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Can Hermit Crabs Climb? (And What Can They Climb On?)

Can Hermit Crabs Climb? (And What Can They Climb On?)

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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 funky little creatures, which is likely why keeping them as pets is so appealing to many people, especially children who find one on the beach. The unique characteristics of these animals can often leave people wanting to learn more information about them, which makes a lot of sense considering they are very interesting.

One question a lot of people who are curious about hermit crabs will ask is whether or not they climb. The answer to this question will be included in this article, as well as some information about other behaviors displayed by these creatures and how to properly care for them as pets.

Keep reading to learn all about fascinating hermit crabs.

Behaviors Typical of Hermit Crabs

This section will be covering many of the behaviors that you will commonly see displayed by your pet hermit crab. This part of the article will also be taking a look at climbing behaviors in hermit crabs, so make sure to read all the way through the section to find the answers to any questions you might have.


One of hermit crabs’ favorite activities is digging in the substrate of their tanks. In the wild, they are also avid diggers, so this behavior comes very naturally to these animals.

You need to keep the substrate in your hermit crab’s enclosure nice and moist so it can dig through it without much trouble. This will also help keep your pet from knocking over the water bowls and other objects in the tank.

Make sure to add moisture to the tank for your crab to be able to easily burrow into the substrate because this is one thing it must do often.


Another behavior you will see your hermit crab display all the time is bathe itself. It is important to provide your crab with drinking water and a bowl of both salt and freshwater so it has a choice as to which kind of water it will bathe in.

Of course, hermit crabs come from the sea, so they can’t get enough of that water.


On average, about every 18 months or so, your hermit crab will begin the molting process, which simply means that it removes its old exoskeleton to make room for a new one.

During the actual process, which can typically take anywhere from four to eight weeks, your crab will burrow itself into the substrate of its tank so it can do what it needs to do from a safe spot.

As was previously mentioned, you should never try to move your crab or otherwise interact with it while it is burrowing or molting. It is actually impossible to tell if your crab is molting when it is under the substrate, but you should still leave your pet alone.

There is no reason for you to be concerned about whether your pet is getting enough food and water, as it should have prepared itself for the long stay under the substrate by storing some water in its shell, and these animals often consume their old exoskeleton once it has been removed, which provides it with sustenance.

There are a few hints before your hermit crab molts that indicate it is about to happen. One sign is your pet eating, drinking, and bathing more in preparation for its stay under the substrate, as well as burrowing into various places in the tank, which indicates it is trying to find an ideal spot to molt.

You may also notice your pet is turning slightly gray in color and is less active.


You will likely notice your hermit crab burrowing into the substrate of the tank to hide away. This could be due to stress, the fact that it is molting, it could be regulating the temperature of its body, or it could even be simply sleeping in the substrate.

Hiding away in the substrate makes your pet feel more secure. Oftentimes, the hermit crab is simply making sure it is safe and sound while it takes care of important business. After all, hermit crabs are regularly targeted by predators in the wild, so even resting is risky unless they are positioned somewhere out of sight.

Try to give your crab some space when it decides to burrow under the substrate.


So, do hermit crabs climb? Some people might assume these animals do not climb since they spend most of their time on beaches rather than in forests, but this would be a false assumption.

It turns out that these creatures love climbing just about as much as they do digging, if not more. They partake in this activity for entertainment and for seeking out food in the wild.

This is why putting objects inside their tank that they can use for climbing up and around is extremely important for keeping hermit crabs happy in captivity, and who doesn’t want to keep these little cuties happy?

You can place climbable objects into your pet’s enclosure such as pieces of wood, rocks, and rope, which you can secure onto the side of the tank.

Giving your hermit crab objects to climb on in its enclosure provides it with both exercise and pleasure, so be certain you do not skip doing this.

Caring for Your Pet Hermit Crab

Now that you know about some of the normal behavior characteristics of hermit crabs, you can check out the basic care tips for these adorable animals. This way, you can give your new pet the best life possible in captivity.


Hermit crabs love chicken, fish, and fruits, as well as various leafy greens. However, you should mainly feed your pet pellets that are nutrient-rich and plant-based as this will ensure your pet remains healthy and strong.

You should provide your hermit crab with fresh food each day. If there is any old food left behind in the tank, make sure to remove it prior to adding a fresh meal.

For small hermit crabs, about a teaspoon of pellets each day should be enough for them to be satisfied, and you can give your pet fruits and veggies a few times a week.


For each hermit crab you have, it should be provided with a roomy glass or plastic home that is at least two to five gallons in size, two for the smallest of crabs and five for the biggest. Using an actual tank is vital for preventing warmth and humidity from escaping the enclosure.

Speaking of warmth, your crab will also require a heater on its tank, and you should use a thermometer to keep track of the temperature.

You need to place a form of substrate, such as sand, on the bottom of the tank, and its depth should be roughly equal to three or four times your crab’s height so that it can easily dig into it.


Your pet should be provided with escapable areas where it can bathe, with both salt and freshwater options, and objects that it can climb around on. Beware: never use tap water for your hermit crab in any way, as the chlorine it contains can lead to its demise. Instead, use bottled or filtered water.

Placing a bowl of salt water in your hermit crab’s tank is necessary as your pet needs it to get rid of its old exoskeleton and create a fresh one, as well as to swap out its shell. Thus, this step is of the utmost importance.


When it comes to socializing with your hermit crab, it might be a bit tricky at first. Initially, your pet will not be used to life in captivity, but if you make a point to handle your new hermit crab regularly, it will eventually warm up to you.

When you lift your pet, be certain you pick it up from the shell, and keep your hand flat if you set it onto it; you can also allow your crab to walk around on your body.

As far as hermit crabs socializing with each other goes, these animals are actually quite happy in social settings, and so it is okay to keep more than one in a single enclosure, as long as it is large enough to keep all of them happy.

You can also put hermit crabs into tanks with other animals, but in some cases, your hermit crab might end up being eaten.

Also, remember that hermit crabs do not have the ability to breathe underwater, so do not place them into a tank that is completely filled with water or it will drown.

Final Thoughts

As you have learned from reading this article, hermit crabs are avid climbers, as well as diggers. You should most certainly provide your pet crab with objects that they can climb on in its tank.

As long as you follow the care advice outlined in this article and give your crab climbable objects, you should have a happy, healthy, and active hermit crab on your hands.

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