When you keep hermits, you have to keep a few empty shells around for the crabs to examine and use. Some hermits change shells more often than others – some shift only when growth requires a move, while others swap their shells on a regular basis.
Our first Halloween Hermit, Lazarus, hasn’t ever changed his shell. He found one he likes and stays with it, despite the presence of half a dozen larger (and better-looking) options around the reef.
Our second Halloween hermit, Spike, seemed much the same. She examined every shell in the tank and found none of them to her liking.
I left the shells around, and the hermits examined them periodically, but neither showed any interest in changing homes.
Three nights ago, I cleaned the filter intakes and discovered a baby sun coral growing inside the motor housing. I removed the coral and glued it to the nearest moveable object – an empty shell – but the shell was one both Halloween hermits had rejected many times. No problem. I glued the coral down and went on my way.
Less than an hour later, I looked into the tank and saw this:
Spike, the smaller hermit, had discovered the shell with the coral attached … and suddenly found it irresistible. At first, I didn’t think she’d be able to move it. Determination works wonders, however, and she now maneuvers the new shell just as skillfully as the old one. She loves it.
The coral still hasn’t decided what to do about this particular turn of events. Not that it – or I – have much choice, since there’s no taking the shell away from its happy resident now.
Have you ever had a great plan work out a little differently than intended? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!