What To Feed Hermit Crabs

If you’ve been to the beach or anyplace near the water, it’s likely that you’ve spotted one or two of these little, shelled creatures that don’t quite like typical crabs. Hermit crabs are adorable small decapod crustaceans that are beloved by both ocean lovers and animal lovers as pets.

But it’s crucial to understand what you can and cannot feed your own hermit crab (or crabs; they prefer to be in groups!). What foods consume hermit crabs?

About the Hermit Crab

We must first learn a few crucial facts about the hermit crab before learning what hermit crabs eat. A decapod crustacean, or one with 10 legs and a shell, is what the hermit crab is.

The hermit crab, on the other hand, differs from other crustaceans in that it doesn’t produce its own shell; instead, it relies on the shells of other creatures. Depending on the environment, hermit crabs molt to grow once every 18 months, which means that if they outgrow their present shell, they will need to find a new one.

They frequently inhabit areas with both fresh and salt water so they may scurry, dig, and hunt for food while also finding a location to lay their eggs. As nocturnal creatures, hermit crabs are more active at night than during the day.

Are Hermit Crabs Carnivores or Herbivores?

Due to their omnivorous nature, hermit crabs will consume both plants and meat.

Wild hermit crabs cannot be picky eaters since they are scavengers by nature. They will consume an apple core or a deceased conspecific’s carcass.

The composition of their meals is the most crucial factor.

Above all things, hermit crabs require calcium and protein. They remain healthy and robust as a result. Energy is also provided by carbs in the proper amounts.

Hermit crabs never run out of food sources because of scavenging. They seldom consume the same food again in a 24-hour period, according to the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology.

This indicates that hermit crabs are fully omnivorous. Never will a hermit crab feast just on meat or plant-based foods. Diverse diets are essential to maintaining hermit crabs’ appetites.

Hermit Crabs Habits And Biology

Do you realize there are more than 800 different species of hermit crabs? Generally speaking, they fall into two categories: terrestrial hermit crabs and marine hermit crabs.

These sociable creatures may form enormous colonies with over a hundred crabs. Together, they will go in search of food, eat, and sleep.

Terrestrial hermit crab species spend the most of their lives on land. They have easy access to water since they reside near to the coast. These crabs will breed, and the most of their early years will be spent in water.

The whole habitat of marine hermit crabs is water. In seawater, they eat, mate, and procreate. It is known that just one species of sea crabs can survive in freshwater. The name of it is Clibanarius fonticola.

Rarely do marine hermit crabs surface from the sea. When they do, as long as their gills are moist, they briefly breathe via them.

Since the majority of them have delicate exoskeletons, they typically live inside the shells of other species, such whelks. They are defended from predators by their shells. Hermit crabs can fit inside shells because to their curled and hooked tails.

Hermit crabs molt as they get bigger. They lose their original exoskeleton during this process and grow a new one. As they become bigger, they’ll need to find bigger shells to live in.

Both the marine and terrestrial hermits have been seen in great numbers around this period, gathering in a straight line to trade shells. An organism will leave its old shell when it discovers a new one.

The ways that hermit crabs mate differ from species to species. For instance, when it’s time for mating, the Caribbean hermit crab will migrate in great numbers to the seashores.

When the men and females find one another, they partially emerge from their shells, allowing the male crab to fertilize the female’s eggs by giving her his sperm.

How Do Hermit Crabs Eat?

Hermit crabs consume with their pincers, which are known as chelipeds in science. Hermit crabs with two chelipeds at the front of their bodies are healthy and unharmed. These are frequently regarded as the top set of legs on hermit crabs.

The right cheliped is often bigger and more dominating. This pincer is used by hermit crabs to take up food and move it closer to their mouth. The food may then be introduced into the mouth using the smaller cheliped.

Hermit crabs have tiny mouthparts instead of teeth. These are utilized to pulverize food into a swallowable size. This indicates that little, bite-sized feeding portions are best for hermit crabs kept as pets.

Food waste will be decreased as a result. Hermit crabs do not consume a lot of food because they are little. The majority will be willing to nibble until they are no longer hungry before continuing with their day. A hermit crab that is overeating is probably getting ready to molt.

Your hermit crabs will need to be hand-fed if they have lost their chelipeds. This may be done from your hand for tiny munchies. However, not all hermit crabs are tolerant to handling. Feed your hermit crabs in these situations by providing food on a plastic spoon.

What Do Hermit Crabs Eat In The Wild?

Because they are omnivorous, hermit crabs will consume both plants and animals. These creatures often don’t have preferences and will eat almost everything they come upon.

Hermit crabs in the wild use olfactory sensors in their antennae to find food. They also dine on the same foods as other hermits do in order to observe what they are consuming.

Hermit crabs are mostly nocturnal creatures, and they frequently hunt for food at night. Additionally, they rarely eat the same thing twice in one day or night.

How Do Hermit Crabs Hunt and Forage for Food?

Many of the senses that humans share with hermit crabs are present, albeit some are more developed than others. They find food and stay alive in the wild by using their senses of sight, touch, taste, sound, and scent. The sense of smell is one of a hermit crab’s most important senses. They have hundreds of tiny, short-haired antennae that they utilize to detect odours.

For instance, certain hermit crabs have the ability to sense death, while robber crabs can detect coconuts from great distances. Hermit crabs have a refined sense of taste as well. This explains why certain hermit crabs like particular meals over others, most likely. Hermit crabs search for food by using their vision as well.

They can distinguish between colors and have 360-degree vision, but they have trouble understanding forms. Hermit crabs can hear in the mid- and low-range, although they don’t rely much on their hearing to locate food.

Hermit crabs spend the majority of their time scavenging for food since they are omnivorous scavengers. A hermit crab will migrate in the direction of a probable food if it picks up a scent it likes. Hermit crabs will assiduously follow their noses in quest of food since a sizable portion of their brain is devoted to analyzing odors.

A hermit crab will also move in that direction to participate in the bounty if it observes another hermit crab eating. Hermit crabs will grasp food with their claws and split it into tiny pieces so they can consume it. They will consume living animals in addition to plant debris and decayed and dead animal meat.

They struggle to grab swift prey, though, because to their poor speed. They typically exclusively consume slow-moving food, such worms, as live prey.

What Do Hermit Crabs Eat in Captivity?

What do hermit crabs prefer to eat might be a better thing to ask. Your hermit crabs will enjoy life in captivity more if you treat them with tasty but safe delicacies.

Many hermit crabs find it difficult to adjust to life as a pet. Give your hermit crabs a pleasant, diverse diet by reviewing this list of safe foods. Their quality of life will be much enhanced by this.

Aquarium’s contents Wild hermit crabs will eat everything they find in their surroundings, as we already indicated. In captivity, this survival drive is still there. If your hermit crabs consume wood, moss, algae, or corals in a tank, do not be shocked or frightened.

This is the rationale behind the widespread adoption of marine hermit crabs. They serve as the fish tank’s janitors, reducing the buildup of unattractive algae. The organic components of their environment will likewise be nibbled on by land hermit crabs.

Any wood you use in a habitat should be sage so that hermit crabs may ingest it. Additionally, regularly spot-clean an aquarium. Hermit crabs may swallow lethal mold growths if they develop the habit of consuming their surroundings.

Your hermit crab’s environment is likely to develop into a unique ecosystem. A wide variety of insects will settle in the aquarium. These have a role in the interim even if they must be removed by cleaning every few months.

Hermit crabs do not naturally hunt, although they will consume insects that they find in their environment. Hermit crabs can greatly benefit from this as a dietary supplement. Insects are a tempting side dish, but captive crabs shouldn’t rely only on them for food.

What Do Hermit Crabs Eat As Pets?

Hermit crabs kept in captivity consume roughly the same kind of food as those found in the wild. To stay healthy and live longer, it is essential to give them a consistent good diet.

Protein-rich foods like meat and fish aid in the growth and development of the crab.

Cuttlebone (cuttlefish bones) is often powdered and added as a supplement to other diets. It contains a lot of calcium, which helps build the exoskeleton.

Hermits enjoy pet food because they think it to be very appetizing. Additionally, it has a lot of fat, thus it shouldn’t be routinely provided to children.

Because they are high in calcium, leafy greens like kale and spinach are good for crabs.
Hermit crabs enjoy peanut butter and jam as snacks. To avoid them suffocating from getting into their gills, you should hand feed them.

Oatmeal has a great nutritional content and is strongly advised for hermit crabs kept as pets. However, because of its high fat content, it shouldn’t be given to them frequently.

They are helped in their growth and development by grains, seeds, and nuts. Make sure to reduce them to bite-sized pieces.

Eggshells that have been crushed are a great source of calcium.

Hermit crabs reared with fish may occasionally eat fish flakes with the fish in their tank.

You may find seaweed, which is a kind of algae, in the ocean.

Knowing what to feed your pet hermit crab is vital, but it’s also crucial to know what you should avoid doing.

Don’t feed them. The following foods should be avoided:

Hermit crabs and other crustaceans cannot consume avocado leaves or their peel. The fruit is edible, though.

Natural pesticides found in the bark, leaves, and peel of citrus fruits are toxic to hermit crabs if consumed.

Iodine is hazardous when consumed in big doses and is abundant in table salt. It helps the crabs molt when used in tiny doses.

The crabs might experience health issues since tap or chlorinated water includes chemicals and metals that are hazardous to them.

Catnip, rotten and moldy meals, chocolate, cocoa, and others are among the items you shouldn’t give your pet crabs.

Giving your pets a healthy meal each day will guarantee that they progress into adult crabs and grow to be beautiful creatures.

How Often Do Hermit Crabs Eat?

Hermit crabs may go without eating for several days, and perhaps even up to two weeks. A hermit crab will overeat if it anticipates being without food for an extended length of time. A hermit crab may safely fast for a longer period of time the more fat it consumes.

Most hermit crabs will stay away from this situation. A hermit crab will consume its shed exoskeleton even if it is about to molt and would be unable to forage for weeks. This gives it all the energy and nutrition it needs until it reappears to forage once again.

Hermit crabs are capable of going without food, but it doesn’t mean they should. Hunger affects animal behavior, even that of hermit crabs. According to the Bulletin of Marine Science, hungry crabs become hostile and belligerent. If food is in short supply, this is especially likely.

Hermit crabs normally eat only once each day in the wild. Once dusk falls, they come out to search for food. This needs to happen again in captivity. Just before dark, put food in a habitat. Your hermit crabs will awaken at this time and probably feel hungry.

Hermit Crabs Unsafe Food List

You may be excused for believing that hermit crabs have iron wills and can consume anything. After all, if they are to scavenge for food to survive in the wild, they occasionally have to eat unsavory food. While this is true, hermit crabs are also badly impacted.

Hermit crabs avoid meals that have made them ill, according to The Biological Bulletin. This is referred to in the article as “severe physiological distress,” which is generally connected to emotional reactions.

This implies that hermit crabs retain bad aftertastes of food that made them ill. According to Animal Behavior, hermit crabs have unusually good memory and can definitely recall unpleasant events.

Giving your hermit crabs the wrong food might erode their faith in you. To this purpose, you must be aware of the things that hermit crabs should not eat. Even though this list is not as comprehensive as the list of permitted foods above, it is still important to know.