Staff at an aquarium in the USA got creative when a spider crab lost “a few” legs during the moulting process.
The resident crab at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport was still able to walk, but staff decided she would benefit from having some weight taken off her remaining limbs.
But how could they help their invertebrate friend?
Spider crabs can measure around 12.5 feet in terms of leg span, weighing in the region of 19 kilograms – those numbers mean executing an operation such as this is no mean feat.
To do so, an aquarist brought the crab to the surface of its tank with a custom-built stretcher – made from PVC pipe and wetsuits – before fitting the foam walking aid to the shell.
“Once returned to the exhibit, she began walking with grace and verve,” said curator of fish and invertebrates Evonne Mochon-Collura.
“Her motions are stable and effortless.”