Hermit crabs visiting Braamspunt on driftwood
Hermit crabs visiting Braamspunt on driftwood

24th March 2013. Hundreds of hermit crabs huddling closely together on this huge piece of driftwood.

A closer look...
A closer look...

24th March 2013. Upon closer inspection it appeared that this colony of hermit crabs have a preference for Nassarius vibex shells. Check out the beautiful colourings of these shells!

On the driftwood express
On the driftwood express

24th March 2013. Waiting for the next high tide and a big wave to be carried out to the ocean again towards a new destination. All passengers are advised to hang on to their shells and hold on tight! Bye bye, Braamspunt!

This one is mine!
This one is mine!

26th May 2013. 

Hermit crabs at Braamspunt
Hermit crabs at Braamspunt
Hermit crabs at Braamspunt
Hermit crabs at Braamspunt
Hermit crabs at Braamspunt
Hermit crabs at Braamspunt
Hermit crabs at Braamspunt
Hermit crabs at Braamspunt
Hermit crabs at Braamspunt
Hermit crabs at Braamspunt
Hermit crabs at Braamspunt
Hermit crabs at Braamspunt
Hermit crabs at Braamspunt
Hermit crabs at Braamspunt
Hermit crabs at Braamspunt
Hermit crabs at Braamspunt

Hermit crabs stick together!

 

On some days, like 18th August 2013, you can find hundreds of hermit crabs on the beach. They usually sit piled close to each other on a piece of driftwood or are nestled among other shells along the shore. Contrary to what their name suggests, hermit crabs don't like to be alone. They thrive in groups. When collecting gastropod shells it is very important to check if there's really no one in there!

Unlike true crabs, hermit crabs have soft, vulnerable bodies that need protection. For that purpose they will forage for shells left by other animals, and will switch homes when they grow bigger. If shells aren't available, they'll carry around bits of wood or even plastic bottle caps to protect themselves. Hermit crabs are scavengers. There are around 1100 species of hermit crabs and most species are nocturnal. They vary in size from a few millimeters to as large as a big coconut and have a lifespan of 12 to 70 years! The shell-less hermit crab Birgus latro (coconut crab) is the world's largest terrestrial invertebrate (wikipedia.org, 2014).

Please do not support the hermit crab pet trade. Leave them where they belong: in the wild!

 

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