Exposed: Hermit crabs go public with see-through shells

I loved hermit crabs as a kid and always wondered what they looked like inside of those shells. Now I finally get to see them thanks to glass shells. A glass blower has created a line of glass shell habitats for hermit crabs and it looks like the little guys love them as much as we love to look at them.

Robert DuGrenier is a glass blower with over 30 years experience in creating a wide variety of beautiful glass works. He decided to try to and mimic the most beautiful thing of all — nature — in creating habitats for hermit crabs. He started with creating entire terrariums and then moved on to creating shells. His view is that the terrariums and the crabs going about their business, adopting and dropping their shells is essentially living art.

DuGrenier created the spiral shells out of crystal so the crab would have the same comfortable spirals they are used to, with a material that would do them no harm. He's created a collection of shells so varied in size and with added color. For the crabs that prefer a little bling in their thing, he's also created shells infused with bronze, silver or 24-karat gold.

Sure, the crabs' rear ends look like shriveled little aliens when you compare them to their brawny visible parts. No wonder they're called hermits — they probably want to keep that private and that's cool.

No matter how private they may want to be, there's a problem caused by a lack of habitable shells in the wild due to changes in the environment, and these poor little crabs have been having trouble finding adequate accommodation on their own. Scientists had studied and experimented with the crabs to find out just what goes on in the shells and whether they'd accept man-made ones.

Fortunately, that issue has long been laid to rest with researchers developing 3D printed shells the crabs took to after a short time. Then came the Lego crab shell (that crab hopped right in, and who could blame him?), and now these glass ones. With every step the crabs seem to be adopting their new homes quickly, which is a major score for the health and welfare of these little crustaceans.

We're not kidding ourselves that every family will want a see through shell that could induce monster nightmares. Nor will everyone want to pay the price for them. As they are handmade and quite complex they are likely to be on the pricey side — DuGrenier's Glass Shell website takes inquiries.

But, for those of us science geeks who love to see things as they grow and evolve, these crystal shells are perfect. Not to mention they just really beautiful pieces of art should you choose not to turn them into hermit crab housing.

Glass Shell, via IncredibleThings, via Geekologie

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