gross things out like mold.

- painted shells are very bad for them. please buy your hermit crabs natural shells at craft stores or online. read more on shells here.

- they need fresh food, not pellets. here is a safe food list.

- they molt, which means you have to have 6+ inch substrate so they can bury themselves. depending on the size of your crab, they could be down for 2 weeks to 6 months. never dig them up! 

- calcium sand is bad. you can use play sand (at hardware stores) or coco-fiber/eco earth. i mix the two together, it works perfect.

- get more than one! they are very social animals and get sad if they don’t have friends. if you plan on getting 5 or more crabs, i'd recommend getting a 20g tank, not a 10g.

here is a basic care sheet, and i'd recommend getting an account on the HCA! the community is very nice and will answer whatever questions you have :-)


Hermit Crab & Anemone Symbiosis

Young hermit crabs will often pick up a young sea anemone to attach to their shell and they become travel buddies. While the anemone’s powerful sting protects the hermit crab from predators, the crab feeds the anemone tasty scraps from its meals.  

When hermit crabs outgrow their shell, they will carefully transfer their anemone friend(s) to the new shell.