A Real Estate Company Created New Homes for Hermit Crabs

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hermit crabs professionally seek out better homes their entire lives

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.

suumo hermit crab trash

however, there is a shortage of seashell habitats in Japan due to environmental degredation

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.

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a smooth and comfortable inner structure was designed so that it wouldn’t harm the hermit crabs

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hermit crabs continuously change homes as they grow so several different size shells were created to accommodate everyone

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!

suumo hermit crab gif


  1. myrna concepcion

    June 6, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    I would like to know how can I get this shell my. Nice and I try to protect them and recovery empty shells and put where we found crabs without housing

  2. I want to see them glow in the dark and in different colors…. that would be sooooo cool at night 🙂

  3. I think this is a great idea and such a need for our little friends. We have Hermit crabs in our office and were wondering if we could some of these shells.

  4. Good-looking shells, but they should have went with brown or sand-colored shells. The green might make them more of a target for predators.

  5. can we buy these please

  6. I want to buy some!

  7. I love this idea.Why aren’t they more of a beach sand color or swirls of brown and a beige?

    • For all those interested in buying these, sorry we can’t help you out. I don’t think they’re for sale 🙁

      Regarding the color, keep in mind that this is a marketing scheme, albeit a rather brilliant one. They went with a cocoon shape, rather than a swirl, because it was lighter and sturdier.

  8. How do you buy some of these?

  9. How long do the shells last? Can we buy these?

  10. are the shells environmentally friendly? I don’t want them to degrade on the crabs back but would prefer they weren’t around forever.
    Not to be a wet blanket!
    The crabs need housing thank you.

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