Sat, Jul 30, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Hermit crabs swap garbage for actual shells in Kenting

Staff Writer, with CNA

Hermit crabs on the beaches of Kenting (墾丁) are once again able to make their homes in real shells instead of using garbage, thanks to a campaign called “Seeking Homes for Crabs,” according to a report by cable news station FTV yesterday.

Hermit crabs — which do not produce their own shells and instead use empty shells for protection — have been harmed by the nation’s deteriorating marine and seaside environment, especially in the resort areas at the nation’s southern tip.

Hermit crabs have been found in Kenting National Park using garbage dumped by people, such as fireworks tubes and the outer cases of transformers for fluorescent lamps, as their homes.

Feeling sorry for the crabs, Kenting Youth Activity Center staffers launched a campaign in April to collect seashells for the “homeless” hermit crab.

The center has more than 1,000 seashells of all types and sizes that people had collected, FTV said.

The seashells have been placed in a cordoned off area near the beach along with rice bran to lure the hermit crabs to the shells in the hope that they will decide to “move house.”

As of Thursday, 26 crabs had successfully changed homes, leaving the garbage and moving into real seashells.

“It’s thrilling to see hermit crabs discard their garbage shells and move into real seashells. It feels like the crabs are moving into luxury apartments,” a worker with the center said.

The worker also urged people to stop littering and refrain from taking seashells off the beaches.

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