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Sunsations: Hermit Crabs Aren't Souvenirs!

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Hermit crabs are complex animals who can live for over 30 years in their natural habitat, the tropical seashore. These social beings thrive in large colonies and often sleep piled up together. They enjoy climbing, foraging, and exploring and even work in teams to find food. When two crabs meet for the first time, they become acquainted through an elaborate exchange of clicking noises. These sensitive animals will even rub and nurse their wounds when they’re injured.

Every single land hermit crab sold in souvenir shops like Sunsations—hundreds of thousands every year—has been caught from the wild, as these animals do not breed readily in captivity.

Investigative footage has revealed that to the souvenir industry, hermit crabs are nothing more than disposable trinkets. A shocking investigation of one hermit crab supplier* in Florida, for example, recently revealed what happens to many hermit crabs after being ripped from the seashore, before they reach store shelves: They are confined in filthy, crowded warehouses by the thousands and tossed in bags with hundreds of others to be shipped to retailers. Hermit crabs depend on their natural shells for protection, yet in another video, these delicate animals are shown being forcibly shoved into painted shells to be sold to tourists. Clearly, for an industry that profits off selling millions of these tiny animals, animal welfare isn't even an afterthought.

Once at the boardwalk, hermit crabs are sold to tourists in tiny, barren cages with some pebbles and a plastic palm tree. Deprived of everything natural to them, they are destined to die in mere months.

They often spend their short captive lives slowly perishing from suffocation because their modified gills require high humidity to breathe. These crabs also need deep substrate to molt and grow; without it, their bodies will halt the molting process until their death. Many are slowly poisoned by chlorinated tap water and the toxic paint adorning their shells. Hermit crabs don’t care if they’re pink or purple, but they pay with their lives because we do.

Sunsations is a beloved family store—but it is also one of the largest sellers of wild hermit crabs on the East Coast. Its customers would be shocked to learn that these crabs are wild animals who are torn from their habitats to be sold in barren, crowded conditions that lead to their untimely deaths.

Please join us in telling Sunsations to stop supporting the cruel hermit crab trade. Urge it replace the sale of living hermit crabs—who are so much more than mere trinkets—with non-living souvenirs that will truly last for generations to come instead of rotting in a cage by summer's end.

To learn more, visit www.PlightoftheHermies.org. Thank you.

*PETA investigation, not a Sunsations supplier