There’s a shortage of housing in Japan among a large community of house hunters. But you wouldn’t know it unless you were a marine biologist. When it comes to Hermit Crabs, “professional house hunters” who are constantly outgrowing and replacing their shells, “they are always short of shells” says professor Katsuyuki Hamasaki. The primary cause is environmental degradation, which has resulted in large numbers of hermit crabs living inside trash like bottle tops.
An unlikely savior emerged, or maybe it’s totally likely. Suumo, a Japanese real estate listing company (like Streateasy) teamed up with professor Hamasaki and a group of students at Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology in an attempt to fix the housing crisis.
Together, the real estate listings company and the marine biologists came up with artificial shells that would serve as new homes for the hermit crabs. Careful attention was placed on the shell so that they were both light, comfortable but also environmentally friendly. The shells were made from potato starch and have zero impact on the environment.
However, after all was said and done, no one knew for sure if the hermit crabs would move into these new homes. But when the project team went to a beach and planted the shells on the sand, sure enough the hermit crabs began moving in! It turned out to be a clever marketing campaign for Suumo that also served a real environmental purpose. Pretty brilliant if you ask us!