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.
Chances are that if you own reptiles, you will want to offer them the best home that you can. Likewise, if you own hermit crabs or other crustaceans, you will also want to offer them the best home that you are able to.
As such, there may come a time when you want to offer your pets some company by getting them a companion for their enclosure. However, when it comes to trying to find a companion for your hermit crabs, you should try and stick with other hermit crabs and not venture too far outside of that category, otherwise you might run into some trouble.
Hermit crabs are social animals that enjoy having other hermit crabs to interact with, but they may not always realize other species are there for socialization and not as a predator or another creature that they have to defend their territory from. As such, they may end up attacking other animals that you try to house them with.
This is even evident with marine hermit crabs as well, as you have to be careful what type of fish you choose to keep with them so that all of them can coexist peacefully.
More often than not, the fish you have to choose when you have hermit crabs in the tank are fish that already naturally coexist with hermit crabs, and trying to introduce anything new to the tank can result in trouble.
With all of this being said, you might wonder why you can’t keep another docile animal, such as an anole, with a hermit crab. There are many, many reasons why, with all of them boiling down to the fact that hermit crabs and other animals don’t always get along.
The first thing to consider when thinking about this is the type of animal that you are working with. There are two main types of hermit crabs and two main types of anoles that people can adopt, and all of them have conflicts with each other in one way or another.
A good example of this is the marine hermit crab. The marine hermit crab is an entirely aquatic hermit crab that has no use for land, which is something that the anole needs, presenting a fairly obvious problem.
If you want to keep a marine hermit crab and an anole of any type together, you are going to need to have a large habitat that offers both the amount of space an anole needs (at least 10 gallons for a single lizard) and a separate gallon for each hermit crab you own (at least four or more gallons), which adds up to a considerable amount of space in addition to the maintenance needed to reach the temperature gradients of both animals. It is simply not practical to try and house them together.
So, what about land hermit crabs?
The Problem with Keeping Land Hermit Crabs and Anoles Together
It goes without saying that hermit crabs have specific requirements for their habitats to keep them happy, healthy, and friendly. One of the most important things to note is the high humidity level that hermit crabs need.
Even though land hermit crabs have evolved to live their life on land, they still breathe through an adapted form of gills. These gills require a humidity level of around 70% to 80% depending on the specific species of hermit crab that you have adopted.
It can also go without saying that lizards have very strict requirements for their habitats as well. They are cold blooded animals and they require a temperature gradient so that they can adjust their body temperature for digesting their food and preparing themselves to go to sleep. They also require specific humidity levels.
Both brown and green anoles prefer their humidity levels between 60% and 70% as well as regular misting. While there is some common ground in the 70% humidity range, this is at the extreme end of both species’ living requirements, which can create a lot of stress, especially when it is not properly managed.
This creates problems for both species.
Hermit crabs, with a low 70% humidity, will not be able to breathe properly, which will create considerable discomfort and stress. Anoles, with a high 70% humidity, may develop illnesses relating to the high humidity level.
With both animals stressed out because of the suboptimal environment, this makes both of them prone to acting more aggressive or withdrawing from eating, further leading to health conditions. Both hermit crabs and anoles are likely to stop eating when they are stressed, leading to starvation for both animals, which is not a comfortable way to live.
In addition to this, hermit crabs are clumsy animals. If they interact with the anole lizard, they may accidentally injure it with their claws. This will either lead to the lizard retaliating, as it perceives the injury as a direct attack, or severely increased stress due to the injury and the fact that it believes that it is living with something that could be a predator.
This also applies to hermit crabs. A molting hermit crab is under enough stress as it is, and a curious anole lizard may believe the crab to be an insect to eat, causing it to try and go after it, leading to injuries for all involved.
When all is said and done, hermit crabs and anoles should not be kept together. While some of their temperature and humidity requirements might overlap, they are not creatures that have evolved to coexist with each other’s presence.
Attempting to keep hermit crabs and anoles together will result in drastically increased stress, injuries, and potential starvation from stress-related lack of appetite on both the anole and the hermit crabs’ side of things.
For the health and safety of both animals, they should be housed separately, and to some extent, should be housed where they can’t see each other to further reduce the chances of them becoming stressed out.
Finding Companions for Your Animals
Hermit crabs are social animals, so it is important that you provide companions for them to interact with. It is often recommended that you purchase at least three hermit crabs or more at a time so that they all can have one another to interact with to pass their time.
It is often not recommended that you keep other animals with hermit crabs, as mentioned earlier, because hermit crabs are somewhat clumsy and easy to stress out, meaning that they may accidentally injure another animal.
Other animals may also believe a molting hermit crab is prey, leading to more problems in trying to find companions for your hermit crab outside of its own species.
Anole lizards of both brown and green varieties are not particularly social animals, meaning that there is no strict need to keep them with other animals the same way that there is for hermit crabs.
In fact, other animals aside from its insects may stress your anole out, and in some cases, even the insects your anole eats can stress it out if they’re left in its habitat for too long.
If you really want to keep another animal with your anole, it should only be another anole lizard, preferably one that has already been acquainted with your current anole if that is possible, as they tend to be territorial creatures.
You should not keep other animals of any sort (except for the occasional feeder insect) in your anole’s habitat.