Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Hermit crabs and the accuracy of kids' menus

For the weekend, I was in Nashville for a cheer competition. We went to Opry Mills and had dinner at the Aquarium. I was looking at the kids' menu and noticed Herman the hermit crab. So, this post is about hermit crabs and the issue of whether or not Herman is accurate.


Actual hermit crabs 


Hermit crabs are crustaceans in the family Decapoda, along with shrimp, prawns, lobsters, other crabs, and other things you might have eaten for dinner. Unlike other crabs, they don't have a hard exoskeleton, but a thin, soft exoskeleton which is twisted to fit the snail shells most hermit crabs reside in. They'll eat just about anything, including small fish, invertebrates, and plankton. They are predated on by fish, sea stars, and water birds like gulls. To get snail shells, they don't kill the snails that inhabit them, but rather sense dead or dying snails. But, there is combat and potential death in a hermit crab's house hunting. The crabs may fight to the death to get a shell, and as the crabs grow, they continually seek new shells. Despite their name, hermit crabs are fairly social creatures, sometimes found in the wild in groups of 100 or more. Before the crabs mate, the male may touch the female's claws or sometimes even pick her up and carry her around.


Hermit Crabs Fact Sheet. Seattle Aquarium, 2016. Web. 17. May 2016. http://www.seattleaquarium.org/hermit-crab.


Herman the Hermit Crab from The Aquarium Restaurant

 This is Herman, the hermit crab character from The Aquarium's kid's menus. He looks like a perfectly fine hermit crab, with two fairly large claws, eyes sticking out above his head, and a twisted snail shell as his home. Next up is an actual hermit crab.











This is a photo of an actual, wild hermit crab from Shutterstock. You might notice some features that Herman left out, including far more than two claws, and also the fact that the snail shell isn't purple. So, obviously, Herman isn't an accurate wild hermit crab. But, however...













This is a photo of somebody's pet hermit crab. Notice that its shell is purple. With the rise of plastic hermit crab shells or painted snail shells, Herman could be a fairly accurate hermit crab, but more precisely, an escaped pet with a custom shell. So, on accuracy, I give Herman 3 out of 5 Unicode hearts (I don't know how to make Unicode stars) ♥♥♥ for not being accurate for the wild, but potentially being a fairly accurate escaped pet. 

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