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Stop hermit crab abuse at Petsmart stores!

This petition had 538 supporters

Picture this: you're walking down a boardwalk or through a pet store and you see a child excitedly pointing at a hermit crab for sale. The child really likes the little animal, and the distraction will make little Jimmy stop begging for a puppy for a while, so the parents agree to buy the hermit crab for their child. They spontaneously purchase a carry tank for the crab, buy some brightly colored gravel for the bottom of the enclosure, they pick out hermit crab food pellets, and select a sponge for the crab's water. Their squealing child adds a couple of brightly colored shells with children's characters painted on the side to the collection.

The family totes home the new addition, and within a week, little Jimmy forgets about the tiny animal, leaving the little carrier to collect dust on a bookshelf. Within a month, the hermit crab dies and in order to hold off more desperation for a barking ball of fur, the child's parents begin the process again with a new crab.

Sadly, this supposed cycle of family bonding is actually a cycle of animal abuse. Every year, thousands, if not millions, of hermit crabs end up like little Jimmy's, a quickly forgotten bedroom decoration instead of a loved and respected wild animal. The wrong sources make us think that the shelled creatures are vacation souvenirs and good starter pets for curious young children, but in reality they are complex exotic pets that require extensive care and are unconventionally pricey in the long run. Don't get me wrong, hermit crabs make fascinating little pets for the right person, but they are anything than what the media makes them out to be: cheap, easy pets who don't deserve the respect most animals receive. If you still think hermit crabs are a good starter pet for little kids, consider this: how many kids do you know that want a pet that only wakes up at night, spends much of its time hidden away in the substrate, needs to be ignored for months while molting, pinches and draws blood instead of cuddles and licks, and takes up time that could be spent playing video games or eating ice cream with friends?

Every potential and current pet owner has their eye on stores like Petsmart. What Petsmart does, we take notice of. Petsmart is a pet store. They are supposed to love their animals and model responsible pet care. Why aren't they fulfilling this vision? What do you suppose will happen when people get a pet like a hermit crab? Will they go online and spend hours researching its care or trust what they see in the improper habitat? Will they look into trustworthy resources on the internet or listen to the charming, smiling Petsmart employee? Will they read a forum's detailed care guide or peek into a flashy brochure at Petsmart.

The Petsmart hermit crab habitat looks appealing at first, but don't be fooled. Hermit crabs don't like dry mulch. They need deep, moist sand to dig and molt in. Hermit crabs don't eat pellets loaded with carbs and chemicals. They prefer fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains. Hermit crabs don't drink from a sponge brown with mold and bacteria. They soak themselves in freshwater and saltwater. Hermit crabs don't want those tight shells coated in toxic paint. They need natural shells with room for them to grow. Hermit crabs don't appreciate cold air. They require a temperature of 75-80 degrees. Hermit crabs don't want to live alone in a small tank. They want to live in a colony with other crabs in at least 10 gallons of space. Hermit crabs don't live happily in the dry air. They need a constant humidity of 78-80% to breathe properly through their modified gills. Without it, they will slowly suffocate and die. Petsmart hermit crabs are plucked from their homes in the wild to put up with outrageous abuse like this? How is this even legal or considered "okay"?

I'm 14 years old, and I'm the proud owner of 3 hermit crabs named Lola, Brigadier, and Harley. I adopted each of them from my local Petsmart, and I'm happy to say they are thriving in a stable environment. They eat frozen bloodworms and brine shrimp along with other healthy foods, they have cholla wood to climb on, deep bowls to take dips in, and everything else a hermit crab should have. Because of places like Petsmart, millions of hermit crabs around the country and missing out on quality care. No, my hermit crabs aren't spoiled. They are simply provided with the things they need to survive. Two of my hermit crabs came to me both missing a limb, and I had another crab, Penny, I got from the same Petsmart who sadly didn't make it due to the horrible conditions we rescued her from.

I've educated myself more and more overtime and I don't think I'll be adopting a hermit crab from a place like Petsmart again unless they change the way they treat their animals. I don't want to support what goes into getting those hermit crabs from the shore to the store. When I'm capable of adding more hermit crabs to my family, I'll go through a small rescue operation or find someone who needs to rehome their hermit crabs. In the same way, I also encourage you to avoid Petsmart and other places like such and get your hermit crabs from a reputable source. Of course, do plenty of research before buying hermit crabs and ask yourself if they're the right pet for you!

I hope there will come a day when we won't always have to avoid Petsmart. We won't always have to look at Petsmart as a place where animals are abused and deprived of their worth. We can make a difference. We can change the way people look at hermit crabs and we can change the future of these poor animals if you just sign and share this petition. We can't let places like Petsmart be the reason it's supposedly alright to mistreat these exotic animals.

Together we must end the neglectful and ignorant "care" Petsmart gives their hermit crabs. Pet stores are the role model for proper pet care, yet they banish their hermit crabs to a life of hopelessness, misery, and suffering.

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