The proceeds from your purchase help support our hermit crab rescue efforts.
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My name is Evie Michalak. I created Hermit Harbor as a program operated under my boarding and grooming business, Pet Resort & Suites. I have always been an "animal person", my involvement with hermit crabs is relatively new but I have been active in animal rescue for decades. Both of my children are involved with the rescue as well as my wonderful, caring staff at Pet Resort. My manager assists with public interaction and our Facebook account. All of my staff look after the crabs in the lobby and assist with their adoption.
My son was 9 years old when he showed an interest in getting hermit crabs so I had him sit down and read up on how to care for them. I thought I gathered a fair amount of good information but later discovered it wasn't nearly enough. I purchased three small crabs from a local pet store and shortly after bringing them home, one passed away. I immediately started scouring the internet for everything I could find about hermit crabs and learned about PPDS (post purchase death syndrome) and the terrible cruelties hermits suffer in the pet trade.
Before we picked up our first adopted crab, after learning why nobody should ever buy a crab, I shared the sad truths about where hermits come from with both of my kids. They felt horrible for having gotten crabs in the first place and asked me to drive them to the Florida Keys to be released (this is not a humane or ethical option). We discussed how we could do more to help hermits by rescuing those in need, promoting adoption, and develop ways to educate the public on their care and bring awareness to the issues of their sale. We had unofficially began launching what would become Hermit Harbor.
As I came across unwanted hermits, I began taking them in. Before long, we had over 20 crabs in our home, spread out in 5 or more aquariums. Acquiring a volume of suitable shells was becoming an issue. First, shells are sold by their overall size but hermit crab owners need to know the size of the opening. There's so many types of shells available but only a few are appropriate for hermit crabs. I identified a need for a reliable, knowledgeable, and affordable supplier for hermit crab shells. My company already sold pet supplies and I was easily able to add shells and hermit crab supplies to my retail offerings. This proved advantageous for the rescue as well, I was able to buy shells and other products from my company at cost, significantly reducing my personal investment in the caring for the crabs. I invested in the domain and hosting to open this store with hopes that it will eventually generate profits that can be used to support the ongoing expense of hermit crab rescue.
Who would've guessed that collecting "roly pollies" is a hobby shared by millions of people across the globe? These little terrestrial crustaceans (they are not bugs!) initially entered my life to be a clean-up-crew for my hermit crabs. Upon my first visit to an online retailer, I was immediately mesmerized by the bizarre, beautiful, and unique species available and acquired over 70 species in just a few months. These industrious little detritivores have been living happily in my closet and reproducing in volumes. I had to start selling them (they could become overpopulated in their small enclosures) and decided to add them to the online store. Now my beloved little crustaceans are helping to support the hermit crabs that brought them into my life.
Plans are forming to increase Hermit Harbor's outreach and education programs. There is too much misinformation circulating on their care which leads to many crabs suffering and dying. Well intentioned crab owners are unknowingly harming their pets, it is truly an unfortunate but rectifiable situation.
A more challenging goal is changing the attitude toward the sales of wild-caught hermit crabs. Significant advancements are being made in captive breeding and show promise in supplying the pet trade with humanely and ethically sourced pet hermit crabs. We believe that bringing awareness can make a difference. We like to think that if more people knew what really happens to the crabs at the boardwalk shop and local pet store, fewer and fewer crabs would be purchased and more homeless crabs would find a family.