Sharing a shell by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks is a story about a hermit crab who finds a new shell. At first he shares it with the anemone and bristle worm who come along and offer to help him by scaring off fish and keeping the shell clean. But soon he decides the shell is too big for the three of them and asks them to leave. It’s not until a storm hits the rock pool that he realises how important his friends are to him and decides to let them both share his shell.
A house for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle (author of The very hungry caterpillar) is another story about a hermit crab that finds a new shell – 2 new shells in fact. In this story, the hermit crab finds a new shell and other sea creatures to join him to help decorate, clean and protect it. Eventually he outgrows this shell and is afraid to leave his friends behind. He finds another hermit crab to move into it and look after his friends while he goes off to find another new one. This time he is not afraid, because he knows he will make some new friends, which he does. This story will help young children face their fears about growing up and learn that sometimes change can be a good thing.
Here are some fun facts about hermit crabs:
- Hermit crabs are crustaceans, related to crabs, lobsters and shrimp, and can be found in oceans and on land all over the world.
- Hermit crabs are not considered true crabs, as they don’t have their own shell, but live in the empty shells of other creatures like whelks (as in this story), conches, periwinkles and sea snails.
- Hermit crabs need a shell to protect their soft tissue, and they change their shells as they grow.
- Hermit crabs also moult as they grow, which means they lose their old exoskeleton and grow a new one; they hide under the sand to protect themselves until the new skeleton hardens.
- Hermit crabs are not actually hermits – they live in colonies of 100 or more animals.
- Hermit crabs measure from 1cm up to 40cm in length.
- Hermit crabs have 10 legs with 2 claws (one bigger than the other), 2 long stalks with eyes on the end and antennae for sensing what is around them.
- Both sea and land hermit crabs breathe through their gills; land hermit crabs must live in areas of high humidity to survive.
- Hermit crabs have a symbiotic relationship with anemone, which means that both sides benefit. The anemone acts as camouflage and protects the crab from potential predators with their stinging tentacles. In return, the anemone eats the crab’s leftovers and gets taken to other food sources.
- Land hermit crabs are the ones sold in pet stores and are captured from the wild, as they have never been successfully bred in captivity.
Here are some of our favourite hermit crab crafts for kids!
A house for hermit crab craft from Naturally educational
A house for hermit crab craft from Teach them to fly
A house for hermit crab craft from I heart crafty things
Hand print hermit crab craft from The kindergarten connection
Paper plate hermit crab kids craft from Glued to my crafts
Hand print crabs from Things to share and remember
Paper plate crab craft from Crafty morning
Rocking paper plate craft from Pink stripey socks
Cupcake liner crab craft from Love and marriage
Cute crab kids craft from Yesterday on Tuesday
Egg carton crab craft from The source
What is your kids’ favourite book about crabs? What is their favourite crab craft?
We would love to see their creations – just post pics to Facebook or Instagram with #littlegreencrafters. 🙂