25 Apr 2007

Hermit Crab Nudity

Dear Blue Lobster:

don't you think hermit crabs when they are out of the shell are disgusting? they gross me out


Dear Gentle Sir:

The hermit crab is an ancient creature representing the superfamily Paguroidea and its seven families that has existed for some 70 million years.

In the hermit crab's unique evolution it came to depend on ammonite and gastropod shells to serve as auxiliary protection. As they evolved, however, their tails became completely soft and the hermits then needed to house their now-vulnerable abdomens within shells. Only the Coconut Crab (Birgus latro) is capable of roaming free.

Humans first noticed the hermits' "nudity" and exploited its potential symbolism over 30,000 years ago when tribes of aborigines in Australia used them in fertility rituals. The men of the tribes would hold a crab to their genitals where it would clasp on with its claws. They would then dance about until a woman gave them a shell, into which the hermit would move.

As clothed, shameful human beings, any animal that appears "naked" — be it a shaved dog, a shedding snake, or a hermit after molting — unnerves and distracts us. But unlike we humans, other animals don't perceive nudity. The only animal with a problem here is the human one.

I recommend you spend some time with your hermit completely nude. Strip completely naked and take your hermit out of his terrarium. Stroke his shell and antennae and tickle his chin. Let him, in turn, crawl around on your prone body: the arch of your back, the crease of your upper thigh, your underarm.

As you explore one another's bodies realize that clothes are just another version of the hermit crab's shell, temporary and deceptive, and that shame of nudity is a yoke of societal concern — not one for you and your crab.


me said...


Anonymous said...

Thats sick. Why would one do that to get to know their pet? Although hermit crabs aren't very attractive, I'm not about to take my clothes off to get to know mine.

Tom! said...

Haha, thats so funny! What an Idea

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