Despite their name, hermit crabs make great companions. They are pretty easy to take care of and don’t require much. Best of all, they are not picky eaters, which means you won’t have to give up an arm and a leg to feed them.
Although they aren’t picky eaters, hermit crabs definitely have their favorite foods. If you’re curious to know what they are and what you can and can’t feed your hermit crabs, keep reading!
What Do Hermit Crabs Eat?
In the wild, hermit crabs are scavengers and will eat microscopic mussels, clams, bits of dead animals, and macroalgae. They are also omnivores, which means they eat both plants and animal matter.
Hermit crabs are pretty independent creatures but when held in captivity, they must be fed by their owners.
A hermit crab’s diet may be a little bit different under your care than it would be in the wild. You can choose to feed them anything from pellets, rice cakes, eggs, and fruit. In terms of fruit, hermit crabs can eat apples, mangos, papayas, coconuts, grapes, bananas, melons, strawberries, and pineapples.
Oranges on the other hand, are not recommended for hermit crabs to eat due to the high acidity that they contain.
You can also feed your hermit crab vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, spinach, and lettuce – so long as it isn’t iceberg lettuce as this holds little to no nutritional value for hermit crabs.
Hermit crabs are big fans of variety so if you want to switch things up a bit, you can always feed them peanut butter, raisins, seaweed, nuts, and even pieces of bark from trees.
What Do Hermit Crabs Need to Eat to Survive?
Just like us humans, hermit crabs need their daily dose of vitamins and supplements to stay healthy. Calcium for example, is needed for hermit crabs to grow a healthy exoskeleton.
To make sure that your hermit crab is getting all of its necessary nutrients, be sure to feed it things such as crushed eggshells, calcium supplements, cuttlebone, and more.
This should go without saying, but water is also very important to have in your hermit crab’s tank. Hermit crabs need both saltwater and freshwater to live happily, so be sure you are supplying both of these.
Can Hermit Crabs Live Together?
Even though their name leads people to believe they are antisocial creatures, hermit crabs are actually incredibly friendly and like to interact with one another. If you are going to keep several hermit crabs together, however, be sure to have at least five gallons of space for every two hermit crabs in the tank.
What Should Their Environment Look Like?
For a hermit crab to be happy in its home, it will need a few things. As mentioned earlier, they need access to both freshwater and saltwater. Although hermit crabs can drink saltwater, it’s better to have a fresh water option for them as well.
Make sure that the fresh water in their tank contains no chlorine in it as this is harmful for hermit crabs. Hermit crabs are also fans of bathing in saltwater, so be sure to put a big enough bowl in their cage so that they can sit in it.
Be sure that the terrarium that is housing your hermit crab also has a hood to not only stop your hermit crab from being able to escape, but also to help keep the humidity in. Hermit crabs thrive in humidity and keeping the levels at 70% to 80% is ideal for them.
Make sure that you place the tank in a place where it won’t get direct sunlight, and consider using an LED to light the tank for about half the day.
Temperature wise, your terrarium should be kept anywhere between 75°F to 85°F. At night, you can turn the temperature down. Be sure to have a thermometer installed near the tank so that you are aware of the temperature.
The bottom of the terrarium should be filled with at least two inches of sand, soil, or coconut fiber. Hermit crabs love to dig so you want to be sure you are giving them enough material to do so. Your hermit crab’s tank should also contain several different hiding spots for it to use.
Hermit crabs change shells often, so you will want to also include several empty seashells for them to switch out.
Keep Your Hermit Crabs Healthy
Although they aren’t high-maintenance creatures, hermit crabs still need some sort of basic care to survive, particularly while they are molting. When handling your hermit crab, be very careful you don’t drop it from high altitudes because it is fragile.
If you find that you can no longer take proper care of your hermit crab, consider giving it up for adoption as opposed to letting it free in the wild. It has already become accustomed to living its life in a terrarium, so a hermit crab won’t be able to survive on its own in the wild.
When your hermit crab isn’t doing well, there are several signs and symptoms you can look out for. One of the most obvious signs that something is wrong is if your hermit crab’s shell has a strong odor to it. This could be a sign that your pet has a bacterial or fungal infection.
Another sign that something is wrong could be if your hermit crab is being more feisty than usual and is actively trying to bite or scratch you. If it is distressed in any way, it will lash out this way. Hermit crabs that aren’t actively eating or have had a decrease in appetite are also showing signs of illness.
Lastly, if you’ve noticed that your hermit crab has been molting more often than usual or losing limbs all together, be sure to take it to the vet right away.
Cleaning Your Hermit Crab’s Tank
It’s important that you clean your crab’s terrarium often so that your hermit crab doesn’t catch any bacteria or mold that can grow as a result. When cleaning, be sure you are using nontoxic soap and you don’t use chlorine or any other harmful chemicals.
Hermit Crab Facts
Now that you know how to properly care for your hermit crabs, it’s time to learn more about them! Believe it or not, hermit crabs can live anywhere between 10 to 15 years, so if you’re looking for a pet with a short life span, this isn’t the one for you.
Although hermit crabs can be social, it’s important to keep them with their own kind, otherwise they will fight other types of crabs.
In terms of their body, hermit crabs have a set of claws and a pair of legs. Their eyes are also on their stalks so that they can easily see their surroundings. Their bodies are also covered in short sensory hairs that can be used to help them smell and taste.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.