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Here’s Why Your New Hermit Crab Buried Itself

Here’s Why Your New Hermit Crab Buried Itself

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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.

Before you decide to bring your new hermit crab pet home, it is crucial to have its new environment suitable and well-prepared. Have you placed your new hermit crab in its tank and noticed it has completely buried itself”

Your new hermit crab will bury itself for several reasons. It could be because of molting or anxiety because of the move. They can also bury themselves because they find digging fun, or they might be foraging for food. Hermit crabs are also nocturnal, so they might be digging to escape the daylight.

Burrowing is a natural and well-known behavior of hermit crabs. They often like to dig and completely hide in the sand. Continue reading with us as we discuss all the reasons why your new hermit crab might have buried itself!

Reasons Why Your New Hermit Crab Buried Itself

Nesting Hole of a Hermit Crab

There are five most common reasons why your new hermit crab would bury itself. Let’s take a look at each of these reasons more closely:

1 – Your Hermit Crab Is Molting

Molting is the most common reason why hermit crabs will completely bury themselves in the sand. Molting is known as the process where hermit crabs get ready to shed their exoskeletons.

They will then submerge themselves into the sand, where they feel safest, as they will become extremely vulnerable to predators during this period. You may notice that they are lying upside down in the sand.

Even if there are no predators present in the tank you have created for them, it is their natural instincts, so don’t be worried! What will happen is your hermit crab will hide in the sand and ultimately stop moving as their new exoskeleton continues to grow.

Molting is a normal part of the hermit crab’s life cycle, but sometimes when they stress due to a new environment, they will start to mold as a coping mechanism for their stress.

For future references, molting is an action that will occur at specific times, even if your hermit crab isn’t undergoing stress. After your hermit crab has completed the molting process, it should resurface from the sand and will have a much stronger exoskeleton than before!

How to Know Your Hermit Crab Is Going to Molt

If you want to know exactly what to look out for, that will let you know that your hermit crab is about to start molting. There are quite a few things you will be able to notice. When your hermit crab is ready to start molting, it will begin to dig constantly.

You will also notice your hermit crab eating and drinking more than usual, as they will need to store all the fat they possibly can to stay hydrated enough to survive the process successfully.

Sometimes, hermit crabs will bathe themselves more often than they have before when they are getting ready to molt.

Eventually, you will notice your hermit crab moving a lot less, and this is when you can be positive that the molting process will start!

The exoskeleton of your hermit crab will change significantly, and it will most likely turn into a grey color. If you see your hermit crab’s eyes are starting to get cloudy, you will know your pet is ready for the molting process to begin!

2 – Your Hermit Crab Is Experiencing Anxiety

Hermit Crab Hunkered Down in Its Shell in a Terrarium

it would be good to keep in mind that your new hermit crab will also bury itself due to the stress of being in a new and unfamiliar environment. When a hermit crab experiences anxiety, it’s going to have the urge to bury itself as a coping mechanism.

It isn’t unusual if your new hermit crab buries itself for a long tie. They will feel much safer when they’re buried, and it gives them time to be alone and get used to their new home!

They may simply feel a little overstimulated and want to protect themselves until they feel safe and comfortable again.

3 – Hermit Crabs Find Digging to Be a Fun Activity

As strange as it may sound, hermit crabs think digging is fun! They like to play around by burrowing and digging holes in the sand of their habitats.

In the wild, hermit crabs will often live in beach areas where they will be digging a lot. They find it both fun and see it as a practical way to get around.

Needless to say, hermit crabs who are bred in captivity can be quite different, but it is natural for them to dig often, and it won’t always be when they are afraid, getting ready to molt, or undergoing stress.

4 – Your Hermit Crab Might Be Foraging

Hermit Crab Digging in the Dirt in Its Terrarium

Hermit crabs tend to burrow into the sand in their natural habitats when they’re looking for food. Not all hermit crabs will get used to being fed right away, and it is in their instincts to forage for food.

If your hermit crab still seems to be looking for food after it has been fed regularly, then you might want to determine if it is receiving all the nutrients it needs from its diet.

5 – Hermit Crabs Are Nocturnal Creatures

You should know by now that your dear hermit crab is nocturnal. They have evolved over the years to be active during the nighttime, which means they will often hide during the day to take a nap or get away from the daylight.

Sometimes hermit crabs will still stick to still even when they are being held as pets. They prefer to come out when things are less noisy, which is usually at night.

It may take some time for your hermit crab to get comfortable enough to come out during the day, but some hermit crabs will adjust quicker than others.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know why your new hermit crab has buried itself, you can rest assured that it’s not a life-threatening situation! There are many different reasons, and as long as you keep a close eye on your hermit crab, you will learn many things along the way!

Being well informed about your hermit crab and its behaviors will help you take the best care you possibly can of your little guy. Just do your best, and you will have a lot of fun with your new pet!

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Monday 6th of June 2022

Hermit crabs cannot breed in captivity. (There was 1 American woman who managed to replicate the environment and breed her crab but it's very difficult and expensive, not even scientists with big check books have managed it). Female crabs return to the ocean to lay her eggs and baby crabs live in the ocean until they find a teeny shell and emerge on land. EVERY hermit crab in the pet trade was kidnapped from its native habitat, had its natural foraged shell cracked off its body (many are killed from this), then they are tossed in a pen to find a pretty painted or polished shell (many are actually toxic to them) where they slowly suffocate. Hermit crabs have modified gills and require a very humid environment with shallow pools of both salt water and dechlorinated fresh water. They need 10 gallons of space per crab for their health and safety. The need a wide variety of foods, many of the foods we eat daily is safe and healthy for them. Bananas, apples, greens, rice, honey, meat . . . They love finding new foods:)