Can hermit crabs eat quinoa?

Introduction to Hermit Crab Care

Hermit crabs are fascinating creatures with unique needs, making them an interesting and rewarding pet for many enthusiasts. Ensuring their well-being is a top priority, as with any animal, which means providing them with a proper diet is essential to their overall health. One question that often arises is if hermit crabs can eat quinoa. Before diving into that, let's discuss the necessities of hermit crab care, to provide a better understanding of their unique requirements.

Understanding the Hermit Crab Diet

Hermit crabs are omnivorous scavengers, which means they eat both plant-based and animal-based foods. In their natural environment, they would typically consume a varied diet, including small insects, fruits, and plant matter. Some suitable food options for hermit crabs include:

  • Leafy greens, such as lettuce or spinach
  • Fresh vegetables, like carrots and zucchini
  • Fresh fruit, such as apples or grapes
  • Protein sources, like fish or shrimp
  • Calcium sources, such as cuttlebone or eggshells
  • Commercial hermit crab foods

It's essential to provide a diverse diet for these little creatures, ensuring they receive all the vital nutrients they need. So, where does quinoa fit into the hermit crab diet?

Can Hermit Crabs Eat Quinoa?

Quinoa is a seed that has gained popularity as a health food for human consumption due to its high protein content and gluten-free nature. But can hermit crabs eat quinoa?

The simple answer is yes; hermit crabs can safely consume quinoa as part of their balanced diet. However, it's crucial to prepare it properly before offering it to your hermit crab. Raw quinoa is difficult for them to digest, so always cook it according to the package instructions and serve it plain. Avoid adding any spices or seasonings, as these can be harmful to hermit crabs.

Additional Dietary Tips for Hermit Crab Keepers

While quinoa can be a suitable food for hermit crabs, it doesn't provide all the necessary nutrients they require. As a responsible hermit crab owner, be mindful of the following:

  1. Variety: Aim to provide a diverse diet for your hermit crabs, incorporating different types of foods that will meet their nutritional needs.
  2. Supplements: If you're concerned your hermit crab isn't getting enough nutrients, consider adding commercially available hermit crab food or supplements to their diet.
  3. Safe foods: Be conscious of the ingredients and treatments in any foods you provide. Always wash or peel fruits and vegetables to remove any residual pesticides, and avoid feeding them human food with added salt or spices.
  4. Avoid toxic foods: Some common household items can be toxic to hermit crabs, such as chocolate, onion, and avocado. Always do your research before feeding your hermit crab any new type of food.


Caring for hermit crabs can be an enjoyable and fulfilling experience, but ensuring their well-being is paramount. Providing a varied and balanced diet is an essential component of their care. Quinoa can be part of their meal plan, as long as you prepare and serve it properly. Remember always to prioritize variety and research any new foods before offering them to maintain a happy and healthy hermit crab companion.

What Foods Should I Avoid Feeding My Hermit Crabs?

Hermit crabs can be quite adventurous when it comes to their diet, but there are certain foods that are not suitable for them. Here, we'll answer some common questions about what hermit crabs should not eat, helping to keep your little crustacean friends healthy and happy.

Can hermit crabs eat onion or garlic?

It is best to avoid feeding onion and garlic to your hermit crabs. These two ingredients contain compounds that can be harmful to hermit crabs and may negatively impact their health. Stick to foods that are safe and more natural for them to consume, like vegetables, fruits, and various protein sources.

Are citrus fruits safe for hermit crabs?

Citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, and limes, are not recommended for hermit crabs. Citrus fruits contain high levels of acidity that can be harmful to your hermit crab's exoskeleton and overall well-being. Instead, opt for non-citrus fruits like apples, berries, and bananas to diversify their diet.

What types of meat should I avoid feeding my hermit crab?

When feeding your hermit crab meat, it's crucial to check the ingredient list for a harmful pesticide called Ethoxyquin. This pesticide is commonly found in many commercial hermit crab and fish foods as a preservative. Ethoxyquin is toxic to hermit crabs and should be avoided. Stick to fresh, unprocessed meats, such as chicken, shrimp, or small pieces of fish, avoiding any heightened sodium additives.

Can hermit crabs consume dairy products?

Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are not suitable for hermit crabs. Hermit crabs are not equipped to digest lactose, the sugar found in dairy products, which could lead to digestive issues. Instead, supplement their diet with calcium sources such as cuttlebone or crushed eggshells.

What about processed human food or sugary treats?

Processed foods for humans, particularly junk food and sugary treats, should be avoided in a hermit crab's diet. These types of food are high in unhealthy additives and sugar that can negatively impact your hermit crab's health. Instead, focus on providing them with a varied, balanced diet consisting of fresh vegetables, fruits, protein sources, and additional supplements as needed.

In summary, it's necessary to avoid feeding your hermit crabs items like onions, garlic, citrus fruits, meats with harmful preservatives, dairy products, and processed or sugary human foods. Providing your hermit crabs with a healthy, balanced diet will ensure their well-being and promote optimal growth and development.