I have had hermit crabs all my life. They were my first pet. I still remember my first crab. His name was Seaside. I got him at Seaside Heights, big surprise there. I had won him when I was with my aunt on one of our special night outs. Keep in mind - With proper care your new pet can live 20-25 years. Make sure you are ready for the comitment of owning a Hermit Crab.
What are Hermit Crabs?
Hermit Crabs, or Tree Crabs, are not your typical crab. These crabs are considered lsland crabs. Hermit Crabs can, and will drown in water. You can find these guys at a pet store, boardwalk, or even at a beach wondering around. I do not suggest taking these crabs, or any animal, from it's home in the wild. Get one from a pet store or fair instead, they were captive bred.
Hermit crabs have two main claws, the big "pincher" claw and the small claw. The big claw is mainly used for territorial and mating dances. Both males and females have a big pincher claw. The smaller claw is used for eating and drinking, and rarely anything else. A Hermit Crab can live without one or both of these claws due to the fact that they can be re-grown during the next shedding period. Hermit Crabs will only pinch you if they feel their life is threatened or if they think they are about to fall from your hands. It's best to hold your hand flat when handling a new crab. When he has your trust, then you may be able to hold your hand at a slight angle (
hermit crabs can and will fall from your hand if held incorrectly).
Where can I get a Hermit Crab?
The most popular place to find hermit crabs is at your local pet store. You can also find them at the boardwalk or at a local hometown fair.
My hermit crab is missing a leg or claw, is he going to die?
Hermit crabs can re-grow lost claws and legs. They normally will not die if they are missing their claws and one or two legs. It's hard on the crab to live like this, but he will be just fine when they grow back.
I got the crab, but what do I need for his new home?
All you really need is a glass cage, a water sponge, flat food dish, sand, a reptile heating pad, and a few extra shells. You can house one crab in a 2.5 gallon tank. If they are very small crabs, you can house two. Keep in mind, hermit crabs need room to establish territory. If they are cramped there will be fighting among themselves. You can safely keep 3-4 hermit crabs in a 10 gallon tank. They are very peaceful by nature and prefer the company of other crabs. You can use a plastic tank as long as you make sure the heating pad you get is safe for plastic tanks. The heating pad is a must due to the fact that hermit crabs cannot produce their own heat. The temperature inside the tank must be kept at a constant 78-80 degrees and the humidity must be kept at about 80. Mist your crab down frequently (one or twice a day will be sufficient). It a good idea to keep the sponge in a small dish of water. This will help with the humidity and keep the sponge moist longer so your crabs will not run out of water so quickly. Flat dishes will make great food dishes. You will need a tank substrate to place at the bottom of the tank. I suggest using sand, either calcisand or reptisand, both of which can be found at your local pet store. Do not use play sand! Reptile sand usually contains calcium and is digestible in case your crab ingests it. The extra shells are a must and needed for your crab while he grows out of his old shell. If he has no shell to go into, he will just come out and die. The rule when picking out new shells for your crab is to have at least two empty shells and make sure the hole is just a little bit bigger then the shell he is currently in. Your hermit crabs can also switch shells if you have more then one, but this is rare and new empty shells are a must. Hermit crabs love to dig and climb.
What should I feed my Hermit Crab?
There are commercially prepared hermit crab foods on the market. I prefer the crab cakes to anything else. The shrimp just stinks and doesn't clean up very good. You can also feed your crab bread crumbs with some occasional peanut butter as a treat. I also like the crab meal put out by HBH.
I found my hermit crab out of his shell.
First check his shell. Make sure he is not in his shell or any of the other shells in the tank. He may have just shed his skin. Crabs shed all of their exoskeleton, including their eyes. Always check the crab you find out of his shell carefully. It may just be a shell and not the crab at all.
How do I play with a Hermit Crab?
Just take your crab out for a few hours and talk to him. Get him used to being held. Let him walk on your hands. The best time to take them out is while your doing homework or reading. Do not let your crab out of your site! Believe it or not your little hermit crab is very fast. He can easily find trouble when your not looking.
How often do I clean his cage?
Once a week, or even once every other week is fine. It all depends on how big your tank is and how many crabs you have.
Boy or Girl, Male or Female?
Males have lots of tiny hairs all over their body. Females have much less to none. Easy enough??
Hermit Crabs cannot reproduce in captivity. They need their native waters in order to reproduce.