Why Hermit Crabs are Better Than People

  • January 14, 2021
Despite their unconventional appearance, hermit crabs are wonderfully compassionate creatures.

When a hermit crab is scuttling on the beach and finds a shell that they think would make a good home, but is not quite the right size for them, they sit next to it. They do this in order to notify other hermit crabs in the area that may need a new home that right here is a suitable candidate. If a hermit crab needs a new shell, but notices a crab smaller than it is sitting next to a shell that is smaller than it is, then it does not have to make themselves vulnerable to predators as well as just wasting their time trying on a shell that will for sure not be a perfect fit. 

Continuing with this example, if a hermit crab smaller than the one standing next to the shell also tries it on, but it is too small for them, too, they stand behind the hermit crab. This can continue for up to eight hours, hermit crabs will line up in height order waiting for the right crab to fit the shell that will become their new home. After the hermit crab finds its new shell, every crab in the line except for the first one switches shells so everyone gets a new home. 

I feel that we as humans could take a page out of the hermit crab’s book and help each other, especially during this unprecedented and tumultuous time. Quarantine has divided us, both physically and emotionally. Many people have been shown unable to sympathize with others and instead resort to hatred and distrust that has stemmed from their ignorance. We have to go out of our way. We need to put ourselves in each other’s shells and allow for compassion to win, even if it’s just for eight hours. 

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