The history of our business and Crab Racing

About the family
During their wedding anniversary trip, owners, Jim and Amy decided to purchase a few hermit crabs for their children. Upon their return, they explained to their kids the importance of pet responsibility and care. Over a period of time, as a family, that pet responsibility grew into a passion with a deep education of land hermit crabs. These lovable and relatable hermit crabs became the center of their family time with charades or jokes or stories. As the family grew to be educated and more passionate about hermit crabs and their love and affection for people, the owners begun to showcase family shows. Jim, utilized his experience in executive management for Entertainment and Attraction companies decided to purchased the rights of original crab race company and incorporated their original family show, today the company is known as Mister Crabs & Family Company Entertainment Shows. Mister Crabs expanded into educational shows, pet shows, and entertainment and comedy shows. With the demand ever growing, Mister Crabs took on volunteers and paid employees. Today, Mister Crabs accepts paid bookings from festivals and fairs across the globe, Mister Crabs is one of the most sought after specialty entertainment shows for fortune 500 companies as there lead corporate party entertainment. In 2016 Mister Crabs added educational shows without racing throughout Florida at public libraries and school assemblies teaching thousands of kids in the process. The business continued to blossom by providing entertainment at major sporting events.  As part of our mission, giving back is ever important and we opened the Gordon Morley Give and Get Foundation, a 501(c )3 nonprofit that fosters hermit crab conservation, care, and education, as well helps a few other good causes.   

The Origin of Crab Racing
It’s been recorded and told that Crab Racing first began with Royal Australian Navy men in the 1940’s. Upon their return, the maritime forces noticed hermit crabs piling on top of each other.  A sailor tossed a half-eaten candy bar in the sand and drew a circle in the sand, the crabs quickly raced to eat the chocolate bar. Those around, amused by what they just witnessed, drew a circle in the sand around the crab pile, placed another piece of chocolate outside the circle and crab racing was born. These crab racing circles in the sand become popular among families with children, college age sailors and tourist for many decades, including today.
In the 1960’s while on an excursion, a British tourist who was visiting Australia participated in the enjoyment of one of the many beachy circle in the sand crab races. The Crab Races in Australia had grown into a tourist attraction for visitors as many had never seen land hermit crabs. The Brit eventually returned back home to share with his friends the stories of Circle in the Sand Crab Racing and how much fun it was and that they should race crabs in their local region. But they had a problem, there weren’t any hermit crabs that were native to the region and nowhere to be found. Later, in the early 70’s upon the man’s retirement, he settled into in the Caribbean, British Virgin island, Tortola where he noticed familiar land hermit crabs known as solider crabs. He began to follow his dream and hosted races on the beach for his friends and on-lookers. Over time it became a beach side business at resorts in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Jamaica, and other Caribbean islands. It grew to become one of the many Atlantic Ocean Islander attractions.

Eventually, thanks to cruise ships, Americans were more exposed to Caribbean Land Hermit Crab Races and it made its way to Florida.  In the late 70’s a Florida beach bar owner who was experiencing summer thunderstorms had his staff take a plywood sign that was normally used to promote this business and cover his billiard table to protect it under the tiki hut from the rain. The plywood happened to have a circle previously painted on it with beach bar’s logo. During one of the many summer storms, some hermit crabs crawled into the tiki hut, onlookers placed one of the land hermit crabs on the plywood billiard cover for viewing amusement, someone said they seen Crabs race in Caribbean, bored onlookers stayed as they piled crabs on the table, they watched crabs sidewalk and race downward from the center, that’s how table top crab racing in America began.

Over a period of time from the 60’s throughout the 80’s hermit crabs were harvested as a low maintenance pet or a piece of the beach you could take home and experience. They made their way into locally owned beach shops up and down the Atlantic coast that also sold various shells to tourist from Miami, Florida to Ocean City, New Jersey. Live Hermits as pets became very popular in 1980’s to the point there could be few found far and in-between on Florida beaches anymore. Also, these beach shops struggled to meet the demand on local shells the tourist would purchase. Beach stores started working with shell wholesalers and import/exporters, one of these companies were an Indian dealer that sold seashells and already begun to sell snail shells. The Indian wholesaler explained that hermit crabs would move into these shells. The Indian exporter shared that one of their buyers in Australia kept re-ordering painted snail shells for hermit crabs and suggested American buyers try it. The paint snail shell took off.

Like most fads from the 70’s-90’s in America, eventually becoming unpopular, crab racing remained in a few smoky taverns. Meanwhile tourist overseas continued to visit the Caribbean and Australia and took notice that hermit crab racing was popular and not as familiar in the states. We decided to bring crab racing to new generations, but include education and comedy to it. Crab racing has become relevant as we experience hundreds of shows each year.

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