Hermit Crab Care Buying Guide
Did you come home from the beach with a new friend? Whether he was a stowaway in your suitcase or you intended to have a hermit crab as a pet, knowing the basics of caring for these little creatures is essential. Just like any other pet, they require a little research. Read up on these basic care supplies and tips, from maintaining proper nutrition to making an adequate "crabitat."
- Hermit crabs are just the opposite. These creatures are very social, so try getting one or two extra crabs for company.
- The tanks should be able to hold humidity while still letting in fresh air. A fish aquarium works a lot better than those plastic tubs they sell at the surf shops. Those things don't hold enough humidity and are way too small for happy hermit habitation.
- Consider buying a hygrometer and thermometer . These will help you to monitor and maintain an optimal temperature and relative humidity of around 22º-29º Celsius, and 75-85% relative humidity.
- Leave some roaming room. Your crabitat should have an empty space at the front or back where your hermit crab can freely wander around to get some exercise.
- Super substrate . The substrate on the bottom of your crabitat should be at least 2-3 times the height of your largest crab, and should be a material that the crabs can easily dig into. Playsand or beach sand are inexpensive choices, while coconut fibre is a quality, upscale option.
- Keep the substrate clean. Change it every 6 months, or sooner if you see mould or insects.
- Keep the sand wet. Use de-chlorinated water to make the sand a castle-making consistency.
- Crab toys are all the rage. Give your hermit crabs some rocks ,fake plants and half-shells so that they can climb and hide.
Hermit Food and Drink
Hermit crabs need to have access to both fresh and salt water at all times--they use it for bathing and drinking. Make sure your water is placed in dishes that are deep enough for the crabs to submerge themselves, but shallow enough that they can easily climb out when they so desire. In dealing specifically with freshwater, make sure that it is de-chlorinated and free from other harmful chemicals. Bottled and filtered water are acceptable.
And as for the food , hermit crabs love variety. Try not to feed them the same thing two days in a row, and always remember to keep things fresh by changing their food each day and night. Here are some options for the menu that will keep your hermit happy and healthy:
- All things seafood. Fresh shrimp, freeze-dried krill and bloodworms to name a few.
- Coconut shavings are a treat.
- They'll join you for dinner. If you cook up some steak or chicken, set aside a little piece of non-marinated stuff for your hermits. They'll eat it grilled or raw.
- Fresh fruit like pineapple, apple, pears and grapes are super-healthy snacks. Just make sure they don't contain traces of pesticides by shopping at a natural grocer.
- Don't forget to play with them! You can take your hermit crabs out for short periods of time so they can climb and explore under your supervision. Remember though, they need a high-level of humidity that probably isn't present in your house, so don't have them out of their crabitat for too long.
- If hermit crabs fear they will fall or come in contact with tap water, they are more likely to pinch. Hold your hand firm and tight so you don't have skin ripe for pinching, and stay low to the ground while playing.