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Crab Racing - No Problem At Silver Sands Jamaica

hermit crab

Every week, on the Silver Sands patio, one man and his crabs entertain an audience with mixed reception for nearly an hour of true Jamaican entertainment, or is it?

This beach activity involves racing hermit crabs, small crabs that use shells they find to use as a home.  A Google search for hermit crab racing leaves you with several accounts of peoples' experiences with the beach sport. It seems that their has been a fresh love for crab racing in the last 10 years which has taken over the coasts of America and the Caribbean.

(Watch the following Loser's Race in HD.)

Hermit crab racing involves placing marked crabs in the middle of a circle and leaving them to run for the outside of the circle, the winner being the first one out. It's not all fun & games though, there are many who believe hermit crab racing is wrong, one petition website has had over 225 signatures on a petition to ban hermit crab racing in the first month.

Quoting from, their website:
'This barbaric violation of the animals' rights to a cruelty-free, at least mediocre life needs to be put to a stop ASAP. These hermit crabs must endure stress from being cramped inside a small space with hundreds of hermit crabs right on top of them at a time. Hermit crabs easily die from stress.'

And they do have a point, hermit crabs bodies are very delicate and they are ruthlessly handled in a large box where you can here them smashing against each other. But again it's a case is anyone bothered enough to campaign against it? Very few have a strong enough reason to be bothered to take meaningful action. This sport has been turned into a profit by the adding of a gambling element, turning into large profits over a number of nights.

An analysis of the odds reveals why this simple idea turns over large amounts of money. A clear example of why the general public can never win is found by delving deep into the mind of the person running the gambling. The person running the gambling let's call him Mr G, knows he can afford to give away a maximum of let's say $20 per race, so he shapes the odds on the number of bets that crab has received, not "how well it performed on the exercise track that morning".

Blue Crab: 4 bets - (20/4) = 5$
Red Crab: 2 bets - (20/2) = 10$
White Crab 3 bets - (20/3) = 7$
Black Crab 1 bet - (20/1) = 20$

The less mathematical, and more interesting side to this affair is found in a psychological phenomenon named 'the elevator effect.' It is explained like this: Should you walk into an elevator and find everyone facing the opposite way, you will do the same.
Studies have even found people who know which way the elevator opens, have been found to face the opposite direction.

This is also found in another night of entertainment at the Silver Sands patio, in karaoke, no one is eager to be the first one to sing, but once one person from a group does it and is appreciated and liked, others do tend to follow. We all tell ourselves that we could live on our own, but people like to follow each other, like sheep, most of us love being told what do, in fact without that key quality the human race would never have got to where it is today.

karaoke at silver sands villas on the patio
Karaoke singers on the Patio at Silver Sands Jamaica

Whilst large groups of people challenge each other to how large their bets are, again the elevator effect and peer pressure make this happen. Others laugh and pass snide remarks at how stupid the those who bet and scream for the crabs victory. "Why are they shouting at the crabs? it's not like they can hear them" came one remark. Well, why are they shouting? Because they are having fun. With all the stress in our lives, 'letting your hair down' and shouting at a crab at Silver Sands villas is taking down the barriers of an upheld image that we call our personality. The people who pass these comments need to turn around in the elevator and be drawn into singing, because that's what the land of 'no problem' is really about.

By Tej

Silver Sands Villas Jamaica News