Are Hermit Crabs Hard to Take Care Of?
Are hermit crabs easy? Not as easy as hermit crab sellers would have you think. Hermit land crabs are herding, foraging, shell swapping crustaceans living beach front and saltwater shore. You’ll need to replicate the fine points of living like a hermit crab on the seashore for a healthy, happy hermit crab. This requires a short list of must haves, a short list of food requirements, and a short list of care requirements. The hard part is keeping a balance between heat, humidity, two different water sources, and their seasonal habits supplied. Hermies are very busy beings.
What do hermit crabs need?
- A glass terrarium easy to maintain for you, big and wide enough for them to live the island life of exploration.
- Stable Humidity and Heat. Temperatures between 75-85 degrees and 74% and 82% relative humidity to breathe. Yes, get humidity wrong, and your crab will suffocate. An under-tank heater can provide correct temperature and allow for warm and cool sides of the habitat. A heat lamp and bulb coupled with a heat pad let you fine tune different locations delivering temperature choices for your crabs.
- Saltwater. Saltwater is an essential item to be offered in all land crab habitats. Crabs need access for cleaning themselves, their shell, and keeping their exoskeleton healthy. (Did I mention they are islanders)?
- Freshwater is an essential item to be offered in all land crab habitats. Necessary for drinking, exoskeleton care, digestion, and that all important humidity.
- Fresh and hermit crab specific foods. Fresh foods are an essential item for land hermit crabs. Hermit specific foods make sure you’ve covered their nutritional needs. (Islanders eat a specialized diet)
- Things to climb. Yes! Crabs are climbers. And scramblers. Terraformers. Bulldozers and shovelers. Hermies are busy all day long.
- A shell collection. Your crabs will swap shells to test drive, and to keep. Shell swapping looks like a group of clothes shoppers. Trying on, showing off, and discarding things that don’t fit right, or feel right. You’ll want a shell collection that provides their growing needs to fit their new, bigger bodies. All the time. There is no season for shell swapping.
- Clean hermit crab sand or even better, Marine Aragonite sand. (Sandbox sand is a BIG no-no)
- Mosses to stabilize humidity.
- Heat from above and below. Consider the beach and how the sand is hot, the sun is hot, and under a palm tree’s shade, the sand is cool. Your goal is the island life.
- Other Hermit Crabs. Hermit Crabs should not be alone. They herd. They require friends for mental and physical health.
- Raw sponges. There’s a difference between a real sponge and a kitchen like sponge. Keeping a sponge at the center of both salt and freshwater bowls helps with humidity and with safety for the smaller crabs.
What Hermit Crabs Eat
Favorite Hermit crab fruits:
Think islander fruits!
They also like:
- Tomatoes (that’s a fruit, not a veg)
Favorite Hermit Crab Vegetables:
Think islander mosses and flotsam grasses!
- Leafy greens
- Freshwater plants
- Fresh moss growing on their rocks (Don’t worry, that just happens if you’re doing it right)
Hermit crabs are not an easy being to keep being. They have specific needs from a specific place. It’s up to the hermit crab keeper to get it right and keep it right. But once you’ve put the pieces together, and you’ve got it balanced properly like an island, hermit crabs are a whimsical creature that will surprise you with who they are and what they are driven to do. Hermit crabs aren’t easy, but they aren’t difficult. And they are worth all that effort.