People love to walk along the shore and pick up seashells. But did you know that abandoned shells are also homes to hermit crabs?
Hermit crabs are fascinating creatures who regularly perform “house swaps”. As a hermit grab grows, they need to find a larger shell to call home.
But just like the U.S. housing market, the perfect-sized shells are in short supply.
A hermit crab house swap was captured on video off the Texas gulf coast and shared by Mustang Island State Park. The caption summed it up perfectly, “The real estate market is hot.”
In the video, you can see the crabs investigate various shells to see if it will fit their needs before abandoning their current home.
Crabs looking to upgrade to a larger shell must wait until one washes ashore or until enough crabs gather for a “house swap”. The house swap is usually a rather organized way of trading spaces and works by the crabs lining up based on size.
The largest crab will move to the new large shell and so it goes down the line until all the crabs have a new spacious home.
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But the crustaceans in the video seem to be playing a frantic game of musical “shells”.
Sometimes two crabs compete for the same home, but there are no agents or negotiations. Instead, fast maneuvers and strength determine who will occupy the shell.
The video posted by the Texas park has gone viral and people couldn’t resist from commenting.
One person felt guilty for all the seashells she and her kids have collected and wrote, “I feel like I should take all of the shells my kids collected over the years back…and maybe buy some more to add to them.”
Another related to the limited supply of good homes. “Thats basically the Austin housing market in a nut’shell’.”
We can help these intelligent crustaceans out by refraining from collecting all the shells that wash ashore.
Learn more about hermit crabs and how they swap homes in the video below.
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