18 December, 2021

The Hermit Crab Tree

I've noticed over the years that hermit crabs are surprisingly social animals.  They gather together in groups to eat, change shells, investigate food sources, and settle in for the night.  Lately, they have been congregating on this dead, gnarled, tree at dusk.  Today I managed to catch them before they dispersed for the day.  I was able to count 17 crabs, but there were probably more than a few that I couldn't spot.

Dead tree, conveniently (for me) located in the middle of the path. 
Lots of nooks and crannies for shelter from predators.
The weathered tree had places for hermit crabs of all sizes.
Larger hermit crabs in this crevice.

A few more than meet the eye are hidden in hollows - all the better to escape the grasping hands of raccoons. 

This one is getting a little too large for its current shell.
Within an hour or so, many of the crabs had dispersed into the leaf litter, but these remained clustered at the base of the tree.
Still hanging out together.
Couldn't resist getting a farewell shot of this dismembered tiny babydoll arm.
Buh bye


  1. How fascinating. I would have really enjoyed being on this walk with you. You have the keen eye of a naturalist and the sensibility to appreciate what you see.

    1. Plenty here to take note of and keep your observational skills honed, David!

  2. The baby doll arm is a bit creepy. I’ve never seen hermit crabs in trees nor gathered together like that. It’s magical.

    1. At one point many years ago there seemed to be an influx of doll heads of all sorts. Dennis made a collection and mounted them on sticks in the sand until it got entirely too creepy! The hermit carbs are so entertaining. So easy to overlook, but once you spot them you can see them up to all sorts of things.

  3. That was fascinating. Always amazing how creatures adapt to different environments. I've only seen hermit crabs in tidal rock pools.

    1. Thanks, John. I was surprised to see how sociable they are. These don't seem to get in the water too often, although I have them swim on occasion.


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