Saturday, 28 March 2015

Understanding the Umang-umang

        The umang-umang or hermit crab is a crustacean (any aquatic animal that has a hard shell or crust to cover its body, like prawns and lobsters). However, unlike other crabs, the hermie, as it is fondly referred to as, borrows other animals' shells for protection. As it grows in size, it outgrows its borrowed shell and needs to search for a new "home".
        Despite its given name, the umang-umang is no hermit. On the contrary, it is an extremely sociable animal as it lives together with other hermit crabs and are often foraging for food together. Especially active at night, it emerges from its hiding place (usually under rocks or tree trunks) and roams about in search of food. It is an omnivorous animal and a scavenger too.
        During the recent school break, at the aptly-named Umang-umang Chalet in Kuala Linggi, I had an eye-opening encounter with lots of these hermit crabs. Falling instantly in love with these adorable creatures, hubby and I had a thoroughly enjoyable time seeking them out on the beach in the dark (with the help of our headlamps), observing their delightful antics, photographing them and their unique shells and video recording their pursuits.
Time to go jalan-jalan

Jalan-jalan cari makan

Two's company
Bo cheng kor! Shame! Shame!
My mama taught me it is good to share
Friendship transcends everything, including size

It was a bonus when I landed this awesome shell. Would hate leaving it when it's time to change shells.

My shell's not bad either. Hope to find a fancy one again next time around.

Little one, not to worry. You'll get to my size one fine day.