Land Hermit Crab Care Tips
In nature, Land Hermit Crabs live inland away from the water and beach. The main diet consists of fruits and vegetation. They enjoy eating and chewing on tree bark and decaying wood (with the exception of pine and cedar).
Despite the name “Hermit”, they are actually gregarious and communal animals – in the wild they live in colonies of a few dozen to well over a hundred individuals. They communicate by sound. Aggression is rare, except for the occasional dispute over a shell.
Like other crabs, Land Hermit Crabs shed their exoskeleton as they grow, and will take larger shells for their new homes as needed.
To best care for Land Hermit Crabs you should:
Give your crabs the proper environment.
An aquarium is an ideal container for Land Hermit Crabs. Add a 2 to 3 inch layer of gravel or sand (corn cob or cedar shavings are not recommended). The ideal temperature is between 70 and 75 degrees. If your room temperature is below this, you can use a heater that is designed to go under the aquarium (such as those recommended for reptiles). Full spectrum light or heat lamps are not recommended as they may dehydrate the crabs.
Land Hermit Crabs love to climb, so provide them with non-resinous wood or clean coral to climb on. A bowl of clean, fresh water will be needed (see “Bathe your crabs” below).
Give them a good, balanced diet and clean water.
Commercially prepared Land Hermit Crabs foods can provide a main part of the diet. Treats and supplemental foods should be given often – romaine lettuce, coconut meat, apple pieces, white bread and even popcorn will be taken gladly. Oyster shell, egg shells or a cuttlebone are recommended as a calcium source.
It is recommended to completely remove and replace any uneaten food daily. The water should also be changed every day.
Provide new shells for them to grow into.
These should obviously be larger than their current shells, and properly cleaned. Give them a choice of several shells.
Bathe your crabs.
If provided with fresh water, Land Hermit Crabs will clean themselves. Be sure to provide clean, treated water for your crabs to bathe in – water that is suitable for keeping aquarium fish is fine for crabs (or you can use bottled water). A non-metallic dish for the crabs to crawl into is recommended, but be sure that they can easily get back out - Land Hermit Crabs are not aquatic creatures and can drown.
Give them and addition bath once or twice a week (more often if the air is dry), totally submerge the crabs in room temperature water for one minute and then allow them to air dry.
Land Hermit Crabs are not aggressive and can safely be handled. It is best, however, to avoid the larger purple claw, as they may try to use it to help balance themselves and accidentally grab a bit of skin! If you get pinched, run the claw under hot tap water and it should let go.
Land Hermit Crabs do not carry or transmit any know human diseases and are hypo-allerginic, so they make excellent pets for those people with allergies.
Land Hermit Crabs have been know to live for over 20 years in captivity, so with a little care, they can be a long and welcome addition to any home!