by Eric Kurfess
FORT MYERS – If you wake up on the wrong side of the bed in the morning, you may feel a little crabby. Well, here at Shell Point, we were lucky enough to find someone who wakes up on the right side of the bed with the same feeling. Carol Ann Ormes (Parkwood) is the loving caretaker of her two pet crabs. Carol has what may be the two oldest living land hermit crabs in the world. Jonathan Livingston Crab and Crab Kate will turn 29 years old in August, far surpassing the lifespan of your average land hermit crab. And Carol should know- her online photo gallery is one of the top links from the unofficial crab website, CrabStreetJournal.com.
Land hermit crabs in captivity typically have a life span of one or two years, depending on how well they are taken care of. After nearly three decades, Carol clearly takes every possible precaution to ensure her tiny friends’ safety and good health. When asked about her secret to the crabs’ longevity, she said, “Since the crabs came from a humid climate, I figured I should create a tank that was humid for them.” Other enthusiasts are known to keep their crabs in a dry, sandy environment, but according to Carol, this results in a shorter life span, as the crab will dry out and their exoskeleton will become brittle and crack.
Each crab has his own distinct personality. Jonathan, for instance, is an adventurer and war veteran. Carol explains: “Jonathan is an explorer and he wants to get out and run around. He once climbed up the bathroom wall. When I wasn’t looking he fell off and he broke about a nickel-sized hole in his shell. That was the first time it had happened in 29 years, so I had to give him a quick bath. Then I concocted a patch with a purple heart for him and he just loved it.”