Caring for Your Hermit Crab

Food & Water

Hermit Crabs are sensitive to metal and chlorine so make sure all food and water bowls are non-metallic, non-porous containers and that all tap water has been treated with a dechlorinator or water conditioner. The food and water bowls need to be large and shallow so that the crabs can easily climb in and out of them.

Hermit Crabs are omnivorous. They enjoy variety in their diet and take small bites, consuming their food very slowly and usually at night. You can feed a combination of pelleted Hermit Crab food, as well as fruits, such as chopped apples, grapes and bananas, and vegetables, including dark green leafy ones like kale and broccoli. Pellet-type food can be crushed into powder to feed small Hermit Crabs. Feed one teaspoon for small crabs.

You can provide calcium supplements in the form of calci-sand substrate, crushed oyster shell, and cuttlebones.

Water is used for drinking, filling the shell with water to carry with them, and bathing or playing. Hermit Crabs enjoy climbing in their bowls so make sure to provide a natural sea sponge that's large enough to make it easy for them to get in and out of their bowl. With Ecuadorian Hermit Crabs, you'll need to provide both a bowl of fresh water and one of salt water.

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Care & Maintenance

Hermit Crabs are nocturnal, which means they sleep mostly during the day and are awake and very active at night. Make sure to turn on the habitat light in the morning and off at night or set a timer; it should run between 8 and 12 hours a day. You'll want to check food and water levels before you go to sleep, as your Hermit Crabs will do most of their eating at night.

Because they are social animals, your Hermit Crabs will enjoy living with other Hermit Crabs. They will need to change shells as they grow and can be very picky about the shells they choose. Provide at least two empty shell options per Hermit Crab and make sure they are 10 to 15 percent larger than their current shell.

Handling

The more you handle your Hermit Crabs the more comfortable they will become. When reaching into the habitat to pick up a Hermit Crab, make sure to move slowly; their compound eyes are able to detect movement very easily. Hold the shell in your dominant hand and place the other hand gently under your Hermit Crab's legs.

If your Hermit Crab ever pinches you, place your hand on a table where the shell is on the surface and the crab will release his grip to walk away.

Health

We recommend establishing a relationship with a veterinarian for all your pets, but it's also important to be aware of the health warning signs for your Hermit Crabs so you know when to call your vet.

Things to Watch For:

  • Decreased appetite or activity
  • Excessive shedding of the skin
  • Loss of claws or limbs
  • Staying out of his shell
  • Strong odor from inside the shell
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