Releasing crabs back into the wild after captivity?

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tlchristian
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Releasing crabs back into the wild after captivity?

Post by tlchristian » Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:01 am

Question up front: Will they survive in the wild again (hunting food/finding shells/etc..) after being in captivity for couple of years? Advice and or additional comments in advance of making this decision will be greatly appreciated.

Background: We have 3 VERY healthy, active and rapidly growing (current shell sizes larger than a golf ball approaching size of baseball) Caribbean purple pincher crabs (1 male/2 females). Rescued 2 small ones, at the time shells size of a quarter coin, from a souvenir store and found a pretty big 1, at the time shell about size of a golf ball, in the wild on vacation in Destin, Florida; brought to Tennessee over two years ago. 55 gallon tank, humidifier, auto controls (80 degrees and 75% humidity always), premium food and salt for water from the Hermit Crab Patch, premium shells from Naples Sea Shell Company, soil/sand, awesome selection driftwood for climbing, routine crabitat setup rotation, etc... We very rarely handle them; they are still shy, hide and run away from humans. Glad we rescued 2 out of souvenir store, nonetheless feeling it was a mistake taking from the wild. Now think about releasing all 3 where I found 1 in the wild.?.

Additional: Highly shy demeanor of alpha female from the wild affirms need to be free and she has specifically elevated specific behavior in the other 2. A 55 gallon tank really is a small space to spend the next 15+ years. Maybe it is best to survive free in the wild for 5 years as opposed to being confined in captivity for 3 times longer.?. I don't want to make a mistake.

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Re: Releasing crabs back into the wild after captivity?

Post by aussieJJDude » Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:19 am

While its a great idea, i would worry about the potential pathogens and diseases that they may of came into contact with while in captivity. While they may not show any symptoms, often other species can be impacted...

If it was me personally, I wouldn't do it but try to make their lives in captivity as great as possible...

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Re: Releasing crabs back into the wild after captivity?

Post by wodesorel » Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:26 am

Agreed. The two from a souvenir shop would have come from out of the country, likely Haiti. These crabs are shipped and warehoused with hermits of different species (Es, Ruggies, Violas) from different Pacific regions. The possibility for parasitic and disease transfer is high, and this is not something that should be introduced back into wild populations. There is also a good chance that after several years of being given security from danger and easy food access that their skills are rusty which would make regular survival difficult.

DNR offices that allow the taking of wild animals as pets have laws against release if an animal is kept more than 30 days for these reasons - both pathogen and possibility of survival. Now that she's in your care, it really is the best thing for her to stay.
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Re: Releasing crabs back into the wild after captivity?

Post by RiNiKy506 » Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:01 am

A lot of people don’t handle their crabs and they’re all normally shy, it’s the few that are friendly that are rare. I wouldn’t let them go, they’ve probably gotten so used to having their food handed to them and shells easily found. If you feel like you can’t care for them anymore you could put them in the adoption threads. I’m not saying that’s the case but I think they’d be better off on your care, especially since they’ve been with you for so long.


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tlchristian
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Re: Releasing crabs back into the wild after captivity?

Post by tlchristian » Wed Oct 17, 2018 1:02 am

Thanks everyone for the amazing, professional and expert input. We are definitely keeping them and not taking from the wild anymore.

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