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February 14, 2020 2018 baby, 18 months old. The babies from the 2018 spawn are now 18 months old and some are really starting to look like small adult crabs. It’s hard to believe I used to pick them up in an eyedropper. Others, from the same brood, are still quite small. The 2019 adopters and I are working together to try and figure out the reason(s) this very different growth may be happening. It’s mysterious, as it’s not tank specific. For instance, I have some of both, kept in the same conditions, with no discernible reason for the big difference in size.   2019 baby who climbed all the way to the top of a clover sprout. He looks very pleased with himself, don’t you think?. The babies from the 2019 spawn are doing well–insofar as I can tell. I refuse to attempt a count of 700+ baby crabs that are still the size of peppercorns. Fortunately, the wonderful adoption folks at LHCOS are doing a fantastic job of approving an awesome group of adopters (application here) to give these babies new forever homes. Now they just have to GROW so they can get big enough to adopt out. Many adopters will pick their babies up at Crab Con in July, some will have them shipped after the conference.   The really exciting news for the breeding program, though, is that I will be working one-on-one with a nearby hermit crab enthusiast who has agreed to try her hand at raising zoeae–with some help from yours truly. Brianna will be taking any purple pincher spawn that I get this summer and raising them herself in a setup of my design and with my mentorship along the way. This is really exciting news, because we definitely need more people successfully breeding … and what better way than with a batch of already hatched zoeae and some personal instruction?   One of the Coenobita lila I hope will breed. Coenobita lila. BUT! (Yes, it gets better!) What has me super stoked about this news is that it means I can focus 100% of my energies now on breeding the exotic species that I have in my care. Last summer, my female Ecuadorian (Coenobita compressus) had eggs, but she didn’t spawn correctly, so there were no babies to raise. And I now have strawberries (C. perlatus) that have been with me for eight months and I’m hoping they will gift me with babies this year. Coenobita lila close up. AND …. drumroll …. through a very happy twist of fate, I now have a brand new species that (I believe) has...

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Pre-registration is now open for Crab Con 2020! Your $50 pre-registration includes an all-access lanyard that grants you entry to: 1) the Opening Reception (a catered event held in the Best Western Grand Ballroom Friday evening 5-8); 2) the chance to view the captive-bred babies in person while approved adopters make their selections; 3) the opportunity to shop early at the tables of our vendors; 4) the Saturday talks and presentations covering a variety of topics centered around hermit crab husbandry; and 5) the Sunday morning farewell breakfast. Pre-registration also includes your own official Crab Con 2020 canvas bag containing a variety of conference swag donated by hermit crab supporters and vendors. Want to learn more? Join our Facebook group or follow us on Instagram (@crabcon2020)....

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Frederico and Saskia I’m pretty certain the Es mated this week (on August 6th). I have a hunch which of the two males mated with Saskia. I believe, based on follow-up protective behavior, that it was Frederico. This would put spawning for the Es sometime on or around September 4th. I have yet to see any mating behavior in my Purple Pinchers and no sign of eggs. That’s fine with me. If they don’t mate until September, then I get a little bit of a break between batches. The full moon is still a week away, though, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they “went for it” then. My PPs are pretty reliable full-moon maters. Having a soak. As for the strawberries, it’s now 31 days since Abby was observed mating and then was subsequently brought to me to give her eggs a chance to hatch. I’ve seen no spawning, but I did observe her shifting around and acting broody earlier this week. However, that behavior seems to have stopped as of this morning, so I believe Abby dropped her eggs overnight somewhere in the tank. I did a search, but didn’t find anything that looked like eggs. I’m guessing they were consumed by the other crabs. I really wanted this to work first time out of the gate, but straws, as a species, are completely new to me and I still have a lot to learn about their behavior, mating or otherwise. I’ve also been spending some time thinking about the breeding program in philosophical terms, too, including the bioethics of what I’m trying to do. Also what my long-term goals are, and just generally trying to figure out what I want my role to be in this long-term breeding project. Last year, I tried to induce spawning in Blue when I was sure it was time and she wasn’t going into the saltwater on her own. She was terrified as she went underwater, scrambled out as fast as she could, and then spent hours drying the eggs (which clearly hadn’t been ready after all). Then two days later she cast them onto some wood in the tat and the other crabs ate them. (I gathered some and added them to the saltwater, but none hatched.) I had clearly interfered at the wrong time and I took that as a reminder that I don’t actually know more than nature and that it’s not really under my control–it’s all up to the crabs. So, I won’t be forcing any human-induced spawning on Abby. I want her to trust me long-term, and we’re still just barely getting to know one...

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Crab Con was a great success. If you attended, thank you! It was amazing to meet all my virtual crabby friends and share the adventure with them. If you couldn’t make it, I hope to see you next year. We should be announcing a venue within the next month, perhaps locating it in a different city next summer. Stay tuned! This is Abby, a gift from Xenocrab and Motorcrab, friends from the HCA forum. And Abby has eggs! I was also brought six strawberry hermits–one with eggs!–from various generous adopters and supporters of the breeding program and I’m hoping to get a shot at breeding straws this summer. Fingers crossed! Now the adopters will all begin logging their quarterly check-ins so that we can track these babies growth and behavior over time. I’ll plan to post results from the October check-in as the first one is really just a baseline and we’re all sort of figuring things...

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We’re busily assembling the swag and getting items for Crab Con Marketplace ready for sale. These are the official Crab Con canvas bags with our new logo embroidered on them. They are sturdy, a sustainable, unbleached cotton fabric, and roomy enough to hold plenty of purchases. If you aren’t coming to Crab Con but want to own your own, we have a limited quantity available for purchase prior to the conference. You can find them here. And here’s an example of the hermit-crab-themed pottery that will be available at the Marketplace. In addition to the usual pea pod dishes and flower dishes from my EarthWaterFireStudio Etsy shop, there will be pottery hides (especially for the larger hermits who no longer fit their cocohuts), pool ladders, ocean-themed dishes, puzzle feeders, and more. Hope you can join us! July 13 and 14 at the Best Western Lockport. Be there or be …...

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Our brand new logo, courtesy of Indonesian crabber Rizky Perdana Chandra Putrano Are you interested in attending the First Annual Crab Con International adoption event on July 13th, 2019? If so, our block of rooms in the (Best Western Lockport) conference hotel is filling up quickly. Reserve your spot now! We’ve got a variety of Saturday talks scheduled. Topics include: Creating and Maintaining a Bioactive Setup, Land Hermit Crabs Species Identification, Land Hermit Crab Breeding Methods, Involving Kids in Hermit Crab Care, and How To Build a Vertical Crabitat. In the Crab Con Marketplace we have: a first-rate shell vendor bringing shells for all your adult and baby crab needs, including a selection of beautiful had-carved turbos in hard-to-find sizes; handmade pottery crab dishes, pottery hides, ladders, and sculpted dishware; conference swag (buttons, t-shirts, bags and more); custom-blended dehydrated hermit crab foods; crochet climbing nets and hammocks; lengths of freshly harvested and power washed cholla wood; foraged mosses, lichens, bark, and various deciduous woods, and so much more! Don’t miss out. Hope to see you...

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