Here are some frequently asked questions about Hermit Crabs.
What can I feed my crab?
Pretty much anything because they are omnivores and scavengers. Here is a small list of what they will eat.
- fish flakes
- nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, peanuts, cashews)
- peanut butter
- scrambled eggs
- organic baby food
- freeze dried shrimp
- naturally dried red seaweed algae
- chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans)
- dulse (seaweed)
- alaria (seaweed)
- dried brine shrimp
What CAN’T I feed my crab?
- Aloe vera (interferes with potassium absorption)
- Ivy (of any kind)
- Pine, cedar wood or needles
- Citrus (leaves and branches are to be avoided because they are part of the evergreen family. The fruit is fine.)
What type of shells do I give my crabs?
It is recommended that you offer you’re hermit crabs natural unpainted shells to choose from. The painted shells can chip and the paint is unhealthy for the hermit crabs.
Where can I buy shells?
You can buy your shells from a pet store or you can buy shells from a craft store. If you buy your shells in a craft store you should boil the shells before you put them in the tank for the crabs. The shells should boil rapidly in de-chlorinated water for 10 minutes to kill any bacteria that may be in the shells. Make sure the shells are completely cool before you put them in the tank.
How can I tell if my crab is getting ready to molt?
The pre-molt symptoms (PMS) are:
- Consuming large amounts salt or fresh water
- Soaking in the salt or fresh water dish
- Cloudy eyes
- Ashy looking exoskeleton
- Lethargic (inactive)
- Spilling water to dampen the sand
How do I take care of a molting crab?
Normally when hermit crabs molt they will bury themselves deep within the sand. You should never dig up your crab. You should leave the crab under the sand until it is ready to come back to the surface after it has molted. On rare occasions a crab will attempt to molt on the surface of the sand. If this happens it is recommended that you isolate the crab from the other crabs in the tank. This is because other crabs may bother or even try to eat another crab that is molting. You can cut a 2-liter bottle in half and put it over the crab. Make sure that you include water and food for the isolated crab. You can also move the crab to a second tank until it has finished molting. The crab will shed its exoskeleton and then eat it. The old exoskeleton contains nutrients that helps the new exoskeleton to harden. The crab will then return to normal activities like climbing and walking around the tank.
How long does it take for my crab to molt?
The length of time depends on the size of your crab. Small crabs will take a couple of weeks while large crabs will take up to three months.
How much sand do I need for my crab?
The amount of sand depends on the size of your crab. The sand depth can range from 2 inches for small crabs (1/2 inch or less in length) to 10 inches for very large crabs (three inches in length).
What is that sound?
Hermit crabs actually make noises. They sound like a cross between a cricket chirping, a frog croaking, and a squeaky hinge on a door. It is unclear how the crab makes this noise, some think that there are two plates of exoskeleton inside the crab that rub together. Hermit crabs make this noise when they are agitated. So if you hear your hermit crab sing it isn’t happy!