Animal tattoos are all over the place if you are looking. From the traditional panther climbing up an arm to the butterfly on a shoulder. There is a plethora of animals to choose from if you are looking for an animal to be your representative. However, when we think of getting these tattoos, we usually imagine a giant tiger on our back or a bear on us somewhere. These animals all depict characteristics of strength, power and other characteristics that we all either think we have or hope to acquire. Not only do these tattoos have meaning, but they look great. What about the person with the hermit crab tattoo? What does it even mean?
The hermit crab is a fascinating animal that carries its home on its back at all times. When it outgrows the shell that it lives in, the hermit crab will move on to the next one. It’s a nomadic lifestyle that these little crabs live. As the song goes, “papa was a rolling stone, wherever he laid his hat was him home.” This sort of embodies the life of a hermit crab as they can go wherever they want and their home is always with them. There is a lot of meaning in that and it makes sense that someone might think to get the hermit crab tattoo
We are going to get more into the meaning of the hermit crab tattoo as we move through this post. We will talk about the symbolism surrounding this little creature and talk about some of the different ways that people get this image tattooed on their bodies. We hope that by the end of this post you will feel that you have a better understanding of the hermit crab tattoo meaning and maybe be one step closer to getting your own tattoo.
Hermit Crab Tattoo Meaning
From the largest elephants to the smallest insect, symbolism is all around us and for something like a hermit crab, you might not think there is a lot of symbolism, but you would be mistaken. This goes with the hermit crab tattoo as well.
In all, it is said that the hermit crab represents comfort, calculation, intelligence, patience, resourcefulness, communication, being social and scavenging.
In addition to those meanings, the hermit crab tattoo can represent a softer soul on the inside. On the outside, the hermit crab shows the image of a crab that you know well. The hard shell with the big claws, and in this case the crab has a big hard shell on its back. This seems like it would be hard to get through but when the hermit crab outgrows its current shell and has to look for a new one, it exposes the soft side of the crab. Much like the hermit crab, those with the tattoo might be telling the world that once you get past the tough exterior, there is softer soul on the inside.
Another way to look at the meaning of the hermit crab tattoo is by understanding the power of the hermit crab and how it chooses to avoid danger sometimes instead of getting involved. The claws of the hermit crab are able to do some damage and this is even true for predators that are bigger. However, the hermit crab will most of the time retreat back into its shell to protect itself instead of fighting.
If the thing attacking it is small enough, the hermit crab might fight back. This is a symbol of knowing when to fight. Sometimes you need to stand up for yourself and other times you need to make the decision to walk away from the battle. It isn’t always worth the struggle and the hermit crab tattoo is a great way to represent this idea.
Finally, to add to the idea of being a social butterfly, unlike the name of the hermit crab these creatures love to be with other hermit crabs. They are very social and symbolize communication and relationships in this way. On the other hand, the hermit crab will retreat into its shell if it has had enough socializing for the day. I definitely understand that feeling.
Hermit Crab Tattoo Variations
The hermit crab tattoo is one you can get creative with. What we often see when looking at the different hermit crab tattoos that are out there are different ways to tattoo the shell. Often, we will see the hermit crab tattooed in the American traditional style and from there, we see many variations of the shell.
A skull for the hermit crab shell is a common theme. It is one way to make this cute little crab look a little more dangerous and darker. There is a lot of space to work on the shell so if you want, you can add some sort of message to be seen by all or just keep it looking like the normal hermit crab tattoo shell.
The hermit crab is already somewhat of a cartoonish figure. With its big claws, big shell on its back and buggy eyes. This is why the hermit crab tattoo is often tattooed in the new school style as well. This style accentuates the already cartoonish looking features of the hermit crab and as a result, you can have a fun and bright tattoo to represent yourself in ink.
Hermit Crab Facts
We talked a little bit about the hermit crab and their personalities but we wanted to stress how “un-hermitlike” these crabs are. For fun they will sleep in piles or climb over each other. They also will trade shells or use other shells that another hermit crab has abandoned. They will even steal a shell sometimes.
They do this to protect their soft abdomen but it is also a way to help the crab regulate their fluids and keep their gills hydrated. Contrary to many beliefs, the hermit crab uses gills to breath and needs 70% humidity to survive so by having the shell on its back, it can regulate how much moisture it is already getting.