Caring For A Hermit Crab

Published on 28 Apr 2022
Caring For A Hermit Crab | Woonona Petfood & Produce

Hermit Crabs are a fantastic pet for adults and kids of all ages. They are sociable and inquisitive by nature and are reasonably easy to look after. Our pet experts have put together a guide on how to best care for your pet Hermit Crab!

A bit more about them

Hermit Crabs have evolved to live on land with the use of empty shells as a home and protection. They love company, and thrive in an environment with other Hermit Crabs. We highly recommend housing your Hermit Crab with another of their own kind to prevent loneliness. If you already have one little critter, be sure to introduce the new crab with care as fighting can sometimes occur. Hermit Crabs come in all shapes and sizes, and can grow from 1cm to 8cm. They are nocturnal and will sleep throughout most of the day. You should take your Hermit Crab out and enjoy time with them when you can so they are familiar with you. With the right care, these little creatures can live up to 15 years.

Housing

The Hermit Crab home should be set up to mimic their natural habitat to ensure they live happy and prosperous lives. There are several factors to take into consideration when setting up the Hermit Crab home including tank, temperature and humidity, substrate, food and water and furnishings. Before you acquire a Hermit Crab, it is important that you have an appropriate enclosure for them to live. Ideally, you should choose a glass terrarium or aquarium with a removable glass lid. To give your Hermit Crab plenty of space to live and play, the enclosure should be at least 30cm x 30cm x 30cm. As hermit crabs are social creatures and thrive living with other hermit crabs, a tank between 40 and 250L is ideal. Always make sure there is an area clear of obstructions for them to exercise.

Substrate

Once you have acquired a tank, you will need to line the base of your tank with a substrate. You should choose something that is safe and comfortable for hermit crabs such as rock sand, gravel or coco-peat. There are various types of Hermit Crab bedding available that are specifically designed to absorb odours and moisture, and keep your hermit crab cosy. The substrate should be kept moist to assist in maintaining humidity. Hermit Crabs love to burrow, so the bedding should be around 3cm deep. Hermit Crabs also love to climb, so place some rocks, driftwood or climbing toys in their enclosure to provide entertainment and stimulation. This can also give them a place to rest and hide.

Heat and Humidity

Hermit Crabs are ectothermic (cold-blooded) meaning external heat must be provided by their surroundings. This is best achieved through the use of a heat lamp or heat mat. There are various styles of heaters available such as under-tank heaters or incandescent lights. If you use an under-tank heater, be sure that the substrate is at least 3cm thick to avoid sweating. The temperature should be between 23 and 28 degrees during the day, and between 18 and 24 at night. You can use a thermometer to monitor the temperature. In addition, you must ensure the humidity in the enclosure is kept high so your hermit crab can keep moist, enabling them to breathe properly. If the air is too dry, your hermit crab may become inactive and suffocate. We recommend purchasing a humidity gauge to ensure your tank maintains a humidity level of 70-80%, as well as providing a source of heat and water. You can also mist the tank with non-chlorinated water, or use a natural sponge to keep moisture high.

Water

It is important that your Hermit Crab has access to water at all times. Your Hermit Crab needs fresh water for drinking, and sea water for bathing. You can make up the sea water by using hermit crab salt and water if needed. Hermit Crabs enjoy drinking their water through a sponge rather than an open dish of water, so you can place a sea sponge in the salt water dish. We recommend changing the water on a daily basis to ensure it is kept clean. You should use heavy, solid bowls for water as Hermit Crab’s love to climb and can easily tip bowls over.

Food

Hermit Crab’s are omnivorous and their diet consists of pellet food, fruit and vegetables. Your Hermit Crab should be fed daily, and in small amounts to ensure the food is fresh. You can feed Hermit Crab food such as Krabooz Munchiez or Zoo Med Fruit Salad, as well as fruits and vegetables as a treat. They love chopped up kale or broccoli, as well as apples and bananas.

Spare Shell

Hermit Crabs live in other creatures' discarded shells. As they grow, they leave their old shell behind and find a larger one. It is important to always have at least one spare shell available in the enclosure for them to move into if they choose. The spare shells should be slightly larger than their current shell.

We’ve put together a shopping list below, with everything you need for your Hermit Crab!

Now that you have your tank set up, you should be ready to go! Your Hermit Crab is going to love their new home. Make sure you give your new friend lots of love and attention, and get them out of their enclosure regularly to play and exercise. When handled with care, Hermit Crabs are gentle creatures that are great to spend time with. Remember to provide fresh food and water every day, spot clean your enclosure weekly, and replace the substrate monthly. Make sure you don’t use any chemicals or detergents when cleaning your enclosure, as these can be poisonous. Be sure to check your Hermit Crabs regularly, and if your crab appears to be unwell, take them to your local Veterinary Clinic as soon as possible.

Hermit Crabs are wonderful pets for families. They are quiet yet interesting, and maintaining their environment makes for an educational experience. They can help kids alleviate fears of spiders and insects and help them develop responsibility so they grow into adulthood with respect and understanding for animals. If you’re thinking about taking on one of these cute little critters and need further advice, feel free to contact us.

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