Tag Archives: at the beach

Buried alive for a summertime trinket

By Laura Cascada

As the summer beach season heats up, walk into almost any large seaside souvenir shop, and you’re likely to see them: live hermit crabs in brightly painted shells being sold to tourists who have no idea how to care for them. Save your money and the crabs—don’t buy one. Hermit crabs are miserable in captivity, and taking one home supports a cruel trade with a massive death toll.

After receiving a disturbing tip about a private wholesaler in Orlando, Florida, that sells imported wild-caught hermit crabs to boardwalk shops and also claimed to supply large pet store chains, PETA took a closer look.

Most people probably have no idea that hermit crabs rarely breed in captivity, so all those crabs you see in souvenir shops were snatched from their real homes and forced into a strange and terrifying environment. Every year, hundreds of thousands of Caribbean and Ecuadorian hermit crabs are taken from tropical beaches to benefit the cruel pet trade. At the facility in Florida, PETA’s eyewitness found that wild-caught crabs arrived and were left overnight in cramped burlap sacks by the thousands.

They were then dumped into pens so crowded that many were buried beneath piles of other crabs, unable to eat or drink. Instead of sandy shorelines, they were forced to live on barren plywood floors with nowhere to hide or burrow, both of which are vital to hermit crabs’ welfare.

Hermit crabs struggle to breathe and can even suffocate when the air becomes too dry, but workers made no obvious attempt to measure humidity levels in the pens. When water was offered, thirsty crabs clamored for it, but they were never given access to the salt water that is crucial to their well-being.

In their natural habitat, hermit crabs can live for decades. But at this facility, hundreds of dead crabs were found every day. The owner referred to them as a “waste of money.”

Workers swept crabs into piles, claiming that the survivors would eventually climb out from underneath the dead. But live crabs were thrown into the trash along with dead ones.

And to force crabs into the colorful shells that appeal to tourists, workers used a lever press to crack open their existing shells, leaving them vulnerable and defenseless. The frantic crabs were then given only “fancy” shells coated with paint—which can be toxic—to crawl into. PETA’s eyewitness even found live crabs in a bucket of cracked shells destined for the trash.

Crabs who survived all this were then dumped by the hundreds into cloth sacks, which were taped shut and shipped off to be sold in pet stores and souvenir shops—where more misery awaited them.

Over the years, I have shared my home with several rescued hermit crabs, and I know how complex their needs are. When bought from souvenir shops, most crabs don’t survive more than a few months—maybe a year at most.

Many slowly suffocate because they can’t breathe the dry air in the tiny cages they’re sold in. Others are slowly poisoned by chlorinated tap water or the paint adorning their shells. And still others die because they aren’t given a moist substrate that’s deep enough for them to bury themselves in.

Hermit crabs also need companionship—something that most people never even consider. As social animals, they thrive in large colonies in their natural homes.

So even the most carefully planned “crabitat” is far from ideal for these complex shore-dwellers. This summer, please help keep hermit crabs where they belong—in the wild. Don’t purchase them, refuse to patronize any shop that sells them, and tell the shop owner why.

Taking your dog to the beach

By Deb Young
Taking your dog to a pet friendly beach can be a highlight of the summer for both of you.
Spending some time in the water and on the sand can be a much different experience than what he is used to.
 Some beaches allow dogs to roam around without being on a leash while others require it. Knowing the laws beforehand can prevent you from getting any fines. In addition, for beaches where dogs don’t have to be leashed, you can determine if you are comfortable with your dog being around other dogs running free.
Keeping some tips in mind can make sure he enjoys the outing as much as you do.

1)  Bring plenty of water for both you and your dog , Your dog may still try too chomp on surf but ensure they don’t take in too much salt water, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

2) Bring a blanket to sit on that is big enough for both you. The sand can get very hot on the paws.

3) Expect to get visited by other peoples dogs – sometimes dogs come up and mark their territory on your property. So don’t take anything down to the beach that you really care about.

4) Bring pick up bags – to clean up after your dog. Not only is it the law, its also a health hazard to fellow canine visitors/people and the environment.

5) Have fido wear a nylon leash and lead. The water will ruin your good leather gear. If the nylon lead and collar get wet in the ocean be sure to rinse it out with tap water when you get home – and let it air dry in case your dogs skin is sensitive to the salt water. 

6) Rinse your dog down when you get home – again if your dog’s skin is sensitive to the salt water a quick rinse will help prevent skin irritation. You should than dry your dog off with a towel, or let him dry in the sun if its a warm day or use a hairdryer set on warm, not hot to dry them off thoroughly.

7) Bring toys- Your dog may be inclined to chew on pieces of drift wood. The sharp pieces can hurt his gums and the inside of his mouth; he can also ingest them. Instead, bring some toys that he can use only when he goes to the beach, such as solid rubber toys that no sand can get into.

8) Consider Sunscreen- For pets who are shaved, that shaved area is at risk of being burned,  The little nose tip, especially if you’re a pale-nosed dog or white-nosed cat or dog, those areas are prone to sun-induced tumors.

Pet owners, particularly dog owners, need to be careful with sunscreens, because some ingredients can be toxic if they are licked off. Zinc oxide should never be used because dogs can become dangerously anemic if it is ingested.

Make sure to keep an eye on your dog for when he starts to get too tired or warm so you can take him home. A day at the beach can be a fun day out for both of you. He can scamper about, make some new friends, get some exercise and enjoy some time in the sun. The only thing better is that when he gets home, he will get tons of sleep.