23 Nov 2006

Should Crustaceans Exercise?

Dear Blue Lobster:

my doctor recommends both diet and exercise, and while my crustaceans always get live food, i don't have them in an exercise program. i recently stumbled upon the movie below and wondered if this is some form of animal cruelty, or should i be doing this with my crayfish and fiddler crabs?


Dear Gentle Sir:

Indeed, this is animal cruelty: This poor shrimp is being subjected to a strenuous physical activity without basic consideration for its person. While exercise is a good idea for any animal, the way in which it is executed here is not ideal. There are better ways to exercise your cray, shrimp, or crab.

The issue: Where are the jams?

Music is a great motivational tool when exercising. From the jogging revolution of the late Seventies with spandexed yuppies polluting the streets listening to their Walkmans to today's youth cavorting about campus equipped with their slick, shiny iPods, music is a nigh-universal animus for working out.

So what is to be done with your small family of fiddler crabs? What kind of music should you blast into the tank while you force them to run for miles on end on their little treadmill? It's hard to gauge a crustacean's taste in pop culture, so it's best to keep it simple and play something you know it will appreciate. This leaves only one choice: the all-time greatest workout track ever: The Final Countdown.

In this futuristic rock track, synthesizers and men in strained falsetto deliver a rousing anthem that has driven many an athlete to the next level. Your crabs and crays can march straight to Valhalla on their treadmills, hearts pumping pure adrenaline through their little spiny bodies as the lead melody repeats throughout the song. After an hour or so on the treadmill, they can raise their tiny claws in the air, cutting through the pain barrier and reaching a natural high they just can't experience sitting under a rock all day.

To illustrate the point, here's a video someone made of their shrimp's daily training regiment. Note the exertion and endurance as well as the use of its pleopods (swimmerets) as it practices for the International Crustacean Marathon later in the year.

Heading for Venus...