CRAZY CRABS –the day I brought crabs home


crazy crabs picture


I am still unsure what inspired me to get crazy crabs (that would be land hermit crabs – the kind where you may need a vet but you won’t need a doctor) for the Goddesses to play with.

I was a bit crabby the day I bought the first one (and the very expensive set up for it). OK I know that’s lame but it’s the truth and there’s nothing like a bit of retail therapy to help when you’re feeling out of sorts with the world.


crazy crabs picture
Olaf -our first crab


That retail therapy is even better when it puts a smile on a Goddess’s face.

Four-year-old Goddess’s Mum was telling me how there were crazy crabs at daycare and how much the Goddess loved them.

Then she described how they had these beautifully decorated shells and I just had to go and see for myself.

I had owned crazy crabs years before – before having kids even. Their shells were just sand coloured shells – some of them pretty but not too fancy.

So imagine my surprise when we went to the pet shop and saw a tank full of these crabs with the most colourful shells, some even decorated with gemstones. No wonder the Goddess loved them – they were works of art!

I would have happily bought one for her to keep at her home but I knew that would be more work and stress for her mum which wasn’t fair as this was my brilliant idea.

So I decided to take it to my home. It was Goddess’s pet that lived at Grandy’s. She chose his name (never was sure how to tell their sex but the name was Olaf so we called him a boy).


Crazy crab ownership can get quite expensive


crazy crabs picture
Set-up can be expensive


Crazy crabs are not that expensive as far as pets go. They cost around $12, depending on size. It’s all the stuff that goes with them that costs.

I thought I’d get out of it rather cheaply as I already had a spare aquarium to keep them in. By the time I bought the special gravel, food, water ager, bath, water and food dishes the bill was getting high.

Then I was convinced by the pet shop staff they could not survive without the special heater. The ones I owned years before survived perfectly without a heater and I’m pretty sure there are no tiny beach huts with crab heaters in them to keep these creatures warm in the wild.

But I didn’t want to be reported to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) so I obediently bought the heater. I had promised the Goddess we’d get the crab. She had already chosen Olaf, and named him, so what was I supposed to do?

I need to point out here that I don’t think it’s safe to paint your own shells as special paint, glue and varnish are used to ensure the crazy crabs do not get sick from toxins. At least that’s what the pet shop lady told me but I’m a bit more sceptical about their advice these days. Still, the RSPCA threat looms so I wouldn’t take the risk.


crazy crabs picture
Olaf, Elsa and Wizard


Crazy crab facts


Land hermit crabs are native to Australia. They thrive in tropical areas near water. They are light to pale brown in colour, with two dark ovals on the front of the head and long eyestalks. The crabs have a large left pincher claw for defence, balance, and climbing. The right smaller claw is for moving food and water to their mouth. Although the visible part of the crab (its main legs, claws, and head) are covered by a tough exoskeleton, the abdomen doesn’t have this protection and requires another animal’s shell to protect it. As the crab grows it moults, shedding its exoskeleton and creating a new, larger one. A crab builds up enough water pressure in its body to split the old skin.

As they grow they need to ‘move house’, change into larger shells. In the wild there is often a scarcity of suitable shells and the crabs will fight for ownership.

Apparently, they have a lifespan of about 10 years.

For more fun facts click here.

Well, we brought that crazy crab home and Goddess played and played with it. Then I decided I needed to buy more (they like company, of course) and I wanted to keep things fair so each Goddess could have one. So we got Elsa and Wizard.

We took several pictures and wrote a story so Goddess could talk about her pet at daycare news.

Shortly after, we ‘lost’ Olaf. Not wanting to see sadness on the Goddess’s face I bought another crab but left Olaf’s empty shell in the tank, claiming he had moved “houses”.

The goddess was only slightly perturbed that this other crazy crab seemed so much smaller than original Olaf.  How could original Olaf have stuffed himself into that smaller shell?

This small crazy crab lasted all of two weeks and I realised I could not afford, either in money or deceit karma, to keep replacing them. So we explained the weather was really hot (it was) and Olaf had gone to stay with the real Elsa (we are huge Frozen fans here and yes, I know I’m still in deceit karma trouble with that one).

So, despite diligently cleaning the tank, refreshing food and water, giving regular salt baths, ensuring there was plenty to climb on and hide in as well as a friend to play with, and all the other little maintenance requirements, (for such tiny creatures they sure are time-consuming to care for) Olaf the second’s two mates decided to follow him shortly after (I blame that very expensive heater).

It was at that point sanity returned and that was the end of our crazy crab ownership adventure. Just as well as Hubby was about as impressed with these crabs as he would have been if had I brought the more personal kind home.


crazy crabs picture


I should probably rename this post spectacularly stupid ways to waste money. Ah, but the Goddess smiles are priceless. Glad I’ve worked out some cheaper ways to achieve them…”here comes the tickle monster”!

Just as well I’m getting tougher.

The latest request has been for a kitten. When I say I don’t think Mum and Dad would be too impressed if I buy her a kitten she says; “It can be my pet that lives at Grandy’s”. Walked right into that one, didn’t I?

By the way, did you know land hermit crabs are referred to as crazy crabs because of how funny they look carrying their houses around? Or maybe it’s because they drive their keepers crazy? What’s the craziest pet you’ve had? Let me know in the comments below.

Wishing you a sane and gleeful week, Tamuria.






  • Oh how fun. My grandkids enjoyed owning their own set for many months – and their moms before them. A sweet tradition and a lovely visit via the Grand Social.

    Kaye Swain

  • I enjoyed this post so much!!! You are such a good grandma. My grandchildren would love to have the crabs too.

  • I had no idea you could have these little guys as pets…I can see how kids would love these!

  • What a fun post and it is wonderful how much you enjoy the adventures, even when they are disguised as meant for your darling Goddess Granddaughter. My craziest pet was when I was quite young (under 10 years of age), we had a wonderful large turtle and he got out one day, never to be seen again as he crawled into the large sprawling field north of our home, which had yet to be developed. From there, our budgie bird flew away too. After that it was only dogs, until recently my daughter moved home with her dog and two cats, and as you’ll read next week, I have become a passionate cat lover, finding them entertaining regardless of what they do. I say get the kitten, as you all will absolutely love the experience! Thanks for your sense of humour and adventure always present in your posts, Tamuria. 🙂

    • Turtles are awesome Beverley. I had two little ones when I was a kid (about the same age as you were with yours). You must have been heartbroken when he disappeared. And then the budgie as well! Looking forward to reading about the cats – they are so entertaining!

  • Such fun! I never would have considered crabs for my grandsons, but these look like a fabulous addition to their home! Thank you for sharing!

  • You sure are a fun granny. I’m a granny but I have hypnotized my little ones with beads & even if they can’t string through the little holes, I let them play with tubes of beads.

  • Ah Tami this is so much fun! Had no idea you can have crabs as pets but after all, why not? My daughters would be scared of them though, haha!

    Thanks for the beautiful read!

  • With Fairy Gardens and Crazy Crabs, I still maintain I would love to have been your grand-daughter, Tamuria. 🙂

    We’ve had dachshunds with character and had an entire 5 generations in our home because my parents justified that I needed a few of my own even if they were living in their house.

    But I do remember 2 gerbils from my early school days in New York. We had 2 class pets in 1st Grade. One summer I got the chance to bring the turtle home and because he survived, the class teacher sent home the 2 gerbils with me for the winter break.

    November and December (the Gerbils) were quite cute but they would chew through anything including a small bed sheet that my Mom had put on top of the cage at night. We did not have Hi Fi pet shops and just followed the teacher’s instructions for maintaining them.

    Were our Winter Guests, crazy pets? Not really though by the end of it my father decreed that no more class pets would stay with us because he and my Mom ended up looking after them. 🙂

    • Vatsala you are so kind! I think I’m just using the granddaughters as an excuse to let that big kid in me play. 🙂 I love your story about the gerbils. I had a similar thing happen when three guinea pigs I was babysitting for a friend ate through my Mum’s curtains. Needless to say she was less than pleased.

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