I will preface this blog entry with the following disclaimer: This post may not be popular among all of my loyal readers (or Mama Kat’s) because some people love their pets as much as their children. I get that. Different strokes, different folks.
But I am not an animal person.
I believe this stems back to my time as a young adult when I took a child I was babysitting to a petting zoo. We were walking around gently caressing the animals when all of the sudden I felt two strong taps on my shoulders. I turned around expecting to find a zookeeper. But to my dismay, I was being mounted by a billy goat. I kid you not. MOUNTED BY A BILLY GOAT. It goes down as my scariest animal encounter to date. Next to being chased on foot by a Pit Bull, narrowly escaping attack by jumping atop a Toyota Prius. For reals. But that’s another story. Regardless, I’m scarred.
Still, people keep encouraging me to get a REAL PET.
Having boys and a dog seem to go hand-in-hand. At least that’s what I’ve been told. “Your boys NEED a dog.” As if I’m depriving them a critical childhood experience keeping Fido at bay.
“Get a cat. They’re EASIER than dogs.” Right. My parents’ cat provides countless hours of entertainment when we visit them in Missouri. But trust me, he’s not any easier than a dog. I am reminded of this each and every night he lands in front of my bedroom door and cries like a newborn baby.
The effect I have on animals….
So, I’ve got crabs. No, they aren’t furry and four-legged. And don’t reciprocate any affection. But they are lovely crustaceans, really. That require minimal time and attention. We’ve had ours for two years and I can’t say enough wonderful things about how little effort I put into their care.
When deciding the pet that best fit our needs, it came down to this:
- I have cleaned up enough shit over the past four years to last a lifetime. Or at least until I have grandchildren. Getting all three boys out of diapers and into big boy underwear is one of my proudest accomplishments to date. I’m not sure what happens to crabs’ poop (I assume it just composts into the substrate). But crabitats need only to be cleaned two times a year. That’s right. Two times a year. Can I get a “Hell Yeah?”
- I like to sleep. A lot. Truth be told, I don’t like getting up with my own children in the middle of the night. I certainly don’t want to be awaken by an animal. Heartless, maybe. But I know my own limitations. Having said that, crabs are nocturnal. But they sleep in Abe’s room so even if they are loud, I sleep right through it.
- Crabs can be left for days at a time without changing their food/water. We travel too much to have a REAL pet. I know, cry me a river. But the options available (board the animal or bring it along) are unattractive to me. Boarding costs money. And I had the worst flight experience of my life sitting 4 hours in front of a crated dog that had a dreadful case of diarrhea. My gag reflex kicked into overdrive and I spent the majority of time in the aircraft’s lavatory. Because it smelled better than Doggie Diarrhea.
- Crabs only shed their shells. Not hair. And they’re super discreet about it. I shed more hair than three dogs or cats combined. My vacuum can barely keep up as it is. I want it to work on the rare occasion I actually use it.
- Crabs don’t smell. Unless they die. I don’t care how often you bathe Buffy or change Sylvester’s litter box, they stink. At this point, you’re probably thinking back to pictures of my dirty toilet, pondering how badly my house must smell without a REAL animal. True story. But again, I have to stop the insanity at some point.
- They’re easy to take care of. While the boys insisted they would be the ones caring for Hermie and Climby, you can guess who the primary care provider is. ME! I am reminded of that each time I fill their sponge with bottled water and their feeding dish with fresh kale.
So, I am perfectly happy with our TWO hermit crabs. For now. Sure, we only see them once a week when they’re not buried in their substrate or under their coconut hut. And the boys are frightened to hold them after seeing a blood blister the size of Oregon that formed on my finger after getting pinched.
But it works for us. We’ve got crabs. And that, my friends, is all the pet I can handle right now.
P.S. In all seriousness, I take good care of my hermit crabs. There are specific conditions that must be maintained for crabs to thrive. Prior to purchasing our crabs, I did a lot of research. A LOT. This website was a great reference. And the dude LOVES hermit crabs.