Skip to Content

What to Do with Unwanted Hermit Crabs (Your Best Options)

What to Do with Unwanted Hermit Crabs (Your Best Options)

Share this post:

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 fascinating aquatic creatures. There are over eight hundred hermit crab species, with most of them needing a marine environment. They carry their homes with them and elaborately redesign shells when their shell becomes too small.

Many people acquire hermit crabs without knowing much about them. They find the crab unsuitable as a pet and do not know what to do with it.

Unwanted hermit crabs can be sold or given to new owners. Some pet shops may take them, but this is uncommon. Hermit crabs should not be released at beaches as they seldom survive due to unfavorable conditions. It is better to contact a hermit crab rescue society to assist you.

Hermit crabs do not breed well in captivity. This means that most hermit crabs you can purchase are caught in the wild. They may be transported thousands of miles from their native beaches.

Can I Put My Hermit Crab Up for Adoption?

If you have a hermit crab you no longer want to keep, you can consider putting it up for adoption or sale. You can do this by advertising on:

  1. Craigslist
  2. Online crab forums
  3. Neighborhood information or newsgroups
  4. Trading apps
  5. At a pet store or aquarium shop. Ensure you obtain permission first.

You should not sell or give the hermit crab to children who do not have their parents’ permission. This happens too often at schools, and the animal being passed around suffers and usually dies as a result.

Will a Pet Shop Take My Unwanted Hermit Crab?

Aquarium Section of Pet Store

Some pet shops have a returns policy and will take the crab back if you bought it at their store recently. If you have had the crab for a few months, it is less likely that they will take the crab from you.

Some pet stores may take the hermit crab if they wish to sell it on again. This is unfortunate and often detrimental for the crab as the environment constantly changes.

Generally, pet shops seldom buy hermit crabs from individuals as it is a risk to the health of their fish tanks.

Can I Release My Unwanted Hermit Crab at the Beach?

Most hermit crabs in captivity are not native to the United States. Crabs caught in the wild are transported to other countries or regions to be sold.

Hermit crabs have specific habitat requirements such as temperature and humidity. Hermit crabs cannot cope with sudden changes in temperature, such as going from a heat-controlled aquarium to the fluctuating temperatures at the beach.

Hermit crabs need to live in a place where there are many good-quality vacant shells available. They search for new shells when they outgrow their current homes and can be surprisingly fussy about finding a suitable shell.

Pollution at the beach may be detrimental to the crab, causing it to die quickly. There is the chance that your hermit crab may introduce diseases into the wild population, which can wipe it out completely.

It is not a good idea to release your hermit crab at the beach. Even if you see hermit crabs at the beach, there is a good chance they are from another species. Most captured crabs die when their owners set them free at the coast. In addition, it is illegal to do this, and if you are caught, you will face a considerable fine.

Are There Hermit Crab Rescues to Take an Unwanted Crab?

Hermit crab rescue associations will take your unwanted crab from you. They assist by taking in unwanted hermit crabs and adopting them out to new homes. If no immediate home is available, the hermit crab is placed in a suitable foster home.

These are some of the associations that can help you:

  1. Land hermit Crab Owners Society
  2. Hermit Harbor
  3. Animal Rescue League Of Iowa
  4. Hermit Crab Association

If these associations are not near you, they will redirect you to someone in your region that can assist with your unwanted hermit crab. The Society for The Prevention Of Cruelty to Animals has branches globally. They will also help you with an unwanted crab.

Appallingly, there are internet sites that advise killing your hermit crab. Researchers have found that hermit crabs feel pain and experience distress when pulled from their shells.

It is entirely unacceptable to kill a hermit crab because it is unwanted. Many other avenues are available to help find a new home for the crab.

Why Are There So Many Unwanted Hermit Crabs?

Holding a Hermit Crab at the Beach

Unfortunately, hermit crabs have become victims of a society that does not value life. Hermit crabs are often marketed as good beginner pets or disposable pets. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Hermit crabs have specific habitat and environmental requirements, making them complex animals to care for. They are certainly not easy to look after and cannot be classed as beginner pets. Many hermit crabs die within weeks of being purchased due to inadequate care.

No animal should ever be regarded as a throwaway or disposable pet. This is irresponsible, cruel, and completely inhumane.

Hermit crabs are sometimes used as publicity gimmicks. People paint their shells in colors that match their company logo. They may force the hermit crabs into unsuitable shell alternatives that promote their agenda.

These hermit crabs are given away on promotional days to the unsuspecting public who suddenly find themselves faced with caring for a hermit crab. They do not have the knowledge, the tank, or the finances to care for the crab.

If the shells have been painted, the hermit crabs start showing signs of toxicity, become sick and fail to thrive or die. This is a terrible practice and should be reported to the ASPCA or other animal rescue facilities.

Hermit crabs may have been bought for an aquarium. They sometimes attack snails in an aquarium to rob them of their shells if other suitable shells are unavailable. This makes them unpopular, and the aquarium owner looks for a way to get rid of the hermit crab.

Final Thoughts

Unwanted hermit crabs can be rehomed through classified adverts, rescue societies, or pet shops. They should not be purchased without a lot of forethought and planning.

Hermit crabs need well-planned environments with controlled temperature and humidity. It is better not to buy a hermit crab as it has probably been caught in the wild.

Share this post: