How To Care For Hermit Crabs

Hermit crabs are excellent pets and are simple to maintain. The hermit crab developed the ability to survive on land by using empty shells as a shelter and form of defense. Your hermit crab may live up to 15 years if given the proper care.

Hermit crabs like social interaction and hence can live in groups. They’ll get more involved with the business. Hermit crabs spend the most of the day dozing off since they are nocturnal.

Hermit Crab Facts

Only around a dozen of the more than 800 species of hermit crabs that exist in the wild today are prized as pets. However, in order to survive and grow throughout their whole lifetimes, these crustaceans need access to water where they may routinely submerge themselves.

These creatures are not genuine crabs. They resemble snails more. They need to be protected from the weather since they have delicate bodies.

Hermit crabs need to find new shells to live in as their bodies develop throughout time because they rely on their shells to protect them. Hermit crabs may find new shells to live in on their own in the wild; they frequently select the shells of mollusks.

They depend on people to provide them ever larger shells while they are in captivity until they are adults and no longer require larger shells. When hermit crabs are fully grown, their length ranges from 2 to 6 inches. While hermit crabs can live for more than 30 years in the wild, they typically only survive for one to two years in captivity.

Where Can I Get a Pet Hermit Crab?

Hermit crabs for pets are available in a variety of locations. These creatures are offered for sale as pets in many pet shops, but if you choose, you may also capture them in the wild and keep them as pets. All you need to do is know where to look. They mostly inhabit tropical regions where land and water meet.

They might be discovered in shallow water close to the shore or buried beneath the sand. Outgoing hermit crabs may delve deeper and farther into the water.

Regardless of where you obtained your new pet hermit crab, you should gradually acclimate it to its new environment until it appears at ease and is interested enough to explore its surroundings.

Care and maintenance

It’s recommended to keep hermit crabs among other species. Care must be used while introducing a new crab since fighting can break out. They have more options when relocating shells since they live together. To avoid loneliness and increase your crabs’ chances of prospering in their new surroundings, parent more than one crab.

Every once in a while, take your hermit crabs outside and spend time with them. If you have children, it’s crucial that everyone gets to know your household pets. Trying lying on your stomach on the floor and creating a circle with your arms for your hermit crabs to move in is an intriguing maneuver to attempt.

Hermit Crab Housing

For your hermit crabs’ tank, get one with a glass lid. Hermit crabs are tropical creatures, thus the aquarium’s temperature should never fall below 20 degrees Celsius or rise over 30.

To monitor the temperature, install a low-wattage globe above the tank and a thermometer within. In order for the hermit crabs to go to where their body temperature is most comfortable, we suggested heating one end of the aquarium.

Given that hermit crabs are terrestrial crabs, it is essential to avoid overwatering the aquarium. Place aquarium sand or shell grit on the tank’s floor. At all times, try to keep the sand dry. Hermit crabs enjoy climbing, so add some driftwood or mangrove roots to the tank to give them something to do.

In the range of 50% to 70% humidity, hermit crabs thrive. For them to maintain normal breathing and gill moisture, they require this. Your hermit crab might grow dormant and suffocate if the air is too dry.

Make sure there is sufficient of water in the water bowls, the temperature is kept warm, and it doesn’t get too chilly in order to maintain a high degree of humidity.

You must always have two different types of water available for your hermit crabs. Put fresh water for drinking in one dish and sea water for bathing in another bowl. Hermit Crab Salt and Water may be used to create sea water (follow the measurements on the packet for the correct ratio).

Hermit crabs like to climb and can tip over water if a light-weight container is utilized, therefore use large, sturdy bowls for the water.

Hermit Crab Feeding

Hermit crabs can eat everything. Pellet food and occasional treats of fruits and vegetables make up their diet. Your neighborhood Petbarn may have nutrient-rich pellets. Make eating simpler by adding a spoonful of crushed pellets to their dish or by purchasing powdered pellets.

Include a variety of fruits and vegetables in your pet’s diet. Apples, bananas, and kale should all be chopped. Remove any leftovers in the morning after leaving these out overnight.

Give your crabs access to fresh water at all times. For their health, be sure you use filtered or dechlorinated water.

Diet & Nutrition

The omnivorous scavengers known as hermit crabs. Hermit crab chow that has been manufactured commercially offers the ideal ratio of vitamins and minerals for your crabs. For smaller crabs, crushed pelleted food should be supplied more often. Feed at night and discard leftovers each day.

We advise adding calcium vitamin supplements to hermies’ diets since they require a lot of calcium to maintain the health of their exoskeleton, particularly while they are molting.

Food & Water Bowls

Two water basins and a smaller food bowl are also required. Crabs should be able to fully immerse in the water bowls without becoming stuck, therefore the size should be just right.

Put saltwater in one and freshwater in the other (make sure to dechlorinate both). Put a marine sponge in each dish to assist maintain humidity and to allow crabs to enter and exit securely.

Hermit Crab Grooming

Your crabs will groom themselves if you provide the correct equipment. Give them a clean freshwater dish and a saltwater bowl to bathe in. So that smaller crabs may crawl out, place a marine sponge in the dish. Sea sponges are available in your nearby Petco.

Give your dogs a variety of shells to choose from. Per crab, we advise using at least two shells. Give them larger shells to expand into as they get older.

Hermit crabs typically undergo a moult once every 18 months, during which they become less active, burrow more, and consume less food and liquids. Hermit crabs will benefit from a calcium boost if their old skins are available for snacking. To aid hermit crabs in their molting process, provide them bedding made of finely powdered coconut fiber.

Hermit Crab Care

Hermit crabs are “cold-blooded,” or ectothermic. Therefore, they require heat from their environment. Depending on the size of your cage, a heat lamp or heat mat works best for this in your house.

The tank’s temperature has to vary; one end should be heated to between 24 and 28 degrees Celsius, while the other end should be kept at room temperature. This will allow the crabs to travel to warm or chilly places as needed.

High levels of humidity are necessary for hermit crabs’ gills to stay wet and function correctly. By employing an automated mister or periodically misting the cage with water, humidity must be kept between 75 and 90%.

The water in a hermit crab cage should be changed every day, and all bowls should be cleaned on a weekly basis. If necessary, the substrate should be replaced more frequently than once a month.

Hermit crabs must bathe in seawater. In a separate dish from their fresh drinking water, this should be offered.

Hermit crabs reside in the shells of other animals. As they get bigger, they’ll leave their current shell and choose a bigger one to settle within. For such circumstances, a few extra shells that are just a little bit bigger than their present one should be maintained inside the enclosure.

Hermit crabs need to shed their outer skeleton twice a year as they grow, much like other crabs do. The crab has to be left alone after it has moulted for a few weeks so that its new skeleton can solidify. The skin is often left on the ground after moulting.

This skin is rich in calcium, which crabs will consume. Before you realize they have truly shed their old skin, they can start eating this scrap. Crabs often burrow in the substrate for about a week while their skin dries up. Even if they are not active, make sure there is enough food and water in their cage.

Health care

When your pet is stressed, they may become lethargic, inactive, or continue to leave their shells if they feel overcrowded, bullied, lonely, have been dropped, or are too hot or cold. If you’re keeping a lot of little crabs, give them plenty room.

Make sure their tank is free from any exposure to chemicals because your dogs are particularly sensitive to them. Only use filtered water to clean your tank. Make sure your crabs aren’t exposed to pollutants if you let them walk free in your house.

Regularly inspect your hermit crabs. There are several indications that your crab may be ill, including decreased hunger, lack of energy, lingering outside of shells, excessive moulting, missing or broken claws or limbs, and strong odor from shells.

You should take your crab to your neighborhood Greencross Vets for treatment if you detect any of these symptoms or anything else odd about it.

Hermit Crab Shells

Hermit crabs frequently shift the shells they dwell in after moulting. In the tank, give the hermit crabs a few more shells. You must always provide your hermit crabs shells that are a little bit bigger than the previous one since they are always developing.

Hermit Crab Moulting

Hermit crabs often shed their outer skin twice a year. It is totally natural for a hermit crab to become less active, stop eating, drink an excessive quantity of water, and even even burrow during the moulting process.

The hermit crab has to be left alone during this period since it will take several weeks for its new skin to solidify. You may generally consume the old skins that your hermit crab sheds. Since their old skins are a good source of calcium, let them consume them.

Hermit Crab Cleaning

You don’t need to worry about cleaning your pet hermit crab, but as time goes on, you should start prioritizing habitat maintenance. Cleaning your pet’s tank at least once every two weeks will help to maintain their health and high standard of living. The crab should be removed and put in a temporary shelter with substrate and food inside.

Your pet’s habitat should be cleaned out using a non-toxic cleanser, water, and a clean towel after you remove the substrate and anything else from it.

Rinse the habitat’s plants and other accessories, then allow them to air dry while the habitat dries. Place the fresh substrate in the habitat once everything has dried, and then add the accessories back in as you see suitable.

Put your hermit crab back into its habitat after letting the heat lamp run for a time. Finally, close the lid by tightening the screws as required. You may enjoy your crab for several days!

Hermit Crab Travelling

Set up a makeshift tank in a small plastic container and include a substrate before bringing your new pets home. Don’t move your tank with the substrate and hermit crabs inside after it is set up. This might result in water spills and the collapse of your pets’ burrows, both of which could be harmful to them.

In your replacement tank, provide ventilation holes. Do not try to rebury any of your pets in the replacement tank if they are content in their burrows or shelters when you want to move them. Put a basin or hut over them instead.

Handling & Safety

Hermit crabs’ delicate bodies make them susceptible when they are molting. Keep them away from their roommates during this time; dropping them onto a hard surface might cause injury or death.

Hermit crabs must never be released into the wild. They have little chance of surviving and might be detrimental to the surrounding ecology.

Contact a veterinarian if you detect any of the following signs of disease or distress: increased activity or hunger, staying outside of the shell, excessive molting, missing claws or limbs, or a strong stench coming from inside the shell.


A fantastic method to learn about animal life without making a sizable time or monetary commitment is to keep a hermit crab as a pet.

It is a good idea to develop the pattern of feeding your pet at the same time each day and performing other activities at the same time of the day, week, or month since hermit crabs need attention and enjoy routine. We wish you well in your efforts to coexist peacefully as partners with your new pet hermit crab!