Questions to ask when adopting from Craigslist?

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Questions to ask when adopting from Craigslist?

Post by hprmom » Wed Feb 24, 2016 1:58 pm

Not sure which forum to ask in, mods please relocate me if appropriate.

I've been keeping an eye on Craigslist for potential adoptees. So far no one has responded to my inquiries which I assume means those crabs have already been re-homed. A new listing popped up today, but before I call I'd like to know what kinds of questions should I ask? It occurred to me I never adopted a dog sight-unseen, no-questions-asked.

So what do you ask, what do you look for? For what reasons would you NOT take home a crab? Or do you take them all home and sort it out after? Thanks!


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Re: Questions to ask when adopting from Craigslist?

Post by marandashermies » Wed Feb 24, 2016 3:51 pm

all I usually ask is size of the crabs. For me, and this is just me, regardless if they are coming from a kritter cage with rocks or a 40g with perfect conditions, I would adopt the crab. If they are looking for someone to adopt them or buy them, then there is most likely a reason as to why they don't want their crabs anymore. It could be, they don't have the time, kids have lost interest, more work than they expected, things like that. In which case I know I need to take them home with me, to give them a proper loving home to live in. They deserve that.

Once I get to talking with the person, I usually ask about the crabs and their set ups, have they molted, had any health issues, temperament issues, things like that. I have another adoption set up for this Saturday. The lady is driving to my house from an hour away to drop of her crabs that her daughter has kept for a couple of years. They want to see my set up as they do care a lot for the crabs. I figure that will be my opportunity to ask them questions about the little guys :)
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Re: Questions to ask when adopting from Craigslist?

Post by landlubber » Wed Feb 24, 2016 4:06 pm

The only thing I ask besides size is if they have molted with their owners. This tells me A LOT right there.
6 PPs, 4 Straws, 3 Es * 1 Teeny, 6 Smalls, 4 Mediums, 1 large and 1 Jumbo in a 70 gallon
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Re: Questions to ask when adopting from Craigslist?

Post by hprmom » Wed Feb 24, 2016 4:46 pm

marandashermies, so you're taking them home in any case, and the questions you ask are just so you can be aware of potential issues. That's helpful.

landlubber, I can see how that would tell you a lot about the owner and the conditions, and therefore you'd be aware of potential problems. But you're still taking the crabs home in any case?

Are you both asking size to determine age or if you have the space for them?

Adoption is preferable to me than purchasing at a pet store, but it's different in that you're not evaluating them the same way that you would for purchase. Although, good fit for both parties is still very important!

This listing, he's got four small/medium in a 30 gal, which he's selling together with the crabs, sub and shells. We have two medium at home in a 10 gallon. My plan was to upgrade to either a 29 or 35 (20" cube) and add crabs as we find them for adoption, up to six total (including the two we already have). We probably wouldn't go over six just because I'm reading that they require a LOT of space as they grow, and we wouldn't have space for a tank any bigger for a few years at least.

If I happen to miss out on these guys (things don't seem to last long on craigslist!), at least now I'm prepared for next time. :)

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Re: Questions to ask when adopting from Craigslist?

Post by landlubber » Wed Feb 24, 2016 5:53 pm

Yes, I will take them anyway. The way I figure it if the owner has had the crabs for a while in poor conditions-and the crab is surviving (perhaps when others didn't) the crab is likely to be a hardy one to have been through all that and survived. However, if they are going from poor conditions to great ones there may still be some PPS symptoms-since really PPS is about how they are regulating their body systems by their conditions and the stress it causes to deal with prolonged, varying conditions and their body systems adjusting by yo-yoing between different conditions. So, there may be some PPS symptoms, but not as severe as having purchased a crab who has just been through harvesting, shipping, distribution, and to a home. I just lost a large I received from an adoption who came from sub-par conditions (but not abysmal) which I would still classify as PPS.

So I ask the size of the crab for room reasons for one (but I find people normally have very little idea about what size crabs and tanks they actually have-so if they say a medium crab it could actually be a small or a large), but also because if they've had a small for a year without a molt it tells me that crab is more likely to die on me while trying to molt. Not good. For example the fellow I just lost had never molted with the previous owner, but he'd only had him for 6 months, and being a large and not knowing his molt schedule it was possible he just hadn't been in need of a molt yet. I don't ask too many questions about their specifics conditions, because I mostly don't care-I'll adopt anyway. Plus I have no interest in saying things that might make someone feel bad because the person is doing the right thing by knowing they are unable to provide the best home and putting their crabs up for adoption. Whatever mistakes they have made I respect that. I want adopting out an animal to be a positive experience for someone. That's just what makes me feel good.

It sound like the adoption opportunity is a great one for you! Fingers crossed that it works out!
6 PPs, 4 Straws, 3 Es * 1 Teeny, 6 Smalls, 4 Mediums, 1 large and 1 Jumbo in a 70 gallon
1 Boxer puppy, 1 Yorchie mutt, 1 cat, 1 ball python, 1 boa

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Re: Questions to ask when adopting from Craigslist?

Post by hprmom » Thu Feb 25, 2016 12:19 am

Long story short, looks like we'll be adding to our colony this weekend!

Now the long part... I only asked for basic info: species (he wasn't sure but the photo he sent looks like PP), size (he sent a photo of one in his hand, look about the same size as ours or smaller), how long he's had them (about four months). Their story is that his little sister brought the first one back from the Bahamas (I forgot to ask if she bought it or caught it), and after doing some research he bought 3 more at Petco so it would have friends. I'll ask about molts, general health, temperament when we meet on Saturday.

I also asked if he had any questions for me. He just wanted to make sure I knew the "basics" like that they need to bury themselves to molt, not to feed them food with preservatives, and to offer them lots of non-painted shells. In the photo it looks like he has a variety of food on offer and a good substrate mix (though I can't tell how deep). He's rehoming them (as well as a crested gecko and an aquarium full of fish) to make room in his house. Keeping in mind your "good adoption experience" advice, I told him it sounds like he's taken good care of them (which it does), and we'll be sure to give them a good home. :)

It turns out they are in a 20 gallon tall, not a 30 like I thought. So most likely we will keep them in their 20 and our current two in their 10 gallon while we set up a new, larger crabitat to house all six, hopefully within the next 1-2 weeks. I figure this will serve as a kind of "quarantine" period and will give us a chance to observe them and get to know them.

So my next question is, what should I look for during this first week, as far as examining them for health, pests, anything I might need to take care of before introducing the new four to the current pair?

Once I get the new crabitat set up and am ready to introduce them all, what's the etiquette? Should I give everybody a bath before introductions or just the new quartet? I didn't bathe the original pair since they were already living together. The crabitat will be new to all of them, so it's not territory that belongs to anyone (do crabs care about that?). Do I put them all in at the same time, or start with one of the groups that already know each other? Wondering if there's a way to minimize the stress, or if we should just go for broke. The pair we've had for almost three weeks have finally relaxed enough to start tunneling and sleeping outside the coco-hut, I'm sorry to put them through another transition, a new 'tat and crabs at the same time!

Tonight as I scooped tiny poop I realized that in a few days I'll be doing that times six, lol. What have I gotten myself into? "Come on," said the husband and child, "hermit crabs will be fun!" LOL.

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Re: Questions to ask when adopting from Craigslist?

Post by marandashermies » Thu Feb 25, 2016 8:46 am

hprmom wrote:marandashermies, so you're taking them home in any case, and the questions you ask are just so you can be aware of potential issues. That's helpful.

landlubber, I can see how that would tell you a lot about the owner and the conditions, and therefore you'd be aware of potential problems. But you're still taking the crabs home in any case?

Are you both asking size to determine age or if you have the space for them?

Adoption is preferable to me than purchasing at a pet store, but it's different in that you're not evaluating them the same way that you would for purchase. Although, good fit for both parties is still very important!

This listing, he's got four small/medium in a 30 gal, which he's selling together with the crabs, sub and shells. We have two medium at home in a 10 gallon. My plan was to upgrade to either a 29 or 35 (20" cube) and add crabs as we find them for adoption, up to six total (including the two we already have). We probably wouldn't go over six just because I'm reading that they require a LOT of space as they grow, and we wouldn't have space for a tank any bigger for a few years at least.

If I happen to miss out on these guys (things don't seem to last long on craigslist!), at least now I'm prepared for next time. :)
Yes, I take them regardless. If they were in poor conditions, its not their fault and they should have the opportunity to live out the rest of their life in the right conditions! I ask about size so that I can make sure I have enough space and can decide which tank to set them up in. Most of my adoptions have come from this site or people answering my craigslist add. I don't seek people out anymore, as I have been stood up one too many times! If they are serious about re-homing, they will put the effort in to contact me. Like Landlubber mentioned, if they have molted is important and usually my first question after size. Number of times molted is also important. Good luck on the adoption! If these ones don't work out, I am sure you will find another one in the near future :)
{125g~56g~55g} {30 PPs~ 10 Straws~ 5 Ruggies~ 2 E's~ 4 Viola's~ 2 Cavipes~ 2 Indo's}
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Re: Questions to ask when adopting from Craigslist?

Post by marandashermies » Thu Feb 25, 2016 9:16 am

hprmom wrote:Long story short, looks like we'll be adding to our colony this weekend!

Now the long part... I only asked for basic info: species (he wasn't sure but the photo he sent looks like PP), size (he sent a photo of one in his hand, look about the same size as ours or smaller), how long he's had them (about four months). Their story is that his little sister brought the first one back from the Bahamas (I forgot to ask if she bought it or caught it), and after doing some research he bought 3 more at Petco so it would have friends. I'll ask about molts, general health, temperament when we meet on Saturday.

I also asked if he had any questions for me. He just wanted to make sure I knew the "basics" like that they need to bury themselves to molt, not to feed them food with preservatives, and to offer them lots of non-painted shells. In the photo it looks like he has a variety of food on offer and a good substrate mix (though I can't tell how deep). He's rehoming them (as well as a crested gecko and an aquarium full of fish) to make room in his house. Keeping in mind your "good adoption experience" advice, I told him it sounds like he's taken good care of them (which it does), and we'll be sure to give them a good home. :)

It turns out they are in a 20 gallon tall, not a 30 like I thought. So most likely we will keep them in their 20 and our current two in their 10 gallon while we set up a new, larger crabitat to house all six, hopefully within the next 1-2 weeks. I figure this will serve as a kind of "quarantine" period and will give us a chance to observe them and get to know them.

So my next question is, what should I look for during this first week, as far as examining them for health, pests, anything I might need to take care of before introducing the new four to the current pair?

Once I get the new crabitat set up and am ready to introduce them all, what's the etiquette? Should I give everybody a bath before introductions or just the new quartet? I didn't bathe the original pair since they were already living together. The crabitat will be new to all of them, so it's not territory that belongs to anyone (do crabs care about that?). Do I put them all in at the same time, or start with one of the groups that already know each other? Wondering if there's a way to minimize the stress, or if we should just go for broke. The pair we've had for almost three weeks have finally relaxed enough to start tunneling and sleeping outside the coco-hut, I'm sorry to put them through another transition, a new 'tat and crabs at the same time!

Tonight as I scooped tiny poop I realized that in a few days I'll be doing that times six, lol. What have I gotten myself into? "Come on," said the husband and child, "hermit crabs will be fun!" LOL.
sorry I didn't see this post before I answered the last one! Congrats that's awesome! Glad it all worked out and how fun to set up another larger tat! There is nothing better than getting a new set-up and new crabs to go in it! :) That's good that he made sure you knew the basics before just giving them to anybody. Sounds like they are currently in adequate conditions. I don't bathe new adoptions before adding them in. Some people may, just so all the crabs can smell the same, but I only bathe when they are coming from the pet store. If they currently have proper pools and depth, they will bathe themselves when they feel necessary. I would add them all at the same time. They can all rummage around the new tat and explore together. :D In my experience, they will probably be very active for a few days, then hunker down. There really is no way to minimize the stress, you just have to kind of go for it. Just make sure you have everything ready, proper sub, heat and humidity, so that you can add them and just leave them alone to adjust for a while. And I know what you mean about cleaning up after them! Try having almost 40 crabs! :shock: They make sure to poop in their food dish on the daily and dig massive craters through out the entire tank. But how can you even care, once you see those beautiful little eyes staring back at you! :puppydogeyes::

Cant wait to see pics of these new babies and the tat! I have been throwing the idea around of a 40g, I LOVE the layout of them. You are making me want to take the leap and get it haha! Congrats again, let us know if you have any other questions! :)
{125g~56g~55g} {30 PPs~ 10 Straws~ 5 Ruggies~ 2 E's~ 4 Viola's~ 2 Cavipes~ 2 Indo's}
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Re: Questions to ask when adopting from Craigslist?

Post by hprmom » Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:40 am

Well, I wasn't able to pick up the new hermits yesterday. I was in the right town at the right time, but the owner had to leave town before I got out of a meeting. Hopefully we can work out a new time.

@marandashermes, I see you took the leap and got that big tank with the 40 breeder footprint! I'll be watching your thread for ideas. I've got my eye on a 35 gallon cube (20" all dimensions), which is a good size for my space and would have plenty of room for upper levels even if I go up to 8" of sub. The local Petco is also currently having a sale on 40 breeders. But I'm holding off buying until I meet the new crabs, the owner is also selling (separately) a 24" square tank that we want to have a look at, we don't know the height.

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Re: Questions to ask when adopting from Craigslist?

Post by wodesorel » Mon Feb 29, 2016 2:42 am

I honestly try to not ask any questions. The more you ask, the more likely it is they won't reply. Just a basic - "Hey, I'm interested in your hermits, I've had mine since 2009, could you meet at ___, we can meet on ___." If they want money, then I politely ask for a photo of the crabs/supplies and go from there on negotiations. "The tank I already have is bigger, can I just get the crabs?" usually works for when they ask crazy prices. I do this for all non-HCA adoptions. If they seem willing or they're a distance away, I ask for a picture and I've been at this so long I can usually tell everything I need from that alone.

Only once did I ever have someone ask me about my level of experience. I sent him a photo of my main tank and it went from a $100 for the crabs and a 55 with everything (which we were willing to pay at the time for our fish) to "come get everything for free". I kid you not. He even threw in an extra tank and some random supplies and all the live aquarium plants I have today came from him! It was well worth the almost two hour drive. Plus the chicken wings from the gas station down the street from his place were the best I've ever had. ;)


That said - I assess the crabs on pickup. If they come with an enclosure, it is really easy to tell what state they're in. Only one adoption (that one ^ ) were the crabs ever in great condition and from a proper environment - and that includes HCA adoptions. If they've been in those conditions for a while, I try to manage them in their own tank through one molt if at all possible. It makes a difference. If I don't have much details I iso for at least a couple of days to allow the crab to eat and drink and change shells without being around other hermits so they don't feel they have to fight for resources. Most of the time the crab digs down fast and I let them have a good molt where they aren't going to be disturbed since it's a dangerous time for them. (A healthy crab can stand to have an interrupted molt, but for a new crab it's likely to be fatal.)

If they're still up and active after a few days, they get a dunk in the freshwater pool and are tossed in with my colony. Mine is a little different in that I have so many crabs a newbie can slip in unnoticed. With only a few crabs you'll need to watch them for a bit and possibly bathe all above ground crabs to make them all smell the same depending on how they react. I have never personally seen harmful mites on a PP before so I don't worry. (I'm 99% sure the mite photos we have in our FAQ are grain mites in hypopus.) If you are concerned, then a few weeks separated with several saltwater baths to check for floating mites would be needed.

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Re: Questions to ask when adopting from Craigslist?

Post by hprmom » Mon Mar 07, 2016 3:05 am

So the big joke on me is that "Crab Guy", as hubby and I have been referring to the previous owner over the last two weeks, is a girl! LOL.

After reading everyone's advice here, when we met tonight I only asked if any had molted (she thinks one, she's only had them 4-5 months). They came in a 20 gallon tall tank, and seemed to be in decent conditions as far as type/depth/consistency of sub, two sources of water, mix of commercial and fresh food. The tank has a screen top, which was off when we arrived, and they had recently been moved to an outdoor screened pool patio, so I don't know what their humidity has been like (no gauges in the tank). Outdoor humidity right now is around 60% at night. I put plastic and a towel over the screen, the gauge is now at 89% and the glass is foggy, I'm afraid I may be smothering them if they're not used to it! I did read the whole article on gradual adjustment v. throwing them into good conditions. I'm not able to control it that closely, so for now I've vented the plastic/towel so it at least doesn't climb any higher.

Night temps have been in the mid 50's this past week, I don't know how many nights they were exposed to those temps. They have a zoo-med heating pad that covers the bottom half of the short side of the tank, it was mostly below sub level. We only replaced the sub to a depth of 6" (it was around 10" before we half-emptied it for the move) so now about 3" of heating pad is above the sub. With plastic over the lid and a towel over most of the tank, the temp has surprisingly climbed from 72F (house temp) to 75F on that side. If I can maintain temp/humidity I can keep them in their own tank until I can properly get my planned tank upgrade together (to house these four and my two).

It's 2:45AM now (yeah, night owl working late), and the underground crab has made an appearance, yay! I was worried about disturbing him when we removed all that sub, so I'm thrilled to know he's fine. At least two have checked out the buffet (pb, oatmeal, mashed pear and half an eggshell with albumin). Three of the four have been shell shopping--I feel bad that I didn't add anything new, they were fooled by my son's neat arrangement by size and type--and the biggest guy declared himself King of the Shop, chasing the others off! Tomorrow after work I'll remove all their old shells for cleaning, and replace with everything I have on hand that's in their size ranges.

So I've now laid eyes on all four, and moving parts appear to be intact. Hopefully tomorrow I can get a better look. Thanks all so much!

P.S. Wode, those chicken wings sound amazing right about now. ;)

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Re: Questions to ask when adopting from Craigslist?

Post by landlubber » Mon Mar 07, 2016 12:47 pm

Congrats! You finally got your hands on them!

I also never had good luck with the gradual ISO method. It's been years since I've tried it, and I've thought about trying it again using different method to see if I can get it to work (I have some new ideas now). But honestly, I don't bring new crabs home THAT often.
6 PPs, 4 Straws, 3 Es * 1 Teeny, 6 Smalls, 4 Mediums, 1 large and 1 Jumbo in a 70 gallon
1 Boxer puppy, 1 Yorchie mutt, 1 cat, 1 ball python, 1 boa

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Re: Questions to ask when adopting from Craigslist?

Post by hprmom » Sat Mar 12, 2016 11:40 pm

Thanks, landlubber. :) Now they've been home a week, I'm being baptized into the finer points of crab keeping, like having a new crab drop a pincer, and finding bugs in the food dish, ugh! Plus one of our original two (with us for five weeks now) has gone down to molt. In for a penny, in for a pound!

As to the gradual ISO thing, one night with plastic over the mesh made such a drastic difference (humidity jumped into the high 90's, condensation everywhere) that the next day I replaced it with just a towel and hoped it would be enough to hold in the heat. Humidity has been a steady 84% ever since, and temp surprisingly steady at 77 with only a 1 degree difference on the side furthest from the heat. We added our much-abused 4-watt UTH today to try to get a couple more degrees, it was 78 when I last looked. I have a theory on stability of conditions related to size of the tank, but that's for another topic...

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Re: Questions to ask when adopting from Craigslist?

Post by hprmom » Tue Mar 22, 2016 3:51 pm

More Craigslist crabs have popped up in my area. I'm sorely tempted, but with almost everybody currently down I feel like it would be more responsible to wait until they come up and I can legitimately think of myself as a good home before I take in any more. Am I being too cautious? I have a soft heart when I see pictures of crabs who have survived four years next to their tank with 1" of sub, within a 20 minute drive of me...! And another pair--in much healthier conditions--that I tried to contact the owner about back in February with no response, just re-listed. Can I refer these folks to the HCA website?

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Re: Questions to ask when adopting from Craigslist?

Post by wodesorel » Tue Mar 22, 2016 4:26 pm

Right now we really only have one adopter in Sarasota, and she's almost at capacity...

Honestly, if you can set them up properly there would be nothing wrong with adopting more. Just make sure that you have enough room moving forward - you don't want to risk the crabs you have now in order to squeeze in more rescues. I have a second and probably soon to be third tank running now for adoptees that have no other place to go because of where I'm at and the lack of adopters. It's temporary until we can get the new build done, but it's working short term.

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