BANV kids win hermit crab who needs digs fit for HGTV

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It was $5 for 30 attempts to toss golf balls into little glass bowls at the Greek Festival in Darlington on Saturday and after two or more rounds of this, my children scored enough points to take home a prize: one tiny lizard, six goldfish or a hermit crab. Desperately wishing they’d just give away stuffed animals like they do on the Ocean City boardwalk, I said a definite no to the lizard. I told my kids they could choose the crab or the fish. I figured I could dump the fish in my backyard pond and let the bigger goldfish eat them. Unfortunately, they chose the hermit crab. My 10-year-old son named him Dinner. I insisted it was his job to find this animal a home and take care of it, but when I found him rooting through my good Tupperware, I remembered a plastic lidded shoebox I wasn’t using and then recalled a bucket of sand we had brought home from Ocean City. We dumped the beach sand into the shoe box, poked some holes in the top, added a tea set saucer of tap water and some bits of leftover broccoli and sat back thinking we were really quite clever. Finding a home for the hermit crab cost us nothing at all. But Dinner wasn’t happy in his box. He hardly moved for two days. He didn’t eat his broccoli. When we lifted the lid, it smelled awful in there. We headed for Pet Smart. A very helpful worker there informed us sand sucks all the moisture out of crabs. He needs special bedding that must be kept damp. And, it must be cleaned regularly. He needs to drink bottled water. Tap water can cause problems (I wasn’t completely clear on why, but I’ve got bottled water anyway and he can’t possibly drink much.) The water should be served on a sponge placed in a little dish. (I wonder where they get this stuff in the wild.) He doesn’t eat wilted vegetables. He’s supposed to eat special hermit crab pellets that come in a little canister. I ended up buying a little hermit crab kit that came with some mesh wire for him to climb and an extra shell for him to move into when he grows (should we manage to keep him alive that long.) The whole thing ended up costing an additional $30. But when we got Dinner all set up in his new digs tricked out with a little bark cave and his climbing wall, Dinner had a new spark. He didn’t stop climbing all evening. So, now we’ll just hope he lasts at least a week or two and be very, very grateful they weren’t giving away puppies.