Where’d the shells go?

When we were on Little Tybee Island last month, I was pretty frustrated that the majority of the gorgeous shells we found lying around everywhere were occupied. I mean…… I GET it. It’s *nature* and we *respect* the *nature*. But why on the earth else would I spend so much time beach combing for interesting shells if not to bring.them.home.with.me?

I can’t help it. As a life Long Beach scavenger the excitement of finding the perfect shell(s) has never died.

Eventually I found a handful of shells (moon shells and whelks mostly), that were unoccupied, and I popped them in the zipper of my backpack as we packed up to leave, where they rode back to Alabama, following an overnight in a hotel.

These were found within 5 minutes of stepping onto Little Tybee. All but 2 were occupied.
I started taking pictures of them when I realized it was futile to keep looking for empty ones

Anyone who has brought home shells from the beach knows that it’s a good idea to wash them out really well when you get home. They can sometimes carry a “dead animal” stench even when they’re empty. As soon as we got back, I gathered up the shells I’d collected and set them on the counter as I prepped some hot, soapy water. I walked away for 15 minutes or so and came back to 3 less shells on the counter. I looked around and discovered that * the cat had knocked them off*. Obviously

I tossed them into the warm (hot!) , soapy water in the kitchen sink. Soapy, from the dishwasher pod I’d added to “sanitize” the shells. A few minutes later I heard Shannon yell out “hey did you know these shells of yours were alive?” Um…..what? I walked back into the kitchen where he said he’d seen them walking around in the sink. I pulled them out and put them in a bowl of clean water to rinse off the soap. He teases me a lot. Did not believe he’d seen anything moving around because “I HAD CHECKED THEM ‘”! There was still a fishy smell to the shells, so I set them in some clean water on the stove, where I decided to boil the shells. Again to Sanitize them. It was when I began this step that they decided to come out of their shells and start crawling around. The cat didn’t knock them off the counter. They were enacting an escape plan.

“Hey Shannon… any idea what hermit crabs eat?” We decided to see if they liked cat food.

Our new pets.

Pro tip – Hermit crabs that have been doused in hot, soapy water and then plunged into cold water and set to boil don’t want to eat cat food. Or saltine crackers. Also they don’t live long in these conditions. I feel bad about it. Please don’t report me to the animal rights police.

4 thoughts on “Where’d the shells go?

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