Learning all the time-Hermit Crabs

Every once in a while we have something happen in our everyday life that becomes a huge learning opportunity all on it’s own.  Becoming the owner of five hermit crabs last fall was one of those things. 

When  a friend asked if we would be willing to take them since her kids were no longer interested in them I though *sure, what’s another tank of critters?*.  We are pretty well known in our circle of friends as The Zoo so they know who to ask LOL!  Once confirming they came with a place to live, delivery was arranged.

They arrived in a five gallon tank with a soap dish for a bathtub a few extra shells, some goldfish pellets for food and a book about hermit crabs.  They seemed happy enough and the kids were really excited.  They named them Angel, Irma, Mr. Crabs, Pigwidgeon and Demeter. 

Being the obsessive person that I am, I quickly went on-line and did some research into hermit crabs.  All the sites I read said the same things; they needed more room, more stuff and more heat and moisture. 

Sooooo…we headed to the pet store.  We came back with a ten gallon tank, a tank warmer, some more sand, two deeper *bathtubs* (one for salt water, one for fresh), a piece of cork, calcium chews, sponges (to keep the air moist), two small pots (for hiding), one fake log and some fake plants.


Now the crabs live in the marvelous *Crabitat* you see above.  Not only was a great deal of money spent, but a lot was learned as well. 

The kids learned about:

Hermit Crab care

how hermit crabs breathe (with gills)

humidity and how to measure it-what a hydrometer is

best way to monitor temperature in a tank

which plants are poisonous to hermit crabs

what molting is

difference between crabs and snails

depth and volume (while filling the tank with the correct amount of sand)

measurement (of crab shells)

cost analysis of various types of sand and other substrate products, foods and decorations

where cork comes from

They even Incorporated some other subjects by:

Painting pictures of their crabs (art)

setting up the crabitat to be visually appealing (interior design? art?)

talking about the crabs to M’s class and the kids at mom’s group (public speaking, oral reports)

We even have a book list (you knew this was coming right?)

A House for Hermit Crab

Is This a House for Hermit Crab?

Hermit Crabs for Dummies

Hermit Crabs-a complete owners manual

And a list of websites





3 responses to this post.

  1. Awesome. We did the same though I forgot to list all these amazing points.

    In the new Houghton Mifflin Science I’m piloting they send you 12 as part of taking you into crabitat building.

    I’m upgrading our “facility” for next year and ading in these new friends soon. When they ship here. I only hope they do well in the transport.


  2. Posted by jennifer altman on June 4, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    Hi! just stumbled on your site while searching for info on hermit crabs. I have a 4 year old and a 7 mo old and I want to home school. My husband is not convinced we (I) can handle it. I know that the learning opportunities are endless. (As your site demonstates so well) What can you tell us or warn us or even encourage us about? (sorry this has nothing to do w/crabs)
    Thanx so much!!!!!


  3. Posted by schooldownthelane on June 22, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    Hi Jennifer! Sorry I took so long getting back to you, we’ve been on break and I haven’t been blogging.

    First of all let me say…you can do it!!! Heck, you have been doing it!

    Secondly, Preschool is easy.

    The one thing I will warn you about is not to get to caught up in being formal with a child as young as yours. It’s really easy to get discouraged and feel you aren’t doing *enough* if you have unrealistic expectations. Homeschooling rarely looks like school, even at this level.

    Also, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with little ones in the house. Remember that they won’t be little forever and things will get easier. I’ve seen lots of people decide they couldn’t homeschool and put their kids in school because of this.

    I guess that’s it from me 😉 Good luck!


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