Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Something Scratching in the Night

A few nights ago I was settling down and preparing to crawl under the covers when I heard a different kind of crawling. Something was going scratch, scratch, scurry in the next room. Once I gathered my courage to peer around the sliding door, I found a strange shell scooting across my tatami. Apparently, it was occupied.

Lest you think this is just some tiny little hermit crab that snuck in with my prolific shell collection, I took a picture to give some perspective:
That ain't no baby!

The first question is, naturally: HOW did it get in my house?!?

I suppose it's possible he just crawled right into my apartment, but I live on the third floor!

And my door is rarely left open, and never long enough to admit a crab of this stature.

Such a mystery.

My friends and I have come up with a few theories:
-I brought his shell home, thought it was empty, and forgot about it.

-Somebody else brought it over and didn't mention it.

-It crawled up three flights of stairs, snuck in the front door, and jumped from the entry way into the house. ??

-The poor guy was snatched up by a bird which flew the mile or so from the beach before dropping the shell onto my front patio, hoping to crack the shell open (which would account for the damage to the shell... but still... how did it get IN my house?!?).

-It is a spirit crab, come to warn me of danger to come. Or something.

What do you think?

He didn't really scare me (except when he was marching straight toward the camera like this with those spider-like legs a-scurryin') but I was so shocked that I immediately called my neighbor-JET, Kim.

"The weirdest thing just happened to me," I whispered, trying not to scare the crab back into it's shell.

"What happened?!? Are you okay?!"

"Yeah, yeah. I am fine, but... there's a.... a crab... a giant crab... in my house!"

"I'll be right there. Boil some water."

So I scratched my head, left the hermit crab to scurry about the tatami room, put a pot of water on the stove, and waited for Kim. She was there in no time and marched right in, blue cone in hand, prepared to take on the crab intruder.

"Where is it?" she demanded, all full of courage and crab cravings.

I pointed and she dropped her purse, held up her cone, and charged.

She stopped short. "You mean that??" She shook her head.

Apparently, Kim didn't realize I was talking about a hermit crab--which is not so prime for eating. I guess I should have specified. :P

So, instead of boiling the lil guy to death and serving him with butter,

we stuck him in the cone,
drove him to the beach,

and set him free.

I like to think of him out there right now, enjoying this fantastic spring weather (70 degrees!), and searching for a new, less damaged shell to call home.

Crawl free, Hermie. Crawl free.


  1. The best thing that I've read in a long time. This is pretty fascinating.

  2. Wah! What a crazy story and such an interesting little visitor! You had a roommate and didn't even know it! Love the photos--especially the "release" back into the wild!

  3. We all deserve a second chance at life... its nice that he got his..

  4. In light of more recent postings, I think he was a spirit crab meant to tell you to get to higher ground!