Meet NYC’s hermit crab rescuer

Posted at 2:02 PM, Jul 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-18 14:06:36-04

ASTORIA, Queens — Sarah Porter and her partner decided to adopt their first batch of hermit crabs after seeing an advertisement on Craigslist. The New Jersey seller was going away to college, and she needed someone to buy her pets.

"After we got them, I was doing some research and I just came across how much hermit crabs need to be healthy and happy," Porter told PIX11 News.

The only thing most people know about hermit crabs is their need to change shells as they grow. But although they look small and appear to be a perfect pet in a small New York City apartment, hermit crabs require a lot of upkeep.

"Unfortunately, most hermit crabs that are sold tend to be marketed more as toys and souvenirs," said Porter. "Hermit crabs need such specific things to survive and the Jersey Shore and the pet stores usually don’t give people the right information."

Porter, who currently has around a dozen crabs, has a large tank in her bedroom. It's filled with deep sand so the crabs can molt, both freshwater and saltwater, high humidity, a UV light and a "shell shop" — just to list a few of its features.

After seeing more Craigslist ads, Porter started "Two Claws Up," a YouTube channel and Instagram account, to help spread awareness and share tips about how to care for hermit crabs.

Since she started producing videos, she's been contacted by numerous families across all five boroughs to adopt their crabs once they realize how much maintenance is required.

In the past five years, she has rescued about 30 hermit crabs. Porter doesn't sell any of them, saying once they arrive at her house they've found a forever home.

“I never thought that I would be spending my free time rescuing hermit crabs," said Porter, who has a full-time job. "It wasn’t really a calling, but I knew this is something that I could do for people...I'm really happy to give these hermit crabs a little slice of the beach life here in New York City.