In their native tropical environment these crabs eat fruit,
vegetable, grain, seeds, meat, leaves, bark from trees and
bushes and have a special preference for decaying wood
(except pine or cedar.) When they are kept in the home it is
recommended that they be fed a good commercial food (such as
that produced by Tetra and Hikari ). On alternate days their diet
may be supplemented with coconut, uncooked oatmeal or
cornmeal, greens, fruits, whole wheat bread, natural peanut
butter, etc. Land hermit crabs eat very slowly and very little so all
uneaten food should be removed each day to avoid spoilage.
Fresh drinking water must be kept in a nonmetal container for the crabs at all times. The water
should be shallow so the crabs can climb out of the water as they will drown if submerged for more than one
hour. Many crabbers will maintain a second water dish with salt water, so that the hermits can adjust their
osmotic balance by soaking in either fresh or salt water, under no conditions should table salt be used.
Land hermit crabs should be kept in an aquarium with a 2 to 3 inch base of sand/ soil or coconut fiber mixture.
The temperature should be above 70° and preferably around 85°. If the air is too cold or too dry the crabs
become inactive so for the best display results they should have warm moist air, a hygrometer and
thermometer will assist in measuring these important variables. A wet natural sponge in the cage will help
supply needed moisture as well as a daily misting with a plant mister. They do not like a wet sloppy cage and
prefer to be in a dry place with ample moisture in the air. In the native state they endure drought and famine
for months by digging down into substrate, during these times they become dormant and use nourishment and
moisture stored in a special sack. NEVER attempt to remove a crab from its sea shell because it will allow
itself to be torn apart rather than give up its protective shell house.
Hermit crabs are not aggressive and can be handled (climbing on the outstretched palm of your hand) without
difficulty but it is well to avoid the large purple pincher claw which is used for defense and for holding onto
limbs and for balancing. The smaller claw is used to pass food and water to the mouth. The name “hermit” is
misapplied for in the wild state they live and travel in colonies of a few dozen to over a hundred. It is
recommended that in captivity they be kept in the company of other crabs for their own contentment. They
communicate by sound and it is not uncommon to hear them “talking” to each other. They seldom fight among
themselves and seem to enjoy each other’s company. They are clean and odorless and may be released in
the home for exercise and for observation of their comical antics if desired. They are good climbers and will
enjoy coral or driftwood placed in their aquarium to exercise on. Like most other creatures, they respond to
gentle care and learn to trust their keeper. It is known that some crabs have been kept in the home as pets for
as long as 15 years.
Land hermit crabs cannot reproduce in captivity. Their eggs must hatch in the sea. Like other crabs they grow
by shedding their outer exoskeleton. This is the most important step toward growth a small crab will make.
During this time they shed all their skin (which looks like an empty skeleton of a crab.) They need to be kept
extra moist and in a substrate into which they can burrow themselves during this period. It takes about 10
days for their new skin to harden and in this time they are very soft, vulnerable and inactive. However this is a
necessary stage of development for it is in this period that any missing legs, etc. are regenerated. Older crabs
molt less frequently, but require the same care during this period. As the crabs grow they will need spare
shells in their aquarium to grow into. They seem to enjoy moving into empty untreated, unpainted shells
selecting their very own home that feels the best.
Monday - Friday
9:00 am - 7:00 pm
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
11:00 am - 5:00 pm
|“The difference is
Black and White”
720 S Neil
Champaign, IL 61820
Sailfin Pet Shop, Inc.
720 S Neil
Champaign, IL 61820