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Are Hermit Crabs Intelligent? (Interesting Things They Can Do)

Are Hermit Crabs Intelligent? (Interesting Things They Can Do)

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The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Hermit crabs are starting to become more and more popular as pets. Many people think that these creatures are incredibly interesting.

Some hermit crab owners say that their pets are extremely intelligent. If you don’t own one as of yet, you might be curious about just how smart these creatures are.

Are hermit crabs intelligent? What are some good examples that show how smart they are?

Read on to learn more about hermit crab intelligence. This should help you to appreciate hermit crabs more once you’ve read all of the information.

Hermit Crabs Are Pretty Smart

Overall, hermit crabs are considered to be pretty smart. Of course, they aren’t intelligent in the same way as humans.

Measuring intelligence isn’t something that’s easy to do in most animals. However, hermit crabs do have a type of intelligence that has been noted by researchers and hermit crab enthusiasts.

Understand that hermit crabs aren’t highly intelligent creatures, though. They have a simple kind of intelligence.

A hermit crab isn’t going to be able to figure out how to solve puzzles. It doesn’t even have the ability to remember faces.

Despite this, there are things that they can do that showcase how smart they are. You’ll likely be impressed by some of what they’re capable of.

Interesting Things Hermit Crabs Can Do

There are a number of interesting things that hermit crabs can do. Many of these things show how smart they can be in certain situations.

For example, hermit crabs have shown the ability to detect and remember pain. Some enthusiasts think that this trait means that hermit crabs could be trained in certain ways.

They’re also capable of recognizing the smell of their own dead. They can smell dead hermit crabs over other animals.

When a hermit crab dies, it’s an indication that another shell has become available for use. Nearby hermit crabs will be drawn to the smell and they might take the shell for their own if it’s better than the one that they currently have.

Hermit crabs do other things that make them seem really smart, too. Did you know that hermit crabs will line up to exchange shells?

People have observed wild hermit crabs lining up by size. They will then swap shells based on which shells are the best fit for them based on size.

These creatures are very good at determining how good shells are, too. They can detect things about the structural stability of shells and are capable of choosing shells based on certain preferences.

Due to all of this information, it’s easy to see that hermit crabs possess some type of limited intelligence. They aren’t intelligent in more complex ways, but they are able to do a lot.

Some owners even say that hermit crabs can learn to recognize the voices of their owners. There are reports of hermit crabs being trained to respond to sounds.

Certain types of elementary training might be possible with these creatures. However, you have to take anecdotal evidence from hermit crab owners with a grain of salt.

Researchers might learn more concrete information about hermit crab intelligence in the future. As of now, you can simply know that hermit crabs possess some type of minor intelligence that makes them capable of certain things.

Do Hermit Crabs Have Brains?

Yes, hermit crabs do have brains. When you compare the brain of a hermit crab to that of other animals, it’s quite a bit different.

In some ways, a hermit crab’s brain doesn’t seem much like a brain at all. That doesn’t change the fact that it is a brain, though.

Scientists don’t know as much about hermit crab brains as you would think. The subject still needs to be researched.

There’s a lot that is unknown when it comes to the anatomy of hermit crab brains as well as the structure. A lot of information is simply assumed based on what is already known about other types of crabs.

What is known is that hermit crabs don’t have very large brains. They have very small brains and it can actually be tough to locate with the naked eye.

When observing a dissected hermit crab, the brain will look like little more than a bundle of nerves. It doesn’t have lobes and various sections.

Hermit crab brains are so much different from animal brains and human brains. You’d expect a brain to be made out of tissue, but hermit crab brains are mostly just nerve cords.

So hermit crabs possess brains, but they don’t have complex brains. They have small and simple brains.

This means that hermit crabs can only be considered to be so smart. They can be seen to showcase a type of intelligence based on their actions, but they still aren’t capable of complex learning.

Do Hermit Crabs Have Feelings?

If you’re thinking of buying a hermit crab as a pet, you’re likely wondering if these creatures have feelings. Are they capable of showing emotion like many other popular pet choices?

No, hermit crabs don’t show emotion at all. Many people say that hermit crabs don’t have feelings.

However, there has been research done on the topic of crustaceans and emotions recently. Some findings have suggested that crustaceans might be capable of having feelings.

Even so, there isn’t a definitive answer to this question. It’s hard to say whether hermit crabs have the mental capacity to possess feelings.

It isn’t known whether they have feelings at this time. Some experts say no while others say that more research needs to be done.

What you can know for sure is that hermit crabs can bond with their owners in a way. Many people have noted that hermit crabs can learn to recognize their owners’ voices.

They won’t interact with you in the same way as a cat or a dog, though. If you’re looking for an emotional connection with a pet, it’d likely be better to pick a traditional mammal pet.

You should also know that many hermit crab enthusiasts swear that hermit crabs have emotions. It might be best to get a pet hermit crab of your own and draw your own conclusions.

Can Hermit Crabs Recognize Their Owners?

Most hermit crab owners say that their pets have learned to recognize them. They usually note that these creatures are capable of recognizing the voices of their owners.

It was noted earlier that hermit crabs aren’t able to remember faces. So they won’t be able to tell people apart based on their faces.

Since they can learn to recognize sounds, they can get to know you. Hermit crab enthusiasts suggest that these pets can adapt to you and form something of a bond with you.

It’s simply not going to be the same as having a pet dog or a pet cat. It’s a different type of pet to care for and it recognizes you in a different way.

If you want a highly interactive pet, owning a hermit crab won’t be the best choice. You’re mostly going to be observing the hermit crab and taking care of its basic needs.

Do Hermit Crabs Make Good Pets?

There are so many people who will tell you that hermit crabs make excellent pets. It’s up to you to decide if owning a hermit crab is a good choice, though.

For some, hermit crabs make for good pets that don’t require a lot of effort. Others might find them to be somewhat boring pets.

It’s likely going to be best to consider some of the pros and cons of owning hermit crabs before making a decision. It could help to make things clearer so you can decide which route to take.

Once you’ve read all of the information, you’ll feel more confident that you can make an informed decision. If these pets interest you, it might wind up being a very good experience.

The Pros of Owning Hermit Crabs

Perhaps the best aspect of owning a hermit crab as a pet is that it doesn’t take up a lot of space. Buying a simple habitat for a hermit crab will be simple and you’ll be able to fit everything even if you live in a small home or apartment.

It’s also very easy to take care of these pets. Feeding them will be simple and it won’t take a lot of effort to keep the habitat clean so long as you don’t get lazy.

You’ll also find that hermit crabs are a lot of fun to observe. They’re very interesting and you might spend hours just checking out what the hermit crabs get up to.

Hermit crabs even have the potential to live for a long time. The average lifespan for captive hermit crabs is between five and fifteen years.

Some hermit crabs have lived for as long as thirty years in captivity. You could be caring for your new pet for decades if things go really well.

Also, these pets are incredibly cost-effective. It doesn’t cost much money at all to buy a hermit crab from a pet store.

Getting the things that you need to care for the crabs will cost a bit more, but it still won’t break the bank. Overall, this is a good pet option for those who don’t have a lot of money to spend.

The Cons of Owning Hermit Crabs

One potential downside to owning hermit crabs as pets is that they don’t interact with you much. If you want a pet that you can play with, it’d be better to look elsewhere.

You’ll really just be observing the hermit crab and taking care of it. It might be fun to observe the creature, but you won’t be able to do much with it at all.

These creatures can also smell if you don’t take the time to clean the habitat thoroughly. Avoiding cleaning duties will cause the area near the habitat to become rather pungent.

It’s also annoying to have to worry about the humidity so much. These creatures need appropriate humidity levels to be able to breathe.

This means that you’ll likely need to purchase a small humidifier for the room where the habitat is located. It isn’t that much of an inconvenience, but it could still be seen as troublesome.

To add to this, hermit crabs molt on a semi-regular basis. During the molting process, the hermit crab will dig into the sand and remain there.

If you disturb the crab during this time it might die. This is stressful to have to deal with and many people don’t like it.

Final Thoughts

Hermit crabs are smart in certain ways. However, they’re not incredibly smart due to only having simple brains.

These creatures have very small brains that are tough to notice with the naked eye. They’re so small that you’re going to mistake them for a bundle of nerves if you ever dissect a hermit crab.

Despite having such small brains, hermit crabs do show signs of being smart in specific ways. They’re capable of recognizing the smell of their own dead.

They will sometimes line up to exchange shells with one another. These creatures even have preferences when it comes to shells and are able to detect things about the structural nature of the shells that they use.

Many find hermit crabs to be fascinating creatures. At this time, scientists don’t know enough about hermit crab brains and intelligence.

It could be that information will come to light about this subject in the near future. This all depends on whether researchers choose to focus on studying these well-loved creatures.

Hermit crabs are becoming more and more common as pets. Many people love owning them and they say that they can be a lot of fun.

You can’t interact with hermit crabs too much, but they’re interesting to observe. They’re also fairly easy to take care of.

They make good beginner pets for many different types of people. It’s also great that they don’t cost a lot of money.

If you find these creatures to be intriguing, you can find them for sale at local pet stores. You just might enjoy owning a hermit crab.

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Saturday 11th of June 2022

I have one hermit crab I won at a carnival for about 3 years now. I spoil him like crazy and he seems pretty content. I have like 9 of the same exact hooded shirt that I always wear around the house. If I have the hood down and my crab is close to the glass, he will get scared and retract into his shell. He will slowly come out, see me again and go back down. But if I put the hood up he’ll stay standing staring at me with his little antennas moving a mile a minute. He will stand there looking at me like that for as long as I stand there. As soon as I take the hood down he’s back in his shell hiding. I feel like he’s gotten a little more comfortable with me without the hood over the years but it’s like night and day when I have it up. I’ve been telling people it’s because he sees the hood on me and thinks I’m a crab like him lol.