Resourceful hermit crab using creepy doll head as shell will haunt your dreams

With few seashells around, this is what they're driven to.

Ashley Tan | May 13, 09:05 pm


Dolls are creepy enough when stationary. The Annabelle movie franchise is banking on that.

But a severed doll head moving by itself? Definitely nightmare-inducing.

Slightly disturbing

A hermit crab inhabiting a grimy discarded doll head has been blowing up on Twitter.

Instead of a conventional shell, the crab uses a broken doll head as its “home”.

The photo has garnered around 2,800 retweets and 13,000 likes since it was shared on May 12.

It even resembles a particularly sinister-looking character from the first Toy Story movie, Babyface.

Photo from Toy Story wikia

The Twitter caption stated that the admittedly resourceful hermit crab was found on a beach in Taiwan.

Imagine the scare beachgoers had upon spotting a doll head “crawling” on the ground by itself.

Lots of hate

Numerous netizens were, understandably, quite creeped out.

Photo originally taken in 2015

The photo was first taken from a Taipei News story in 2015.

A group of tourists reportedly came across the hermit crab on Haishenping Bay on Green Island, an island off the coast of Taiwan.

The weird occurrence was photographed by a bed-and-breakfast operator going by the nickname of Guai Shou, who was leading tourists on a tour of the bay.

According to Taipei News, some of the tourists thought it was a ‘ghost head’ moving on the sand.

Real estate problems

This isn’t the only incident of crabs substituting their shell homes with more unusual items.

In 2018, a picture of a coconut crab similarly using a severed doll head as its home was shared to Reddit as well.

The photo was supposedly taken on the remote Pitcairn Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Photo by jamspangle / Reddit

Here’s another crab using a toy block:

Photo by Albizu Garcia / Youtube

Okinawa-based photographer Shawn Miller also created a photo series of the ‘innovative’ hermit crabs using bottle caps, according to News.com.au.

Photo by Shawn Miller / Facebook

Sign of pollution

Hermit crabs aren’t attached to their shells like turtles or tortoises are. Instead, they regularly replace their shells with bigger ones as they grow.

Due to their soft bodies, these shells are used as protection against predators.

Here’s what a naked hermit crab without its shell looks like:

Photo by Bryan Fluech / Facebook

Although these little crabs can be quite creative, it highlights the insidious problem of marine plastic pollution.

As plastic items and trash become more common on our beaches, more hermit crabs appropriate discarded trash items as their homes instead.

Stop stealing seashells

The problem gets worse when tourists pocket seashells for souvenirs, which damages the ecosystem and deprive hermit crabs of potential homes.

“Some [of the tourists] in the group thought it was funny, but others felt sad after I explained to them why [the hermit crab and its doll head] had come to that,” Guai Shou told Taipei News.

If you happen to head over to Bali or some other seaside resort on your next holiday, give the seashells a miss, as attractive as they might look.

Let the hermit crab real estate market recover a bit.

Related story:

Picking up shells from the beach and taking them home is bad for the environment. Here’s why.

Top photo from @41Strange / Twitter and Toy Story wikia

About Ashley Tan

Ashley can't go a week without McDonalds.

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