Howie the Crab

Howie The Crab's Mom Prepares For Stressful, Upcoming Molt

Home / Exclusive / Howie The Crab's Mom Prepares For Stressful, Upcoming Molt

By Melanie VanDerveer on February 21, 2024 at 8:30 AM EST

None of us are ready for another molt yet.

Howie the Crab's fans all know what it's like to watch Howie molt. It can be a long process, and a scary one. After the last two tough molts, the next one has a new level of fear attached to it. And sadly, that day is not far away.

Howie's mom, Laura Porter, recently shared the news that her little rainbow crab is in the beginning stages of her next molt in a video on social media. She also shared a follow up video to catch new fans up to speed and give some important information about what to expect in the coming months.

Article continues below advertisement

Howie The Crab Is Gearing Up For Another Scary Molt

Howie the Crab
Howie the Crab - TikTok

Porter shared an "Important Howie Update" on Tuesday and the theme in the comment section is definitely that no one is ready for this.

The TikTok video shows Howie digging and moving the gravel at the bottom of her tank around. Porter explained just what's going on.

"So overnight, she doesn't normally do this, but she made herself a burrow," Porter said. "She's looking for a place to molt. So I might have to put her molting cave back in here cause she's trying to dig that out and that's not safe for her."

She then explained that she believes her molt is going to be in May or maybe the end of April and that it takes Howie about five weeks from when she stops eating to molt.

"She's still eating but she's trying to get ready, guys," she continued. "Sorry, sad news today."

Article continues below advertisement
Article continues below advertisement

Loyal fans of Howie's dropped into the comment section to share how this makes them feel. There is definitely a common theme among the feelings expressed by Howie's fans.

"Howie... I haven’t emotionally recovered from the last molt," one person wrote. Another added, "I haven’t recovered from the last 2 molts!!! You got this Howie!!!!!"

Many others also shared the same feelings.

"The last one just happened. I don't think my heart can take another molt watch," one fan wrote. "I’ve been dreading this day," shared another.

Article continues below advertisement

A Follow Up Video Shared Detailed Information For Howie's Fans

Howie the Crab
Howie the Crab - TikTok

Since Porter gets tons of questions about Howie's molting process, she created a video that goes into more detail about what's to come. She shared some videos of Howie as she discussed the molting process.

"Many of you have been with us online for years and have experienced maybe up to three of her molts," she started her video explanation. "For those of you just joining in, I'm gonna do my best to get you up to speed."

Porter said her most frequently asked question currently is about how often Howie molts.

Article continues below advertisement

"When Howie was a baby, she molted about every eight weeks. As she grew, it became longer and longer between molts. But the exact timing between molts is not consistent other than typically being between six and eight months at her current age and size," she explained. "Her last molt was eight months between molts. I was genuinely hoping for nine to 10 months, but right now, it's been six months since her last molt."

It takes Howie more than a month to actually molt from start to finish. During that timeframe, Howie doesn't eat. While she's still eating currently, it's decreased from her typical amount. For the next few weeks, she will eat on and off until she stops eating completely and pre-molt begins.

"This is a long, long, ride, you guys," she said. "So just to reiterate, we are still a ways from the big molt. I wanna make sure everyone is informed and knows what's going on."

Article continues below advertisement

Porter explained that molting can be a very scary situation, and given Howie's advanced age, it's just that much scarier.

"The majority of crabs die during molts, or from failing to molt," she said. "Howie's old, like really, really old for her species. The average lifespan in the wild is only two to three years, and in captivity, it's about three to five years. And with excellent care, they can live up to eight years. There are only a handful that have lived beyond that."

Porter continued to explain what to expect while watching Howie get ready to molt.

"So, in a nutshell, or a crab shell, it's a race against time for Howie to regenerate vital parts before she starves," Porter continued. "The larger she is, the longer it takes to grow new parts, and during this process, she doesn't eat."

Article continues below advertisement

The Blast Talked To Laura Porter About Howie's Upcoming Molt

Howie the Crab
Howie the Crab - Instagram

Porter spoke exclusively to The Blast to explain the molt a little further. She explained that the last two were rough and now that Howie is older and bigger, she's increasingly concerned.

"Now that Howie is even older and bigger it's continuing to become harder for her to regenerate her mouth parts, esophagus, stomach lining, intestines, gills, and other vital structures required to successfully molt. Also, there is an increasing risk of something vital not forming correctly resulting in a molt failure," she told The Blast. " I already feel like I'm on borrowed time with Howie."

While Howie is just in the beginning stages of this molt, Porter has noticed that her shell is getting tighter, and her appetite isn't what it usually is. And when she woke up and saw Howie digging a burrow in her gravel, she realized it might be time to put the molting cave back into the tank.

"Her molting cave is her safe space where she feels like she can hide and feel protected," she said. "We have a ways to go. For the next month or so, Howie will continue to eat small amounts and go days between eating until her body starts producing the hormones to trigger molting. Once her body goes into pre-molt, she will stop eating."

Article continues below advertisement
Howie the crab
Howie the Crab - TikTok

During the last molt, Howie went more than a month without any food before molting. This concerned Porter and was worried that Howie wouldn't have the strength to molt. This time around could take longer.

"We are still about 2 months away from her actual molt. It's only been 6 months since her last one, and it's looking like it's going to be an 8 month run between molts again," Porter shared.

"I was really hoping for 9 or 10 months, but Howie has been happily gorging herself on caviar these past few months, which has contributed to her speed of growth."

Article continues below advertisement
Howie the Crab on TikTok
Howie The Crab - Instagram

For fans who enjoy watching Howie's life on social media, Porter intends to keep creating engaging content with respect to Howie's age and condition. While there won't be many videos sharing her usual long walks, Porter will still be filming the good times.

"Having an aging pet on social media is not an easy thing. Howie's well-being matters to me, and there will be days when she doesn't want to do much.  There will come a time before her molt when she doesn't want to be held and cuddled anymore because it's painful," Porter explained.

"As emotional as this may be for Howie's fans, it will be even more distressing for me. I want to remain hopeful that Howie will continue to beat the odds. If love could keep a pet alive forever, it would definitely be Howie."

Article continues below advertisement