Naked and missing limbs

Please post here if you are having a crab care emergency! Use a real subject and not just "HELP!"
User avatar

Topic author
hprmom
Posts: 502
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2016 4:17 pm
Location: Orlando, FL

Naked and missing limbs

Post by hprmom » Tue May 07, 2019 8:49 pm

Tuesday, May 7: Help... one of our seven is without a shell and has lost both pincers and 3 walking legs. Emergency template below:

1. What kind of substrate is used in your tank and how deep is it?
Playsand and eco earth, roughly 5 to 1 ratio, sandcastle consistency (made with half strength MSW), sub was refreshed/replaced several months ago (previous sub lasted 2 years), depth ~12 inches.


2. Do you have gauges in the tank to measure temperature and humidity? If so, where are they located and what temperature and humidity do they usually read?
Yes, only one gauge but we move it around to spot check, usually reads temp from mid-70s to 80F, humidity 80-90%

3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what?
One UTH mounted on the back of the tank above sub level.

4. What types of water are available (fresh or salt) and how is the water treated (what brands of dechlorinator or salt mix and what ratio is used to mix it)?
Freshwater made with Prime
MSW made with Instant Ocean
Large water bowls with aquarium pebbles and larger rocks/ramps for climbing out, water changed weekly.


5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced?
Mix of dry food and fresh. Dry food replaced 2x/week, scraps every 2-3 days as it begins to mold.


6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known?
Purple pincer, 3 years


7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen?
We have had (until now) a healthy colony of seven purple pincers, after the first year or two I lost track of who was molting when, but they all molted regularly and we see younger/smaller crabs wearing cast-offs as the older/larger ones change shells. I don't know which crab this is and have no idea how long since his last molt.


8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing?
65 gallon tall aquarium, glass lid, UTH mounted on rear glass above the sub, aquarium light on a timer.


9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they?
Seven ranging from the small side of medium to large.


10. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any?
Usually at least 3 extra shells per crab in sizes one up and one down from what they are currently wearing. Because there's such a range I don't replace them often. The crabs are fond of knocking them out of the shop and burying them.


11. Have there been any fumes or chemicals near the crabitat recently?
Nothing different from the last 3 years.

12. How often do you clean the tank and how?
The conditions in the tank are very stable so we disturb it very little. Occasionally wipe down the glass with dechlor water and clean cloth. After two years with the same sub we did a deep clean/sub refresh several months ago (all the crabs were up so we were able to remove them to a temporary habitat for a day).


13. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned?
No.


14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently?
No.


15. Is there any other information you would like to share that might be helpful (anything that is regularly part of your crab care, playtime, bathing, etc.)?
We're pretty hands off. We noticed this winter up until maybe a month ago they were VERY active; the last few weeks have been kind of quiet. As of today there are 3 other crabs (besides the hurt one) on the surface.


16. Please describe the emergency situation in detail.
Found this crab in a depression in the sub against the glass, no shell, abdomen curled up, both pincers and 3 walking legs missing (i.e., he has one walking leg left). Found large pincer claw in the hole with him, with what looks like a hole eaten/eroded on one side; also found one large leg nearby. There was a shell full of sand nearby, but there are many such shells half buried in the sub so I don't think it was necessarily his. Last changed food Sunday night (2 days ago) and did not notice anything unusual, so this seems sudden. Removed him to a small container with sub and attempted to re-shell him (rinsed shell in freshwater and moistened his ab before attempt). Right now he is sitting in the shell, opening side facing up (like a cup), he did wiggle around a bit but I can't tell whether he has actually put his ab into the shell or is just sitting with it curled up (I suspect the latter). I've put a stick with a tiny bit of peanut butter resting against the shell where he can reach it with his little feeding appendages since he has no pincers to grab with. As I type my husband is putting together a micro-habitat in a plastic container about the size of a shoebox and 2x the height, with about 4" of sub which should be enough for the crab to bury if he needs to. We're going to put this in our temp-controlled outdoor workshop, which has a consistent temp of 76-80F, because we don't have a UTH small enough that it won't cook a container this small, imho. What are his chances and what else can we do? Is he likely/unlikely to bury himself without a shell to de-stress/molt/?? Since we're so hands-off usually, I'm afraid I'll stress him more by trying to hand feed or helicopter parent him. I've read tons of posts about similar emergencies over the last 3 years, just never thought it would happen to one of our little guys...

User avatar

Topic author
hprmom
Posts: 502
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2016 4:17 pm
Location: Orlando, FL

Re: Naked and missing limbs

Post by hprmom » Tue May 07, 2019 8:53 pm

Image
Image
Might not be a hole in the claw, might just be how the underside looks (where the claw hinges) and I never noticed?

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

User avatar

Overmountain1
Posts: 316
Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2018 12:20 pm

Naked and missing limbs

Post by Overmountain1 » Tue May 07, 2019 9:53 pm

I’m so sorry to hear this happened to your guy! It sounds like you do everything right, I will admit I didn’t do more than skim the normal questions on the template after the first few bc it is clear you probably know more than I.
I will say that his odds aren’t great, no. Naked OR missing limbs maybe, but naked and all but one is def less than ideal. Is there a chance he may have been attacked? Are there any others who may have thought his shell was the most attractive option?
However, I will say, as long as he is willing to fight and you’re willing to try we can’t count him out just yet. Again, I am so sorry your poor lil one is in distress. Will be sending healing thoughts his way!


Dave the Wondercrab~Patpat the Scaredy Cat~MaggieMoo~Billy~Lil Monster~Ten~and Thing2?

User avatar

Topic author
hprmom
Posts: 502
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2016 4:17 pm
Location: Orlando, FL

Re: Naked and missing limbs

Post by hprmom » Tue May 07, 2019 10:15 pm

Thanks, @overmountain1. We’re wishing we knew what happened so we know if any other crabs are in danger. If anyone can give us ideas of what to look for, thanks. I’m beating myself up for being extra hands off since the holidays (it’s been a tough winter/spring), feeling like a bad mom (my husband’s been pretty regular with their care).

Here’s the micro-tat. This is when we first put the thermo/hygrometer in, it’s up to 80% humidity and 75F now so we decided to keep it in the house (on top of the main tank). Water is only like an inch deep so if he manages to drag himself to it he won’t drown. Misted him to moisten in case he can’t get to water at all. We made him a food popsicle (pb dipped in powdered dry foods) in case he can’t get to the food dish. He appears to have settled a little deeper into the shell although I’m not sure he’s uncurled his ab to get in there properly. Really don’t know what else to do. Image
Image


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

User avatar

Motörcrab
Posts: 1255
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:56 pm
Location: Coal Region in Pennsylvania
Contact:

Re: Naked and missing limbs

Post by Motörcrab » Tue May 07, 2019 10:59 pm

We just had a very similar case of our E dropping all but one leg. From what I can tell the conditions seems ok with your tank. The only thing I can guess at is possibly adding a wider variety of calcium, proteins to their diet. You may already have plenty. Depending on how much your guys vary in size a few more shells per crab wouldn't hurt either.

All I can really think is to check and see if you may have a flooding or bacterial bloom. The easiest thing to do is to carefully poke a butter knife ir something similar down through the substrate all the way to the bottom of the tank along the glass. When you pull the knife out it should form a small hole. After a few seconds the pocket will fill partially with water.

if you have a build up of water dig down and see if you find darker colored sand. if you find a grey or darker sand the has a bad smell you have a bacterial bloom. you will need to remove all the bad substrate.

We had a bacterial bloom caused by flooding and while digging up molter we found our Eddie down and missing limbs. I hand fed and bathed him twice a day for nearly a month. Unfortunately he didn't make it. Here is the post that started in and kept updating with his progress. Maybe it will help you care for your little guy.

http://www.hermitcrabassociation.com/ph ... 3&t=119963

I followed the attacked crab care sheet since it the only one that has any information about caring for a crab missing limbs.

http://www.hermitcrabassociation.com/ph ... 27&t=92528

User avatar

Topic author
hprmom
Posts: 502
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2016 4:17 pm
Location: Orlando, FL

Re: Naked and missing limbs

Post by hprmom » Tue May 07, 2019 11:28 pm

@Motörcrab thank you. I read through both of the linked threads. How do you hand feed? And how do I help him get a drink? Our water dishes have about an inch of water, should I just replace them with bottle caps or make the water only 1/4" deep?

Should I turn his shell so the opening is along the ground (instead of facing up like a cup, which is how he is now)? At the moment I don't think his ab is fully in the shell so he might fall out. But I see pics in one of the threads where if I put the shell opening along the ground, I can put food dish and q-tips on the ground right next to him where he can reach it.

Tomorrow if he's still with us I'll replace the shell options with the lightest ones I can find in our stash. If he's not fully in the current shell, should I attempt to re-shell him in a lighter one? Or just leave him sitting in the current one if he hasn't left it?

When we moved him to the micro-tat/ISO, I had to move the little stick of peanut butter. His one leg was curled around it and I could feel resistance, so there's a little strength there--it's not about to fall off as I feared.

I should go to bed... staying up late isn't helping him (or me). Thanks again.

User avatar

Motörcrab
Posts: 1255
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:56 pm
Location: Coal Region in Pennsylvania
Contact:

Re: Naked and missing limbs

Post by Motörcrab » Tue May 07, 2019 11:49 pm

Hello.

I used a coffee grinder to powder a bunch of the foods we feed our crabs. Without Pinchers they have a hard time with eating bigger stuff.

I put a little food onto the handle end of a plastic spoon and held it by Eddie's mouth for 5-10 minutes. Each nightly feeding was between 1-2 hours depending on how he was eating. He usually ate bee pollen, crab exo, and brine shrimp eggs every night.

Before every feeding I put Eddie in enough dechlorinated salt water to submerge. I would leave him in that for 5-10 minutes. After feeding I repeated with the fresh water bath.

I also put damp moss in his ISO. That way he could eat that and also get the moisture.

I updated Eddie's progress almost daily. Be sure to read through the entire thing. The mods gave me some great advice for his care.

I think inactivity caused internal issues. His abdomen was super swollen. Im just guessing that was why he passed. I think from eating so much and not pooping much. I'm thinking that's why he climbed out of his shell too.

Good luck with your guy. You both have a long road to recovery ahead.

Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk


User avatar

Motörcrab
Posts: 1255
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:56 pm
Location: Coal Region in Pennsylvania
Contact:

Re: Naked and missing limbs

Post by Motörcrab » Wed May 08, 2019 9:00 pm

How is your guy doing?

He may get around a little easier since his leg is on the outside of the shell. He may be able to use the shell to help him balance.our Eddie had the leg to the inside of the shell so he would always be laying on his side.

We added craft mesh to his ISO so he could easily grip and pull along the floor. Perhaps setting him in a gallon jug lid will make it easier for him to scoot around. It seemed to work for Eddie. The crabby bumper car I called it.

User avatar

Topic author
hprmom
Posts: 502
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2016 4:17 pm
Location: Orlando, FL

Re: Naked and missing limbs

Post by hprmom » Wed May 08, 2019 9:32 pm

Motörcrab wrote:How is your guy doing?
He’s hanging in there. This morning we found he had spun himself around and was facing in the opposite direction. Not the shell, the shell hadn’t moved, and his abdomen was still curled up, he had just spun his body around by pushing with his one remaining leg. When I picked him up he crawled out onto my hand and I was able to gently uncurl his ab and slide him into the shell. He did not fight or try to crawl out again. His ab looked nice and damp and he appears to have all his little legs back there.

He took a teeny bit of mashed banana off a q-tip, and drank a little freshwater. A few hours later he took a tiny bit of baby food and powdered bee pollen. I put him in the freshwater and he wanted to stay for 30 minutes! I’m gonna try to attach a video, he repeated this behavior over and over for half an hour. Then the same for about 15 min in the MSW.

[video] https://flic.kr/p/TGhhKm[/video]

I’m giving him a third chance at water right now before I go to bed and it’s the same, he seems to want a lot of water. Should I tilt his shell so water seeps into it? Or just let him scoop tiny bits like he is?

I’m concerned that when he’s on the sub he’s hanging pretty far out of his shell. The two crabs we lost back when we first started crabbing 3 years ago both hung out of their shells. The temp is actually a little cool, 73F, so I don’t think he’d be hanging out trying to cool off. We have a 5 gallon iso warmed up to 80-81 but I don’t want to transfer him with that big a temp difference so I’m going to try to warm the plastic tote slowly overnight and move him in the morning. But if he’s hanging out because he’s hot, then moving him to a warmer tat might not be best? Here’s a pic of him hanging out, practically face planted in the sub:

Image

So, he’s active in the water, but barely taking food; and mostly inactive when sitting on the sub.

I like your “scooter” idea but we’ve got sub in the tote, not sure if it would slide. Might try once we move him to the 5g.

He’s still in the water, then I’ll attempt one more feed before bed, and leave bottle caps of water near him just in case.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

User avatar

Oliviet#1
Posts: 639
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:07 pm
Location: USA

Re: Naked and missing limbs

Post by Oliviet#1 » Thu May 09, 2019 5:26 pm

I hope it goes well!
I have had pets in the past, but my family can’t have any furry or feathered ones due to allergies. I usually try my best to help and currently trying to set up a crabitat. I also try to treat others with Love!❤️


hyelah1990
Posts: 72
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2018 1:19 pm

Re: Naked and missing limbs

Post by hyelah1990 » Thu May 09, 2019 5:56 pm

It may just be the angle, but those extra shells look too big to me. Also if you're not sure about which shell was his you might try some smaller or at least lighter than the one he is in (Along with same size and larger) I'd imagine it's already hard enough moving with just one leg. Just a thought, Good luck with everything!!

User avatar

Topic author
hprmom
Posts: 502
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2016 4:17 pm
Location: Orlando, FL

Re: Naked and missing limbs

Post by hprmom » Thu May 09, 2019 7:53 pm

Oliviet#1 wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 5:26 pm
I hope it goes well!
Thank you!
hyelah1990 wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 5:56 pm
It may just be the angle, but those extra shells look too big to me. Also if you're not sure about which shell was his you might try some smaller or at least lighter than the one he is in (Along with same size and larger) I'd imagine it's already hard enough moving with just one leg. Just a thought, Good luck with everything!!
Thank you! It's the angle. Only one of those shells is bigger than the one he's in and at least one is smaller. I found a couple of lighter options, but I don't think he's capable of moving himself into one of them. I tried to interest him by holding him and a new shell opening-to-opening and he didn't even wiggle his feelers at it. When his ab was all curled up he voluntarily crawled out onto my hand, then I was able to gently uncurl his ab and slide it into the shell he's in. He's not tried to exit it since. Wish I could explain to him that this other shell is lighter!

User avatar

Topic author
hprmom
Posts: 502
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2016 4:17 pm
Location: Orlando, FL

Re: Naked and missing limbs

Post by hprmom » Thu May 09, 2019 9:30 pm

Today Sparky (we don’t know which of our seven he is, so we’ve nicknamed him with a bit of spunk) seemed a bit more active. Every time I checked on him he was wiggling his one leg, or scraping a q-tip popsicle with his little appendages. He spent HOURS—literally like 4-5 hours—scraping q-tips and a bit of mushed strawberry on a skewer. I wonder if he’s eating the cotton (I got organic swabs just in case!).

Video of eating from a q-tip: [video] https://flic.kr/p/TGXMRE[/video]

Conditions in the 5-gallon iso we made up yesterday stabilized so I moved him over (from the plastic tote) after dinner tonight.

The weirdest is when I put him in the msw tonight, he face planted and flattened himself as far under as he could get (water is only 1/2” deep). I righted him thinking he had fallen but he did it again so I just kept an eye on him. After 15 minutes I moved him to the freshwater and he repeated this performance. I took him out and offered new food on a stick, but he looked very put out, sitting very still and I imagine glaring at me, lol. So I put him back in the freshwater and he went completely face down with his shell opening facing down, and stayed there for 20 minutes! What’s weird about all this is we’ve never seen a crab voluntarily submerge, they always cling to the sides of water bowls and just dip a foot in for a drink.

I’d like to give him a deeper water option but what if he does NOT want to go under? I guess tomorrow I’ll make it an inch deep and see what he does. Does he NEED to completely submerge or is this enough?

Coming up after his 20-min dive: [video] https://flic.kr/p/2fRfiht[/video]

Soaking must have worked up his appetite because when I set him down on the sub he immediately went to work on a new popsicle (mashed banana and powdered pb).

At this point he’s looking pretty good and I’m concerned the biggest impediment to his survival could be my own ignorance. Like, whether I’ll be able to tell when he’s ready to molt, and if I’m wrong and I cover him up will he starve/dehydrate! From his ashy color and lack of leg hairs I think he was due for a molt even if this emergency hadn’t happened. I’ll just keep coming back here and checking in for advice as the situation progresses.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

User avatar

Oliviet#1
Posts: 639
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:07 pm
Location: USA

Re: Naked and missing limbs

Post by Oliviet#1 » Thu May 09, 2019 9:53 pm

Lol I don’t think I would be much help for the deeper water, but you might want to keep an eye out for signs of molting.
I have had pets in the past, but my family can’t have any furry or feathered ones due to allergies. I usually try my best to help and currently trying to set up a crabitat. I also try to treat others with Love!❤️

User avatar

Motörcrab
Posts: 1255
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:56 pm
Location: Coal Region in Pennsylvania
Contact:

Re: Naked and missing limbs

Post by Motörcrab » Fri May 10, 2019 1:07 am

Our Eddie did the same thing in the water. He would stretch way out extending his leg out as far as he can. I used short containers for the water pools, maybe 1-1/2 inches tall. Even with one leg Eddie was able to reach to the top of the container and pull himself up out of the water.

Once they are getting ready to molt they will refuse food and stop drinking. After a few days of inactivity they will be ready to molt. I never got to to this point with Eddie. I did but these same signs are also similar to when they start shutting down too..

After a week or two you should start to see gell limbs forming at the ends of where his legs were. They have a milky white color and slowly grow. These are also a sign of doing well

Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk


Post Reply