When we bought our hermit crabs, my 4 year old learnt several things from the pet shop lady.
One. If a hermit crab loses its leg, it can grow back again. Thus Anthony and Billy have now been elevated to Superhero Status in our house – never mind that it might take something like TWENTY YEARS to grow back. These dudes are magic!
Two. If you blow warm, moist air on the curled-up crab, it might peek out of it’s shell.
Now this has resulted in an irritating habit, quite difficult to correct. Callum will blow and blow on his crab with much frustration. Many times, he’ll hold the hermit crab right up to his mouth – to which we snap, DO NOT PUT THE CRAB INTO YOUR MOUTH!!!
Now one particular evening. I’m sure many of you can see where this is going. Callum was rather defiant. He was trying to do a trick with his crab, and he wasn’t handling it with care. DO NOT PUT THE CRAB INTO YOUR MOUTH!! I scolded him. I nagged him. I gave warnings. I finally took his hermit crab away and proceeded to launch into a lecture about The Importance of Caring For Creatures.
All the while, no one was watching Sean.
That is. Until we heard the sickening sound of a shell being rolled in a mouth, clacking against teeth. And Sean going, “AAUUURRGGGG!”
I freaked out. Oh. My. God! My 2 year old is CHOKING! ON A CRAB! HE SWALLOWED A LIVE CRAB!
I shrieked “SPIT IT OUT! SPIT IT OUT!”
I quickly realised that he wasn’t choking, and that the crab had in fact nipped the tip of his tongue. It was like a cartoon. My son, curled up on the floor, his tongue sticking right out, with a little crazy crab dangling Spiderman style to his tongue, holding on for its dear life, dripping with saliva.
Sean screamed and cried and clawed at his face. I grabbed hold of the crab and yanked. I wouldn’t come off. It had a firm grip. Crap, this is going to be bad. Sean squealed and flapped his hands. What was I going to do?
I finally gave it one last yank. And thankfully it came off.
I dunked the crab in some water. And placed it back in its tank.
I assessed the damage on Sean’s tongue : A teeny tiny, shallow spot of blood on the tip of his tongue.
Surprisingly, both boys have not been affected by this incident. Myself on the other hand…