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Why Do Hermit Crabs Chirp? (5 Common Reasons)

Why Do Hermit Crabs Chirp? (5 Common Reasons)

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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 starting to become more common as household pets. You might have bought a hermit crab recently because you think they’re neat.

It’s certainly going to be a good time to get to know your hermit crab. You likely won’t be handling the hermit crab much, but you will have fun observing it.

While watching your hermit crab, you might have noticed it making chirping noises. Why would a hermit crab make noises like this?

Keep reading to learn about why hermit crabs chirp. It should help you to better understand hermit crab behavior.

It Isn’t Always Clear Why Hermit Crabs Chirp

Scientists actually debate the topic of hermit crab chirping. You see, it isn’t always entirely clear why hermit crabs chirp.

There’s really only anecdotal evidence to support why hermit crabs might chirp. There are several potential reasons why hermit crabs might make noises like this.

Below, you’re going to read about several of the reasons why people say hermit crabs start chirping. If you recognize some of these situations, then you might be able to support one of the reasons with anecdotal evidence of your own.

Read through all of the potential reasons so that you can gain a better understanding. It’s very possible that hermit crabs will chirp in response to all of these situations.

1 – General Discomfort

A Hermit Crab Emerging from Its Shell

There have been reports of hermit crabs making these noises when they’re uncomfortable. If there is something that is making the crab feel discomfort, then it might chirp in response.

Many things can make a hermit crab feel uncomfortable. This could be a response to another crab walking on top of its shell.

It could also be a response to something in the environment that bothers the crab. For instance, you could be playing loud music that is bothering the crab, and it’ll chirp in an attempt to get you to quiet down.

People have many different anecdotal stories like this. It’s very plausible that crabs could use chirping as a method to express discomfort or annoyance.

Have you ever noticed your crab chirping at you when you remove it from its enclosure? It’s thought that this could be the crab telling you that it’s annoyed by what you’re doing.

You have to remove the crab from the enclosure to clean it every so often. That doesn’t mean that the crab won’t see this situation as a bother, though.

Picking a hermit crab up when they don’t wish to be handled could be met with a chirping response as well. It’s a way for the crab to showcase that it’s uncomfortable with what you’re doing.

You can take this information into account so that the hermit crab will feel better. It’s not good to do things that aren’t necessary when your goal is to keep the hermit crab happy and healthy.

2 – Fear

Many people have heard hermit crabs making chirping sounds when they appear to be frightened. A loud chirp might be a clear indication that a hermit crab is scared of something.

There are all sorts of things that could scare a crab. When you have other pets, it’s very possible that they could be the cause of the fear.

Cats are known to bother hermit crabs and they might wind up stalking the enclosure. This will keep the hermit crab in a state of fear since cats are very clearly predators that they wouldn’t be able to handle.

Natural problems could cause a crab to feel fear, too. For instance, the humidity levels in the tank might not be appropriate, and this could make it tough for the hermit crab to breathe.

Chirping in response to being afraid of this situation seems natural. You should try to provide your crab with an environment where it can feel safe.

3 – Communication

Two Hermit Crabs Next to Each Other

There are times when hermit crabs start making these noises simply as a way to communicate. This can happen in several different ways.

Crab owners have spotted hermit crabs seemingly communicating with each other through chirps. This means that your crabs could just be talking to one another if they’re making these sounds without any other clear reason.

Sometimes a hermit crab might chirp as a way to call out for help, too. For example, a crab might get stuck on its back, or it might be getting attacked by another crab that wants to take its shell.

You could try to help the hermit crab get to a better position if it seems to be calling for help. Just don’t try to remove the crab from its shell since it will resist.

4 – Deterrence

Some people have seen hermit crabs make chirping noises when they’re trying to deter other hermit crabs. Hermit crabs will sometimes come into conflict with each other over various things.

It’s common for male hermit crabs to fight over mates. These creatures will also fight each other over shells that are coveted.

When a hermit crab wants a shell that is currently occupied by another crab, it’ll come up and start knocking on the shell. Essentially, this is how hermit crabs challenge each other to fights.

In response, the hermit crab that’s inside the shell will begin vibrating. This will create a chirping noise that is meant to show the other crab how strong an opponent it is about to face in battle.

In some cases, the chirping might scare off the invading hermit crab. Other times, the hermit crab might step out of the shell and actually battle the invading crab.

5 – Aggression

Hermit Crab Aggression

After reading the above information, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that chirping could indicate aggression. Sometimes chirping will be an aggressive response to a situation.

Generally, this will occur when two crabs are squabbling over shells. Thankfully, most hermit crabs will be able to learn to get along and cooperate with other crabs.

If you wish to get two hermit crabs that will get along, then it’s wise to get ones that come from the same species. This will give you the best chance of successfully pairing the two as friends.

Keep in mind that each hermit crab is going to be unique. Some hermit crabs might just have rather antagonistic personalities.

Final Thoughts

Chirping is something that all hermit crabs do. Why this chirping occurs isn’t completely understood, but most think that it’s a way for these creatures to communicate various feelings.

Sometimes chirping is used as a way to communicate with other crabs. They might talk to each other by chirping back and forth.

Hermit crabs might even call for assistance by chirping sometimes. Many crab owners have said that this has happened.

When crabs are afraid of certain things, they might choose to chirp. This is how they express their fear of things such as predatory cats and other scary household situations.

These crabs will also use chirping as a way to intimidate other crabs. They might try to chirp loudly to show how powerful they are to see if they can get a would-be foe to back down.

Chirping can be heard when hermit crabs are becoming aggressive toward each other, too. This usually occurs when two crabs are fighting over shells.

There are so many potential reasons why a hermit crab might make noises like this. Now you know that chirping is something that can communicate a wide array of different things.

It might be prudent to try to use context to understand what your hermit crab is trying to say with its chirps. This should make it easier for you to have a basic idea of what’s going on with the crab.

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Saturday 11th of June 2022

A few months ago I put a red flower I pulled from a bush inside the tank. My crab went over to it then withdrew into his shell and started chirping loudly.. I took it out immediately and he stopped chirping, stood up and started acting normal. It was interesting because it happened so fast. Never heard him chirp before or after that.

David Miller

Friday 13th of May 2022

I saw 2 of them together when I picked up one the other tried to attack me. Most of the time they run back in their shell. What about mating? I believe the male is trying to mate with the female. He hasn’t shut up since yesterday afternoon.