Some Things You Just Don’t Want to See Naked!

While growing up, my sisters and I often had pets of various types and sizes.  We had the dogs, cats, birds, rabbits and other assorted “normal” pets, many of whom I still think about fondly.   Periodically, we also had some more “exotic” pets.  One of these were terrestrial hermit crabs.  You know them, they are the cute little crabby critters that live in a (now deceased) mollusk’s shell which serves as a portable home and shelter carried on their backs.  They always got big ingenuity points from me because of this behavior.  Always seemingly docile, the crabs would typically recede into their shells when picked up.  Hours of enjoyment were had observing them go about the routines of daily life.  However, having hermit crabs as pets was not always a benign event for a child.  In fact, I now hold them responsible for a memory that unbeknownst to me continues to haunt the deep recesses of my mind.

One hermit crab we had lived a particularly long time.  I can’t remember exactly how long, but I became rather attached and I seem to recall bestowing a name such as “Hermy” at some point.  Unfortunately, Hermy’s life came to an end one day and I found him listless in the corner of his terrarium.  I also recall one of my sisters volunteering to check Hermey’s vitals by tugging at one of his claws at which point his lifeless and disturbingly naked body came tumbling out of the shell.  I don’t know how many of you have seen this particular spectacle, but let’s just say that it was a disturbing sight for a 5-year-old and leave it at that!

Advance the clock some 35 years.  I had successfully supressed the shock of seeing Hermy’s naked body and had long ago forgotten the entire episode.  Last week I was out practicing underwater macro photography and came across a marine hermit crab (pictured herein) who involuntarily became my subject.  Here are some portraits:

This little guy’s eyes were positively intriguing, but I must admit I was also a little sickened at how “bug-like” he appeared.  However, he was playing the role of the compliant subject and acted quite docile during the first portrait session.  So I continued making photographs.  Suddenly, my subject became very agitated and leaped out of his shell to quickly bury himself in the sand below.

Memories of nude hermit crab horror quickly filled my mind and brought me back to childhood.  Gags and all!  I quickly marked this as an occasion upon which I learned several valuable lessons:

1.  Not all hermit crabs are docile; and

2.  Some things you just don’t want to see naked!

For those concerned about his well-being, the last photograph is proof that I returned his home.  Man, was he pissed!

See more photos at:

12 Responses to “Some Things You Just Don’t Want to See Naked!”

  1. mj says:

    Yuck. We had them too. why?

    Love the pics:-)

  2. Hailey says:

    Love the memory, and like the 3rd image the best. Love what you’re able to explore underwater and share with us too 🙂

  3. Susan says:

    I love a good documentary..this is great. I think hermit crabs are creepy, but you positively captured that feeling for me. (Now, I’ll take praying mantis’ anytime for my subjects. They have googley eyes too.) Nice job!

  4. Lee says:

    P.S. He does look pissed!

  5. Lee says:

    Of course it was me! Ang would have run screaming from the sight of such a thing! Love this entry……

  6. KatyW says:

    Jimmy, the little guy is so cute. I like photo#1.

  7. anginson says:

    Hey Jim. You sure captured his “buggy-ness”in all its yuckness. Surely, it was the other sister whose thoughtlessness tormented you so.
    Love your work!

  8. Kate says:

    I hadn’t thought you would be moving about in the water trying to focus, obvious now you spelled it out. Given the technical difficulties you are doing really well, thanks for opening up this world for us.

  9. oscartweto says:

    Great shots, my friend. Putting the sub in subconscious. Sorry for the painful relapse, but you’re undoubtedly a stronger person for working through the trauma. Underwater macro seems like it has endless potential. You previously mentioned a wide angle lens in your housing; does it also take your macro pretty well?

    • Jimmy White says:

      Hey Hal, Yes, the macro port works pretty well. The most difficult thing to accomplish in this type of photography is proper focusing! Not only is the subject moving by so is the photographer. Top all of that off with the fact that my macro port only allows manual focusing and you’ve got a real chore out of a normally routine task. Oh well, adds to the challenge:) Hope all is well. Jimmy

  10. Jennifer says:

    jimmy, that was hilarious! i love the 3rd photo-just the eyes and the great big ocean. if i may, i would like to add to the list of things you don’t want to see naked: cats, ahole, gas station attendants.