Establishing a pecking order? Crab keeps finding others underground

Where we discuss the behavior of our hermit crabs, as in fights, pecking orders, shell swaps, etc. Please post all naked-crab posts in the Emergency forum.
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Establishing a pecking order? Crab keeps finding others underground

Post by craboloading » Tue Jun 16, 2020 8:46 pm


I have had 2 medium-large PP's for a little over a year now. I recently added a small PP to the mix a month or so ago. They live in a 29 gallon aquarium with 8+ inches of EE/sand mixture.

Recently (as in...the past 3 days), one of my larger crabs - Beacon - keeps finding the other 2 crabs underground. The other day Scuttles was underground and had a little window looking out the front of the aquarium. I notice a few hours later that Beacon is underground in the same area and sort of rolling Scuttles around/maneuvering him. I watched them for about 15 min and could not handle the stress anymore and dug them up to separate.

Then tonight the exact same thing happened. My newest crab, Felicity, had a window where I could see her underground. I come by later in the evening and Beacon is right there with her doing the same thing. I again watch for about 15 min and separate. Which I really did not want to do tonight because Scuttles is underground and I do not know where.

I guess I am just confused. I know crabs have a pecking order and will toss one another around a bit, but the only time I have ever observed this was during a shell attack my oldest two had about a year ago. I am mostly concerned that Beacon keeps finding them underground and they have nowhere to go. At least above substrate they can scuttle off if they feel threatened.

Is this normal? Let me know if the emergency template would be helpful, but I do have plenty of shells ranging from small-large (at least 16 in the aquarium right now) that I rotate occasionally and rinse with dechlor water. Feed a wide variety of foods, fresh and dried. I'm just so stressed thinking Beacon is hunting down my other two. :(
3 PPs: Beacon the Two Pound Crab of Light and Purity & Scuttles the Shadow Crab of Darkness and Desparity ~ 2/10/19 and Felicity Crab-19 ~ 5/24/20
1 Orange Cat: Chloe Hannah ~ 4/2015

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Location: Chillicothe

Re: Establishing a pecking order? Crab keeps finding others underground

Post by SnipSnapDad » Tue Jun 16, 2020 9:12 pm

I'd keep an eye on them for now, but I'm guessing it's a dominance display. I had my guys for a couple months and never had anything happen until one day the larger one just started wanting to roll his brother around. Its possible that the addition of the new crab has changed a dynamic and Beacon is just looking to flex on the others.

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