Are Hermit Crabs Good Pets? A Guide to Responsible Ownership

If you’re looking for a unique and low-maintenance pet, a hermit crab might be just what you’re searching for. These fascinating creatures have grown in popularity as pets thanks to their quirky personalities and minimal care requirements. But are hermit crabs good pets? In this blog post, we’ll explore the advantages of having a hermit crab as a pet, essential care tips for their long-term health, and the ethical considerations of owning one.


Hermit crabs are a type of crustacean that have become popular as pets in recent years. These small creatures are known for their unusual personalities and lack of need for constant attention, which makes them ideal for individuals with busy schedules or limited space. However, before deciding to get a hermit crab, it’s essential to understand what owning one entails. In this post, we’ll go over the advantages of having a hermit crab as a pet, how to care for them, and the ethical considerations that come with owning one.

Advantages of Owning a Hermit Crab

Hermit crabs are known for being unique pets that require minimal care. Here are a few advantages of owning a hermit crab:


Hermit crabs are low-maintenance pets, making them a great option for those who don’t have the time or energy to care for a higher-maintenance pet. Here are a few reasons why:

Limited Required Interaction

Hermit crabs are primarily solitary creatures and don’t require much interaction with their owners. This makes them an excellent option for people who are busy and don’t have much time to devote to interaction.

No Need for Walks or Playtime

Unlike dogs or cats, hermit crabs don’t require walks or playtime outside of their tank. They are often content burrowing and exploring within their habitat.


Hermit crabs are relatively inexpensive pets, making them an excellent option for those on a budget. Initial costs for a hermit crab are usually around $5-$30 and don’t require much ongoing expense other than food and shells.


Keeping a hermit crab as a pet can be a great educational opportunity for children and adults alike. Owners can learn about ecology and biology and teach children about responsibility.


For individuals who are allergic to pet fur or dander, hermit crabs can be an ideal pet option since they don’t shed and produce less allergens.

Unique Personality

Hermit crabs have unique personalities, each with their quirks and behaviors. Some are outgoing and playful, while others are shy and prefer to hide. Learning about your hermit crab’s personality can be a fun and rewarding experience.

Hermit Crab Species Commonly Kept as Pets

Before we dive into the care tips for hermit crabs, it’s essential to understand the different species commonly kept as pets. The three most popular species include the following:

Caribbean Hermit Crab (Coenobita Clypeatus)

The Caribbean hermit crab is the most widely available species for pet ownership. They are native to the Caribbean and can be found on land and on beaches. These hermit crabs range from dark brown to reddish-purple and can grow up to five inches in length.

Ecuadorian Hermit Crab (Coenobita Compressus)

The Ecuadorian hermit crab is also native to South America. They are a smaller species of hermit crab but tend to be more social than other species. They range in color from brown to reddish-purple.

Australian Land Hermit Crab (Coenobita Variabilis)

The Australian land hermit crab is native to Australia. They are one of the larger species of hermit crab and can range in color from brown to bright blue. This species is more challenging to find in pet stores due to import restrictions.

Essential Care Tips for Hermit Crabs

While hermit crabs are low-maintenance pets, they still require proper care to ensure their long-term health. Here are a few essential care tips for hermit crabs:

Proper Tank Setup

Hermit crabs require specific tank conditions to ensure their well-being. Here are a few things to keep in mind when setting up a tank for your hermit crab:

Minimum 10-Gallon Tank for Two Crabs

Hermit crabs are social creatures and prefer to live in groups. It’s essential to have a minimum of a 10-gallon tank for two hermit crabs to ensure they have adequate space and can live comfortably.

70-80°F Temperature Range

Hermit crabs require a temperature range of 70-80°F. It’s essential to keep the tank within this range to ensure they remain healthy.

70-80% Humidity Level

Hermit crabs require a humid environment to thrive. The humidity level should be around 70-80% to prevent dehydration.

Substrate Mix of Coconut Fiber and Sand (5-6 Inches Depth for Burrowing)

Hermit crabs require a substrate mix of coconut fiber and sand. The substrate should be around 5-6 inches deep to provide them with adequate space for burrowing.


Hermit crabs require a varied diet to ensure optimal health. Here are a few things to keep in mind when feeding your hermit crab:

Diet Variety (Pellets, Fruits, Vegetables, Proteins)

Hermit crabs require a varied diet that includes pellets, fruits, vegetables, and proteins to ensure they get all the nutrients they need to remain healthy.

Importance of Calcium (Cuttlebone, Eggshells)

Hermit crabs require adequate calcium to maintain a healthy exoskeleton. Cuttlebone and eggshells are excellent sources of calcium for hermit crabs.

Fresh Water and Saltwater Sources (Dechlorinated)

Hermit crabs require fresh water and saltwater sources. It’s essential to ensure the water is dechlorinated before introducing it to the tank.

Molting Care

Hermit crabs molt regularly, meaning they shed their exoskeleton to grow. Here are a few things to keep in mind when caring for a molting hermit crab:

Understanding Signs of Molting (Lethargy, Digging)

When hermit crabs are preparing to molt, they become lethargic and begin digging. It’s essential to recognize these signs to provide proper care for your hermit crab during this process.

Providing Isolation and Space for Molting Crabs

During the molting process, hermit crabs require isolation and space to ensure their safety and minimize stress.

Avoiding Unnecessary Handling

It’s crucial to avoid handling your hermit crab during the molting process to avoid causing stress or injury.

Hermit Crab Behavior and Socialization

Hermit crabs are social creatures and prefer to live in groups. Here are a few things to keep in mind when socializing your hermit crab:

Social Animals (Prefer Living in Groups)

Hermit crabs are social animals and prefer living in groups. Keeping them in groups of two or more can help promote their well-being.

Signs of Stress (Hiding, Reduced Activity)

Hermit crabs exhibit signs of stress when they are unhappy. Signs of stress include hiding and reduced activity. It’s important to ensure your hermit crab’s habitat is suitable for their needs to avoid stress.

Interactions with Other Pets (Limited Compatibility)

Hermit crabs have limited compatibility with other pets. It’s essential to keep them away from animals that might view them as prey.

Appropriate Handling Techniques (Gentle, Infrequent)

When handling your hermit crab, it’s essential to use gentle and infrequent handling techniques to avoid stress or injury.

Life Expectancy and Long-Term Care

Hermit crabs can live up to 5-10 years in captivity. Here are a few things to keep in mind when trying to ensure their well-being:

Importance of Proper Tank Conditions

Proper tank conditions are essential to ensure your hermit crab lives a long and healthy life.

Health Concerns (Mites, Shell Rot, Bacterial Infections)

Hermit crabs are susceptible to mites, shell rot, and bacterial infections. Regular cleaning and proper diet can help prevent these health concerns.

Preventive Measures (Regular Cleaning, Proper Diet)

Regular cleaning and a proper diet are essential preventive measures to keep your hermit crab healthy and happy.

Ethical Considerations

When considering owning a hermit crab, it’s essential to understand the ethical considerations surrounding their ownership. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Controversial Pet Trade Practices

The pet trade industry can be controversial, including the hermit crab trade. Practices like harvesting from the wild and painting shells with toxic substances are harmful to hermit crabs and the environment.

Supporting Ethical Breeders and Sellers

Researching and verifying ethical breeders and sellers can help ensure ethical practices in the pet trade industry. Avoid supporting harmful practices by choosing reputable sources for purchasing hermit crabs.

Providing a Suitable Habitat and Care

Providing a suitable habitat and care for your hermit crab is essential to ensure their happiness and well-being.


In conclusion, hermit crabs can make great pets for those looking for a low-maintenance, unique pet. While they require proper care and attention, they are relatively easy to care for and can provide educational opportunities for owners. By following the essential care tips and considering the ethical considerations of ownership, we can ensure responsible and ethical ownership of our hermit crab pets. Remember to research before purchasing and always provide a suitable habitat and care for our hermit crab friends. With proper care, our hermit crabs can live long and happy lives.