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Escape artist hermit crab survives 2+ months in Houston neighborhood

Owners Jason and Andrew Yu knew Kizer the crab was fast, but they didn't know he was an adventurer.

WEST UNIVERSITY PLACE, Texas — Jason and Andrew Yu are pretty passionate about their pets.

Showing them off while we chat over Zoom, the boys list off the names of all their hermit crabs: Crabby, Baller, Shelly, and Spiral. And there’s Kizer.

"Here he comes," Andrew said as Kizer pops out of his shell.

"Is he your most active one?" his mom, Linda, asked.

"I guess so," answers Jason.

"He’s pretty fast," added Andrew.

Kizer isn't just fast, he's sneaky too.

"Kizer was constantly scraping around the corners, and we could figure that he was trying to get himself out," Linda said.

Back in October, Kizer and two other hermit crabs were living in a plastic container outside Jason and Andrew’s house.

"The kids were worried it might get too hot on the driveway, so they created lots of little houses and huts for them," Linda explained.

That was all Kizer needed to make a break for it.

"They figured it out," said Jason. "They crawled over it, and then they just went away."

He's mentioning "they" because two crabs actually escaped. First, Kizer. Then the next day, Pincher.

"We went looking for them," Linda said. "We checked the grass. We checked the bushes."

There was no sign of either crab for months.

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"We thought he might have been dead or a car ran him over or a lawnmower," said Jason. 

Then last weekend, more than two months after Kizer had disappeared from his driveway habitat, neighbor Sarah Beckmann was out for a run.

"I noticed a little hermit crab on the side of the sidewalk in our neighborhood," she said. "Our own kids have some hermit crabs, so I guess it caught my eye as something that just didn’t belong there."

Beckmann posted a picture on social media.

Credit: KHOU 11

"It was on Facebook and it just said, ‘Is anyone missing an escape artist pet?’" remembered Andrew.

Beckmann said she wasn't expecting a reply, but within 20 minutes, she heard from Linda. That's when the story of Kizer the not-so-hermit crab took another twist.

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"So actually, the neighbor was our school nurse," Jason said. "She lives right down the street. 

In the week since Kizer's homecoming, Beckmann said she's been getting daily reports on how he's doing.

"I hear he's doing well," she smiled. "It's fun."

It's definitely a happy ending to the story that still has some unanswered questions.

"How did a one-inch animal live on its own for three months out there?" asked Linda.

"What did he eat? What did he drink?" Jason asked.

"And also finding him was a one in one million chance," Andrew chimed in.

It really was, but the Yu boys are hoping for another miracle: to find Pincher, who’s still missing. In the meantime, they have a new crabitat with a lid and a lock to keep Kizer contained.

If you can’t tell, Jason and Andrew love to talk about their hermit crabs. You can watch their full interview in the video below.

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