Hermit Crabs: 25 Common Questions & Answers

As a seasoned hermit crab owner, I know how fascinating and rewarding these unique pets can be. But, I also understand that they require specific care to thrive and live happily in captivity. Whether you’re a beginner or a fellow hermit crab enthusiast, this post is packed with essential information to help you better understand and care for your little crustacean companions. So, let’s dive right into answering the 25 most common questions about hermit crabs!

  1. What do hermit crabs eat in the wild?

As a hermit crab owner, I can tell you that in the wild, hermit crabs are omnivorous scavengers. They eat a variety of foods, including small plants, algae, decaying vegetation, and dead animals. They’re not picky and will eat almost anything they come across!

Source: https://www.petmd.com/reptile/care/evr_rp_hermit_crab_facts

  1. How often should I feed my hermit crab?

I feed my hermit crabs once a day, but it’s important to remember that they’re nocturnal, so it’s best to feed them in the evening or at night. This way, they can eat in peace while being active during their normal hours.

Source: https://www.petmd.com/reptile/nutrition/evr_rp_hermit_crab_diet

  1. How can I tell if my hermit crab is stressed?

I’ve noticed that when my hermit crabs are stressed, they may be more inactive, hide for long periods, and even lose limbs. Sometimes, they’ll make a chirping sound as well. Keeping their environment clean and providing proper care can help reduce stress.

Source: https://www.thesprucepets.com/stress-signs-in-hermit-crabs-1237324

  1. What is molting in hermit crabs, and why is it important?

Molting is a natural process in which a hermit crab sheds its exoskeleton to allow for growth. It’s vital for their development, and it usually happens every few months. During molting, they need extra care and privacy, so be sure to provide a safe, dark space for them.

Source: https://www.petco.com/content/petco/PetcoStore/en_US/pet-services/resource-center/caresheets/hermit-crab.html

  1. Can hermit crabs live in freshwater?

Hermit crabs need access to both freshwater and saltwater. While they need freshwater to drink, they also require saltwater for proper osmoregulation and to help with molting. I make sure to provide both types of water in separate dishes for my hermit crabs.

Source: https://www.thesprucepets.com/hermit-crab-water-requirements-1239186

  1. How can I ensure my hermit crab is getting enough humidity?

Hermit crabs need high humidity to breathe properly. I use a hygrometer to monitor the humidity in their enclosure, and I aim to keep it between 70% and 80%. To maintain this level, I mist the enclosure daily and use a moist substrate like coconut fiber.

Source: https://www.petco.com/content/petco/PetcoStore/en_US/pet-services/resource-center/caresheets/hermit-crab.html

  1. How big should a hermit crab’s enclosure be?

The size of the enclosure depends on the number and size of the hermit crabs. For one or two small crabs, a 10-gallon tank should be sufficient. However, as they grow and if you have more crabs, you’ll need a larger tank. My hermit crabs are quite happy in their 20-gallon home!

Source: https://www.petmd.com/reptile/care/evr_rp_hermit_crab_facts

  1. What should the temperature be in a hermit crab enclosure?

Hermit crabs are sensitive to temperature fluctuations, so it’s important to maintain a consistent temperature. I keep my crabitat between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit by using a heat mat and a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

Source: https://www.thesprucepets.com/hermit-crab-temperature-requirements-1239184

  1. What kind of substrate should I use in my hermit crab enclosure?

I use coconut fiber (also known as coir) as a substrate in my hermit crab enclosure. It holds moisture well, helps maintain humidity, and is safe for them to burrow in. Other good options include sand or a mix of sand and coconut fiber.

Source: https://www.petmd.com/reptile/care/evr_rp_hermit_crab_facts

  1. How often should I clean my hermit crab’s enclosure?

I spot-clean my hermit crab enclosure daily by removing any uneaten food and waste. I perform a deep clean once a month, which involves replacing the substrate, cleaning the tank, and disinfecting the decorations and shells.

Source: https://www.thesprucepets.com/cleaning-hermit-crab-tanks-1237357

  1. Can hermit crabs be handled?

While hermit crabs can be handled, it’s best to minimize handling to reduce stress. When I do handle my hermit crabs, I make sure my hands are clean and gently scoop them up from underneath to avoid pinching.

Source: https://www.petmd.com/reptile/care/evr_rp_hermit_crab_facts

  1. Can hermit crabs live with other species of animals?

It’s not recommended to house hermit crabs with other species, as they may have different environmental requirements and can potentially harm each other. I keep my hermit crabs in a species-specific enclosure.

Source: https://www.petco.com/content/petco/PetcoStore/en_US/pet-services/resource-center/caresheets/hermit-crab.html

  1. How do I choose a healthy hermit crab?

When I’m looking for a new hermit crab, I look for active, alert individuals with all their limbs and antennae intact. Their shells should be in good condition without any cracks or damage, and they should not have a strong odor.

Source: https://www.petmd.com/reptile/care/evr_rp_hermit_crab_facts

  1. Can hermit crabs breed in captivity?

While it’s difficult, hermit crabs can breed in captivity. However, the survival rate of the larvae is low because of their complex life cycle and specific water conditions needed. I focus on providing my hermit crabs with a comfortable environment and don’t try to breed them.

Source: https://www.thesprucepets.com/breeding-hermit-crabs-1237319

  1. How do hermit crabs communicate?

Hermit crabs communicate through body language, vibrations, and sound. Sometimes, when my hermit crabs are stressed or excited, they’ll make a chirping or croaking sound. They also communicate by tapping their legs and antennae against surfaces.

Source: https://www.thesprucepets.com/hermit-crab-communication-1237322

  1. How long do hermit crabs live?

With proper care, hermit crabs can live for several years. In captivity, they can live up to 10-15 years or more, depending on the species. I’ve had some of my hermit crabs for over 5 years, and they’re still going strong!

Source: https://www.petmd.com/reptile/care/evr_rp_hermit_crab_facts

  1. How can I tell the sex of my hermit crab?

Determining the sex of a hermit crab can be tricky, but one method is to look for a pair of small

gonopores on the underside of their body, near the base of the last pair of legs. Males have these tiny openings, while females don’t. But honestly, it’s not easy to tell, and the sex of a hermit crab doesn’t really matter for their care.

Source: https://www.thesprucepets.com/determining-hermit-crab-gender-1237315

  1. Can hermit crabs change shells?

Yes, hermit crabs change shells as they grow and molt. They are very particular about their shells and will switch shells if they find one more suitable. I provide a variety of extra shells in my hermit crab enclosure to give them options.

Source: https://www.petmd.com/reptile/care/evr_rp_hermit_crab_facts

  1. How can I provide enrichment for my hermit crabs?

To keep my hermit crabs entertained, I offer them different types of shells, climbing branches, and hiding spots. I also rotate the decor in their enclosure periodically to give them a new environment to explore.

Source: https://www.thesprucepets.com/hermit-crab-enrichment-ideas-1237320

  1. What kind of shells do hermit crabs prefer?

Hermit crabs usually prefer shells with round, smooth openings. Common types of shells they like include turbo shells and apple snail shells. It’s important to offer various sizes so they can find the perfect fit as they grow.

Source: https://www.petco.com/content/petco/PetcoStore/en_US/pet-services/resource-center/caresheets/hermit-crab.html

  1. Can hermit crabs regenerate lost limbs?

Yes, hermit crabs can regenerate lost limbs during their molting process. It might take a few molts for the limb to be fully functional, but it’s fascinating to see how resilient these little creatures are!

Source: https://www.thesprucepets.com/hermit-crab-limb-regeneration-1237321

  1. What are the different species of hermit crabs commonly kept as pets?

There are two main species of hermit crabs kept as pets: the Caribbean hermit crab (Coenobita clypeatus) and the Ecuadorian hermit crab (Coenobita compressus). I have both species in my enclosure, and they get along well together.

Source: https://www.thesprucepets.com/hermit-crab-species-profiles-1237325

  1. How can I prevent my hermit crabs from fighting?

To minimize fighting among my hermit crabs, I provide enough space, hiding spots, and shells for each crab. I also make sure there’s enough food and water so they don’t fight over resources.

Source: https://www.thesprucepets.com/hermit-crab-aggression-1237339

  1. What kind of lighting should I provide for my hermit crabs?

Hermit crabs don’t require specialized lighting like some reptiles, but they do benefit from a natural day/night cycle. I use a regular light on a timer to simulate this cycle, and I also provide some indirect sunlight for a few hours a day.

Source: https://www.petco.com/content/petco/PetcoStore/en_US/pet-services/resource-center/caresheets/hermit-crab.html

  1. Can hermit crabs be kept in groups?

Yes, hermit crabs are social creatures, and they thrive in groups. I keep several hermit crabs together in a spacious enclosure, and they often interact and climb on each other. Just make sure to provide enough space, resources, and hiding spots for each crab.

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this blog post, and I hope you’ve found the answers to your questions about hermit crab care. From their diet and environment to behavior and social needs, understanding these aspects is crucial for keeping your hermit crabs happy and healthy. Remember, every hermit crab is unique, and it’s important to monitor their behavior and make adjustments as needed. By providing the best possible care, you’ll be able to enjoy the company of your quirky, endearing pets for many years to come. Now, you’re well-equipped to face the exciting world of hermit crabs, so go forth and enjoy the journey of crustacean parenthood!






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