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An Artist Gives Hermit Crabs Crazy New Homes

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Taiwan’s hermit crabs are in crisis. The little nomadic creatures have been deprived of the shells from which they make their homes. Overcollection of seashells by humans has led to a dire shortage of would-be living pods for the crustaceans, who lack a natural carapace and must search for a surrogate--ideally, a shell but, more recently, plastic debris. Last week, a Taiwanese conservation group petitioned the Internet for shells to save the island’s hermit crab population.

Perhaps Japanese artist Aki Inomata can send some of her artful, building-themed shells to the rescue? Her project, “Why not hand over a shelter to hermit crabs?” certainly seems sympathetic to the cause. Using 3-D modeling, and with collaborative input from her pet crabs, Inomata developed a series of custom micro-habitats that would be the envy of any evicted arthropods.

That does not look comfortable for the poor crab. 

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