Tikitiki Bowling Bar has angered animal welfare campaigners by promoting hermit crab racing for the amusement of customers. Carol Biddell, co-founder of Sai Kung Buffalo Watch and a BUZZ Editorial Board member, said this is not the way to go: Children are being taught to see wild animals as playthings not creatures that should be respected.
“They will have gone to the beach and picked up the crabs,” Carol said. “Afterwards they will be dumped in a dustbin.”
“Children are getting the wrong message. Where will they go from here — mistreating hamsters, rabbits…? It is one step down the road to being like the Philippines, with cockfighting. We live by the seaside and this is not how we should be learning to behave with wild creatures.”
Hermit crabs are high-maintenance animals that should not be treated as pets. If they don’t have knowledgeable care, they will die slow painful deaths. Hermit crabs are not hermit-like at all. They are gregarious characters who can party all night long with other crabs.
PETA, the animal rights group, says this about treating hermit crabs as pets:
- In the wild they can live for more than 30 years, but in captivity they will last only a few months.
- Carers can think the crabs are doing well when they are actually dying slow painful deaths. Hermit crabs have modified gills that require high humidity if they are to breathe. Otherwise they will be dying of suffocation.
- The creatures need deep damp sand in which to molt. Without it they will stop molting and slowly die.
- Hermit crabs need lots of friends. They thrive in large colonies, sleep piled up together and forage for food together.
BUZZ trusts Brad Gotfried, the owner of Tikitiki who lives in Thailand and is probably unaware of what is going on, steps in to stop this unwitting cruelty.