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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Exploration: Crab City

Crab City
    

*Reader Beware: Random Post Ahead*

    
     I’ve always had a special place in my heart for hermits. 

Crabs, that is. 

I received a birthday hermit crab when I turned six, and he (she?) and I quickly became the best of friends. We held a funeral underneath the crabapple tree in our backyard about a week after I received it, so…I tend to be a a little too happy when I find the small crustaceans. 

As I said in my previous post, my parents and I went to the Red Sea for a mini-vacation this week, and while there, I discovered a place that I affectionately deemed “Crab City”. You can probably guess why. 

My mom and I were taking a walk along the shore at sunset, when I began to notice lots of movement close to the incoming tide. As I looked closer, I saw that hermit crabs were washing ashore in droves, quickly scurrying up the beach to find safe places to nestle in for the night.  I imagined them calling to one another, “Seeya tomorrow, Bill”, “Yeah, have a good night, Jim,” like factory workers clocking out for the day.  The more I looked at the sand, the more crabs I saw, some scampering across rocks, others picking through washed up seaweed.  

I hypothesized that they would do the same thing in reverse at sunrise, so I returned the next morning to observe. I soon realized that I was not the only one who wanted to be there when the crabs “woke up”. I also realized that the Big Shots of Crab City were not excited about tourists in their territory. 

Innocent Hermit Bystander
I was contentedly sitting on a larger rock watching the crabs, when a couple of crows flew over head and landed about 20 feet away from me, seeming to ignore my presence at first as they foraged through the rocks.  They squawked back and forth at one another, and one soon flew over to a rock about five feet away from me, still squawking. It moved closer, to about three feet.  Ignorant that I was, I thought Oh, he’s being friendly. That’s nice. The squawking soon grew louder and longer, until I moved to another spot in the cove about fifteen feet away, still clueless. 
Squawking at Me

The other bird now made its entrance, choosing to land about three feet away from me again, continuing to make a ruckus as it pecked through the rocks. Finally it began to click that these birds were not Crab City’s hospitality crew, but were foraging for breakfast on their turf, where I was not welcome. O-oh. Nature. 

They got more aggressive, so I quickly high-tailed it out of there, wishing the hermits luck and ducking as one crow flew right over my head followed by the other, twice. Once they reached their turf line, they both landed, pecking at the sand as if to say, 
“..And don’t ever come back!” 

Sigh.


As I explored nature this week, I learned through these crows (and some especially “friendly” fish) that if a creature enters my space bubble, its not because they’re feeling cuddly. 


Ah, nature. It’s a beautiful, and very scary, thing. 


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