The first sign of summer…

Yesterday wasmohawk spa day here at the farm, which is the first sign of impending summer, as far as I’m concerned. Both Shy and Woolimina got their yearly shear, and look much happier since it hit 80 degrees today. I did a little research beforehand, and discovered that this year’s stylish Alpacas have opted for the Mohawk look – so of course that’s the style Shy requested. He looks amazing. I’m even thinking about getting him a studded collar and some tribal tats.

But believe it or not, new trendy hairstyles aren’t even the coolest thing that’s going on around here. No, that spot is reserved for my Crabitat! It came in the mail about a month ago, and I spent hours decorating it. Literally – hours. First I had to decide where in the tank to put it for optimum viewing, then came the flooring decision. After carefully considering all the options, I went with river sand, which is what they burrow into in their natural habitat. We constructed a rock grotto for when they feel like hiding, and put in some palm trees in case they’re in the mood for an aerial view.

Once we got it arranged to my liking, I had to make a bunch of phone calls to track down crabitatsome actual crabs to live in it. Apparently there is a world-wide Thai Devil Crab shortage (for real, several aquatics people told me no one can get them right now), so I had to settle for Fiddler crabs. Smaller and less colorful, but still plenty fun to watch. So Gene took me to the pet store, and after observing the crabs for far too long (according to Gene), I committed to two of them. Charlie and Luigi II came home in a take-out container, although Luigi II did try to initially make a break for freedom when he hopped out and took off down the aisle. Getting them into the Crabitat itself was a little disconcerting, because I had to hold them in a very loose fist, then gently shove them under the lip of the plastic dome. The way their legs skittered in my palm was a little shudder-inducing, but at least I only had to do it twice. Watching them explore the river and climb on the palm trees was great, they truly looked like happy little crabs.

DSC03062Then, a couple days later, we couldn’t find them anymore. Gene picked up all the hollow decorations and shook them, but the only thing he found was a very upset Plecostomus, who had been contentedly napping inside his favorite tree. I was absolutely heartbroken, and blamed the shark. Quite loudly, and with colorful language. So fast forward about a month or so, and both crabs reappeared! Apparently we bought them right before they molted. After shedding their shells, they dig a burrow and hide until their new shell hardens. Which obviously takes quite some time. So now they’re back to happily skittering all over the tank, and I’m back to enjoying a show with my morning coffee.

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