Hermit crabs are looking for a tiny house in Thailand

Hermit crab, photo: Ahmed Sobah on Unsplash
Hermit crab, photo: Ahmed Sobah on Unsplash

Hermit crab numbers in southern Thailand have gone up so much that the national park authority asked the public on Friday to donate extra shells for them to live in.

“The reason (we need shells) is because of surging numbers of hermit crabs. I think tens of thousands,” Mu Koh Lanta National Park director Veerasak Srisatjung told AFP.

The population of the crustaceans has exploded on some islands in the Mu Koh Lanta National Park. Marine biologists believe the lack of tourists could be a factor.

“If there’s a low number of tourists and fewer activities in the coastal areas that might be a possible factor explaining the high survival rates,” marine biologist Thamasak Yeemin from Ramkhamhaeng University told AFP. He added that weather, sea currents, plankton supply and predators were other influences.

Hermit crabs protect themselves by wearing and living inside the discarded shells of other animals. Some crabs have outgrown their previous homes and have moved into pieces of rubbish such as cans, glass bottles or caps.

Veerasak said authorities had detected a shell shortage about a week ago. The national park authority urged people to post or courier donations of cone-shaped shells to its office in Krabi province.

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