Hermit crabs aren't especially interesting on their own, but it can be fun to see what kind of things the tiny crustaceans decide to call home next. One Japanese artist decided to make custom homes for her hermit crabs and the results are amazing.
Japanese artist Aki Inomata acquired a 3D printer and got to work designing custom homes for her pet hermit crabs. She modeled the plastic shells after both Japanese and French architecture as the project was in celebration of the relocation of the French embassy in Tokyo.
Here are the details from Inomata's blog:
Hermit crabs are selective in choosing their shelters. Therefore, I decided to CT scan and capture the detailed 3D images of the unoccupied seashell which one of my hermit crabs had abandoned. Based on those images, I modified and slightly enlarged them with a 3D modeling software, and then produced several types of shelters with a rapid prototyping system. Finally I gave those shelters to my hermit crabs.
It was their turn to choose their shelters. Initially I was concerned that they might not be interested in the plastic shelters I had created. However, one day I witnessed one of my hermit crabs moved into my shelter after he had been torn between a natural seashell and my plastic one. I was pleased with his decision, but also had mixed feelings as he chose a plastic shelter rather than a natural seashell.
Here's what one of the custom shelters looks like on a hermit crab:
For more info, check out the video she made about the project: