Some of you may recall that K got a couple of hermit crabs for her last birthday: Lily and Emma. Lily was the smaller, intrepid one, Emma mostly just sulked. And a few weeks later, Emma dropped dead out of her shell, which was kind of sad and icky.
Lily toughed it out alone for a couple of months, burying herself for longer and longer periods, no longer her usual cheerful self. K largely ignored her but I worried because hermit crabs are social creatures. Finally I badgered Ralf into ordering two new crabs, which K named Bruno and Manuel.
Don't ask, I have no idea where these names came from.
Manuel has a long, thin shell and we rarely see him. Bruno is the easiest to find because he's gigantic. In the beginning I feared he'd eaten Lily, although hermit crabs aren't supposed to be cannibals, but she re-appears from time to time.
Because Bruno is too big to hide and fairly active (he bangs on the glass with his big claw when he wants something) I have grown unexpectedly fond of him. Not quite love, more like active good will.
Which is why when I saw his shell-less body lying lifeless I nearly cried.
But wait! It wasn't his body, it was just his skin, which he'd somehow peeled off entirely, eye stalks and all. The rest of him had crawled back into his shell to grow new skin. Apparently they do this periodically.
Because we have a personal connection, I felt interested and proud instead of completely grossed out, a bit like when one's child blows it's nose properly for the first time.
You'll be happy to know he's doing quite well.
The crabs are not our only pets. We also have a cheesecake-eating cat and the neighbor's bunnies are bunking with us for a couple of weeks. And I discovered yesterday that both of my children possess an impressive fur collection, i.e., a pile of cast-off fur from our own and various neighbor's pets.
My aunt started the trend when we visited her last year. As a parting gift to the girls she presented them each with a small tuft of fur from her angora cat.
You should have Ralf's face. . . it was glorious. I took the proud lead in the strange family competition that day, mwa ha ha ha ha!!!
You can't buy memories like that.
So that's our little nuclear family: mama, papa, kids, crabs, cat, various visiting animals and a growing pile of fur that will one day destroy our vacuum cleaner.