…but I’m doing it anyway.
Yesterday morning I checked in on my aquarium before work (I always do, to see the fish and make sure everything is running smoothly before I head out for the day) and saw this:
For the most part, that looks like a photo of my aquarium without the lights on. The purple sea fan (the branching tree-like structure in the middle of the frame) is at rest, so its polyps are retracted, leaving the branches “bare.” The oddity is the object hanging from the central branch to the upper right side of the sea fan. Here’s a closeup:
The sharper-eyed among you have probably already noticed the fact that this looks like a crab. Or, more properly, half a crab. For those less used to this kind of thing, you can see his legs dangling down and his antennae and face near the top.
Hermit crabs molt on a regular basis. In order to grow they must shed their exoskeletons, which can lead to some fairly disturbing moments for aquarium hobbyists unware of the creatures’ habits. Fortunately, I recognized this as a molt immediately. I also knew who it belonged to, because I have only one crab of this size and coloration: Banzai the Staghorn Hermit.
Hermits’ new exoskeletons stay soft for a while after molting, so Banzai must have selected the safest spot he could for the process – in this case, the “top of the tallest tree.”
I looked around, hoping to confirm the molt was successful, and discovered him hiding out behind the new baby clam:
Molt successful – if somewhat startling in the aftermath.
*And my son really did inform me that this post was probably too gross for my regular readers. If so, please enjoy this palate-cleansing photo of Lily the Bengal sleeping on a couch:
Because I’ve been on the Internet long enough to know that a cat picture covers a multitude of offenses.