Stiff Front Legs As A Molting Symptom?

Questions about suspected deaths.
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Carrie
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Stiff Front Legs As A Molting Symptom?

Post by Carrie »

Has anyone heard of hermit crab paralysis? It seems to start in the legs and moves out. The legs stick out as far as they can go and the crab can't retract. Pinching is possible, and hand-feeding. Is there any kind of treatment for it?? I can't find anything online, except about bacterial infections and dormancy.

The crab: small-medium (1" shell size, the opening measurement). He was very active and loved to change shells (he went between 2 shells, back and forth, once a day) before this. He's not used to human contact--he just roamed the tank. He lived with 4 crabs--one medium crab, one small-medium who loves jumbo shells, another small-medium who's in the process of regrowing 2 legs, and a very small shy crab. I think he fell out of a big piece of driftwood (there's a hole in it that the crabs can fit in). I found him upside down and flailing around. It looked like he was in pain at the time. He's been sick for a week and a half. At first he could still retract into his shell with one visible leg sticking up, but he's not able to. I fed him some honey and spirulina on a toothpick--he can't move about on his own. He dug a little trench in the substrate in the iso tank. I've been giving him salt water baths along with a short distilled water bath to make sure he's getting fresh water. That's once a day. He cannot retract into his shell anymore b/c his legs are sticking out too much. He fought me feeding him at first--he pinched me for about an hour 3 days ago when I tried to feed him and then attacked the toothpick. I'm trying to balance giving him food and water with the stress he's having from being sick and handled more than usual. He can still wave his legs around and his antennae do move, with only one of the ones used for "scenting" really moving a lot. He opens his claw all the way at me and will pinch, and he didn't do that before. (And I don't blame him.) His last molt was c. 12/4/14, with no complications. He came up on his own and switched into a pearl turbo shell that he's stayed in ever since. He hasn't been digging that I know of.

The tank: he's in the iso tank now (a 20g with 4" Eco Earth substrate and a UTH and a lid to retain humidity). When he got sick the AcuRite thermometer was going between 74 degrees and a spike to 79 degrees. The hygrometer went from 68& to 81%. (These readings are for the day of and the next three days). The other crabs aren't affected. Tank 2, where Will lived, is a 25 g long, with a hinged glass lid. At the time there was 5" of Eco Earth substrate. I had a 50 w CHE in the middle/back of the tank. There are pools of both salt water and fresh water that he could have submerged in. The crabs are fed mixes from the Hermit Crab Addiction store (PP mix, molting mix, boost powder, carrots, crabby trail mix, dried shrimp, etc). The crabs have cuttlebone and eggshells for calcium.
I changed the substrate entirely in Tank 2 b/c it was too wet (and I wish I'd noticed it sooner, but I've had health issues again). I sterilized everything in the tank. The crabs get distilled water and Instant Ocean salt water.

I hope I didn't do this to Will b/c of how sick I've been... ordinarily I'd notice if the substrate was too wet (it went from a moldable consistency that's good for tunneling in to too much water, and it did it pretty quickly). And I hope this is coherent, writing from behind a migraine that's gone on for 2 weeks... Thanks in advance.
Carrie
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ladybug15057
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Re: Hermit crab paralysis?

Post by ladybug15057 »

Carrie, not sure if this is what you're meaning, but I have had a few hermies that their front leg/legs would stick out and not move even after being put down. This is something I noted when they were in premolt.
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Carrie
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Location: OH, USA

Re: Hermit crab paralysis?

Post by Carrie »

Oh... wow. I thought this crab wouldn't molt so soon, but that could be it. I keep hoping that's what it is. It is mostly in his front legs. Today is the one-year anniversary of when I brought Will home. He's in the iso tank in a small hole (not a tunnel). Maybe he'll surface molt. His name is Will and he's a pet shop rescue. He's had a hard time at life. I will revise my treatment of him to pre-molt care instead of illness care. You're the first person who's told me anything, Marie. I've never had a crab do this before. Thanks!!
Carrie
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Carrie
Zoea I
Zoea I
Posts: 142
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Gender: Female
Hermit crabs: 5
Total gallons: 30
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Location: OH, USA

Re: Hermit crab paralysis?

Post by Carrie »

Here's a pic I took of Will a week ago. Tonight he's actually managed to retract into his shell. He hasn't been able to do that in all this time. I think they're almost all pre-molt. I have only 4 crabs on the surface, counting Will.
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Carrie
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ladybug15057
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Re: Hermit crab paralysis?

Post by ladybug15057 »

Yep, that's the "peg leg look". Over the years I have seen so many different premolt symptoms and just when I think I have seen them all in 14 + years they throw another out there every so often. Good luck with him Carrie!
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Carrie
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Re: Hermit crab paralysis?

Post by Carrie »

He's really strong and really pinchy. He's got a lot of energy. He pinched me for an hour last week. He just can't walk b/c of his legs. At least he finally managed to retract into his shell. I hope it doesn't hurt. He's been acting like he might be in pain and/or very scared. I've been leaving him alone in the iso tank except the day he got hand-fed and for water every other day. Now that he's retracted I haven't been getting him out for the water b/c I think he's more comfortable in his shell. How long do they have before they molt when they get like this? Thanks, Marie, and good to see you again. :)
Carrie
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ladybug15057
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Re: Hermit crab paralysis?

Post by ladybug15057 »

Carrie as sad as it is, I no sooner think. "Ok, so this took x time with abc when they did it" I am proven WAY off. I have had it vary from a week, up to a little over 2 months. Rarely 3 months. These little creatures are bound and determined to keep humans guessing is the conclusion I have came up with. Best I do is make sure perimeters of tank are correct, offer both waters and a variety of food whether it looks like they are moving or not.
One, Flipper (didn't show any pms's) was getting his bath. Next thing I knew he he turned upside down and began to float. I thought I killed him, but I always give benefit of the doubt. Put him in iso and not long afterwards he had molted?
Marie (aka ladybug15057)

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Carrie
Zoea I
Zoea I
Posts: 142
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2004 4:12 pm
Gender: Female
Hermit crabs: 5
Total gallons: 30
Total tanks: 1
Location: OH, USA

Re: Hermit crab paralysis?

Post by Carrie »

Thanks again, Marie... I've been out of town since the 24th, so I haven't commented. Great info! The crabs do seem to keep to their own time schedule, don't they? Little Will couldn't get to food or water on his own. I was putting him in a water bath every day. But on Jan. 21 he left his shell and I found him the next day. Then I went out of town. Dad was to watch the crabs and I'd left him instructions for Will. I feel so bad...
Carrie
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ladybug15057
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Gender: Female
Hermit crabs: 82
Total gallons: 305
Total tanks: 7
Location: Southwestern Pa., U.S.

Re: Hermit crab paralysis?

Post by ladybug15057 »

My daughters one hermie we thought was depressed. He did not move for water or food for 2 months. (this was back in our first year of crabbing) Snowman just bunkered in his shell so we put him between the food and water bowls with a hideaway over him. One day scared us, he just slipped out of his shell! Well, his exo did. Next time he molted couple months later, no pms symptoms at all.
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