FAQ about Hermit Crabs

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.

  • popcorn
  • cheerios
  • shrimp
  • sardines
  • turkey
  • chicken
  • salmon
  • fish flakes
  • spirulina
  • oatmeal
  • granola
  • nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, peanuts, cashews)
  • peanut butter
  • wood
  • leaves
  • scrambled eggs
  • organic baby food
  • freeze dried shrimp
  • naturally dried red seaweed algae
  • chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans)
  • dulse (seaweed)
  • alaria (seaweed)
  • hamburger
  • coconut
  • strawberry
  • banana
  • dried brine shrimp

What CAN’T I feed my crab?

  • Aloe vera (interferes with potassium absorption)
  • Dill
  • Garlic
  • Geranium
  • Ivy (of any kind)
  • Onion
  • Peppermint
  • Pine, cedar wood or needles
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • 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:

  • Digging
  • 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!

I need help. I just got my

I need help. I just got my first hermit crab and he has dug himself into the bark chips and hasn’t come out for two days now. Is this normal? Should I dig him up (actually I have no idea where in the crabitat he is now) or leave him to do whatever it is he’s doing. Please help me so that I don’t kill Pepe!

I would leave Pepe under the

I would leave Pepe under the bark chips for now. Crabs will sometimes deal with stress (like moving into a new home) by burying themselves under the sand. Remember that Hermit Crabs are night-time creatures and Pepe may be coming out in the middle of the night when you are asleep. You might try putting a few bits of food out and then watch the next morning to see if Pepe has been out eating in the middle of the night.It may take a while before you see Pepe out and about in the middle of the day. Make sure you keep him stocked with food and water and watch for him in the evenings and early mornings. Once Pepe is more comfortable with his new home you will probably see him more often.

I have a 10 Gallon tank that

I have a 10 Gallon tank that I’ve had Aloe Vera plants in. I recently added Hermit crabs because I was told it was safe. Is it not? i would like to have living plants in with them. The tank at first was just suppose to be for plants, but i liked the idea of hermit crabs. So far all they’ve done is dig. should i remove all the plants? What ones are safe then?
Help! advice from too many people!

Megan, While Hermit Crabs do


While Hermit Crabs do enjoy having different things in their habitat, aloe vera plants may not be the best choice. Hermit Crabs will eat anything that is in their tank including the plants. Aloe Vera plants are toxic to the hermit crabs if they eat them which their invariably will. The aloe vera prevents the hermit crab from absorbing potassium. Here is a link to a site that discusses edible and inedible foods for hermit crabs (www.epicureanhermit.com). Pick a couple of plants that are safe for them to eat, just be prepared to have them shredded since hermit crabs do that to whatever they find in their tank!

I wouldn’t be concerned with the digging behavior because hermit crabs will dig and climb around for fun. Another possibility is that the hermit crab might be getting ready to molt. This is a healthy and normal proccess. Your hermit crab may dissappear for days and then reappear. Also they are most active at night so they may be surfacing when all is dark and quiet.

Good luck with your hermit crabs!

i have a glass tank and my

i have a glass tank and my crab dug to the bodem of it am he has been in his shell and i saw it though the glass so i dug him up and his claw is blue and his skin is pink so i put him back in the sand will he live ?

Well I think your crab

Well I think your crab either dug down to molt or to de-stress. So putting him back was a good idea. Keep an eye on your hermit crab he may stay down there for a couple of weeks but I wouldn’t dig him up, I would wait until the crab chooses to surface. How much sand do you have in your tank? How big is your hermit crab? The amount of the sand in your tank depends on the size of your little hermie friend. The larger the crab the more sand they need.

I wouldn’t worry about the color differences, the color of hermit crabs depends on the type that you have. The two most common types sold in pet stores are Caribbean Land Hermit Crabs and Ecuadorian Hermit Crabs. Caribbean Hermit Crabs generally have a bluish colored large claw (cheliped) and a red body. These colors can become more brilliant after or during a molt. They need to be buried while they are molting which is why I suggest to leave your crab under the sand until the crab returns to the surface on its own.

What and how do i know if my

What and how do i know if my hermit crab is having babbies and if it did how would i know because i think mine did because i saw 5 little things that feel and look like a little tiny crabe like rilly small please get back as soon as posible and also if they did do i just leave them a lone until they hatch or what ever thay do.

Hermit Crabs cannot

Hermit Crabs cannot reproduce in captivity. They need an ocean nearby in order to complete their life cycle.

I would suspect that those tiny crab-like creatures that you can see are mites. Crabs can get mites sometimes. These are pesky little critters and here is a link to a page that gives tips on how to get rid of them… http://www.hermit-crabs.com/FAQ.html

The best thing you can do is to clean and sterilize the tank. The link above explains how to do that. Good Luck!

Can my hermit crabs have

Can my hermit crabs have bamboo in the habitat?

I have or used to have two

I have or used to have two crabs – one is still alive and climbing, but the other has been missing for about 3 and a half months. They are quite small so I don’t think it takes so long for them to molt. A crab I had before disappeared like this and we found him in the substrate dead. What is the cause of these deaths? Is there a chance that the crab I’m talking about now is still alive?

You may be suprised, but, we

You may be suprised, but, we had a hermit crab disappear, and I found him ALIVE a year later when I busted into a wall when we were remodeling. It was found in the cement block where it was moist enough I guess. I am still mystified that it survived!!!

I curently have 3 herit

I curently have 3 herit crabs i had 5 but two of them dug themselves on a hole and i thought it was normal but boy was i wrong.I still don’t know what happened but now i pick it up put it in their food dish then they should start moving if they don’t pick it up and put them in their water dish/sponge and wait and see what happens in 24 hours.And you could also go to your local pet store (i went to petco) and ask them what else to do.

i was checking out the same

i was checking out the same thing on a website and they said lucky bamboo is toxic to them but it depends on the bamboo type

I just brought home 3 hermit

I just brought home 3 hermit crabs from the sea. Two of them seem ok but one of them keeps coming out of its shell and it just sits there on the sand and looks very weak. I bought them each a new shell to change into when they are ready, but he wont even walk to the new shell. This morning I picked it up to check it and it moved very little. I want to know what is wrong with it? Is it just stressed because of the new habitat? or is it dying? Could it be that he’s going to molt? But, hes not eating and there’s no food bubble stored under his belly… Please help!!! I’m confused and I don’t want them to die!!!

Hello, I bought 3 hermit


I bought 3 hermit crabs for my young children, but it has been more than I thought. I have been reading the various websites and am learning more and more about how to care for them. The problem is…..I no longer feel like we can take care of them and am trying to find the best way to handle. Does anyone know the best way to do this? Hopefully this does not offend anyone. Please help, I want give them to someone who can properly care for them. Thank you.

I think the problem with

I think the problem with your hermit crab is simple. He’s freaked out. Hermit crabs don’t deal well with stress. I would imagine that since he came from the beach he is just super stressed about the change in his environment. The best thing that you can do for him is provide him everything he needs and leave him alone. You can even set up a small isolation tank with just him in it until he is feeling better. Sometimes a hermit crab just need peace and quiet.

You could try some of the

You could try some of the various hermit crab websites sometimes you can find a good home in your area for them. You could even try the pet store. If you are lucky you might find an employee that could take them or they might know someone who could.

I would take them from you!

I would take them from you! But I doubt we live near by!

hey one of my hermit crabs

one of my hermit crabs has come out of its shell, i noticed that it had cum out of its shell in the evening and thought it was just going into a new shell, but it was still out the shell the next morning, now it is behind its water bowl and still not in a shell, i am not sure if its ill or if there is sumthing wrong with it. if u can help me i would appreciate it.

I’ve had my two hermit crabs

I’ve had my two hermit crabs for a year now. It seems that the two of them like their home alot, for there has been no claw dropping or anything. However, they are rather large, (about four inches across) and they keep tipping over the drinking water dish. They won’t molt at all, and one only changed shells once. The other hasn’t changed shells. I’ve tried giving them different types of food, but they won’t eat hardly anything. They eat maybe once every two weeks! Why is this? Am I doing something wrong? I followed all the care sheets! Recently, I gave them dried shrimp, which they didn’t eat, and I removed the dish afterwords. The new dish, however, attracted mites. I found them today and plan to clean out the tank tomorrow. Will these mites effect my home? My home, not the crabitat? I have an allergy to some dust mites so I’m really anxious to know.

I just got 2 hermit crabs i

I just got 2 hermit crabs i got their habitat all set up i put sand on one side and that mossy stuff on he other. I have a climb in water dish so they can bathe and sponge in another and a seperate food dish. I mist the tank everyday. They even have a tree. I think though one of them is singing wondering why they arent happy am i doing something wrong? also should i be adding salt water to both dishes? They are small and i cant find the right shells any suggestions? Help please thanks!

I would like to take them

I would like to take them for you. I know its been some time ….Do you still have them and where are you located?

don’t worry, you should

don’t worry, you should probably just leave him there, hermit crabs know what there doing. this is normal for them to do, and he might possibly be molting. if it is a small crab he might stay below the surface for up to a month or so, if it’s a big one it could be even longer. Don’t panic and be prepared to give him the best supply of food and water for when he emerges, because if he is molting, he’ll need his calcium. Another reason for digging themselves below the surface could be because of the temperature. Make sure they’re not too hot or too cold. to do this keep a thermometer nearby and make sure the temperature stays around 20 degrees celcius, give or take about 5 degrees.
i’m sure Pepe will be fine as long as you provide him with the best surroundings.
hope this helped!

Do my Hermit crabs need

Do my Hermit crabs need vitamins from the light

i once had the same thing

i once had the same thing happen if its been 3 months hes destressing not molting or R.I.P so when ever this happens to me i just clean the tank and secondarly look for the little guy most of the time there still alive

My hermit crab had a baby.

My hermit crab had a baby. I have read in may places that they do not reproduce in captivity, but it happened. Both of our hermit crabs died and my son lifted up the shell after his died and inside was a small pink claw. It is very small, but very much alive. It may be unusual, but it happened.

we just recently bought a

we just recently bought a hermit crab its a large crabb & since we brought it home it hasnt movedd we took it a bath to get the dirt off we fed it crab cakes & gave it some peanut butter we left it alone & when we checked on it again it was still in the same spot im worried its deppressed what can i do to make my hermit crab more comfortable in its new crabitat??


YES IT IS NORMAL. they do this from time to time. If you dig him up he could possibly die.

LEAVE HIM if you have just


if you have just recently got him and he has had a change to his substrate he will be molting and do u only have 1 crab they are very social animals and u need at least 2 or 3 since you are unaware of what is happening to your crab i doubt u have researched how to take care of him if you got him from a pet store then whatever they have told you will probably be crap if im honest, please do more research

I got my crab about june 20

I got my crab about june 20 somthing and i did all my research on how to take care of it. but im worried that it is not molting. it has burried its self in the sand and i wached it for a day or two and it hasent moved. i know i probably sholdnt but i picked it up and under neath was little brown clumps. What are they? And when i picked it up i also saw that its legs just fell to one side and to the other. my crab sems lifeless and im extremly worried. what do i do?

Your hermit crab is probably

Your hermit crab is probably molting. Whatever you do DO NOT DIG HIM UP!!!! It is normal for hermit crabs to molt and it means that your hermit crab is healthy. Make sure you have 3 extra shells in the tank one a little smaller than the one he is in now, one about the same size, and one slightly bigger. Also make sure to provide food and water as needed. Your crab should be done molting as soon as 1 week to as long as 3 weeks. Good luck!!!!!

I think your hemit crab is

I think your hemit crab is trying to molt put sand in pepe’s tank and see if he buries himself.

My sister’s hermit crab just

My sister’s hermit crab just died after about 2 1/2 years. No other hermit crabs in the tank…she went to clean out the shell that he had climbed out of and a baby was inside. Any clue how this happened?

if you want to get rid of

if you want to get rid of them, send just one to this address:
14559 truro parish Cour, VA zip code:20120

hey listen, i think i need a

hey listen, i think i need a LOT of help with this. i have two hermit crabs, Jenny and Hermy. Hermy is very small, and is NEVER afraid to come out of his shell. JENNY on the other hand, it is rare to see her come out. two nights ago, she came out of her shell and went into a new one, and i went upstaors for 5 minutes, came back down and she had gone back to her old one. i dont use sand, i use specially designed gravel. this may sound mean, but i REALLY want to see them change shells, i would even be glad if they changed shells when i WASN’T looking, so how would i do it?

how small exactly are they

how small exactly are they because if there way smaller than your pinky finger they just hatched and if you see one again you should pick it up and examine it, but make sure your wearing rubber gloves just incased its deseased! and maybe it is a good idea to leave them alone after you examine it becauseit could be scared and if you keep bothering it, it could die if it gets to stressed.

if your hermit crab is still

if your hermit crab is still out of its shell and has been out for more than 48 hours it will eventully die and no i didn’t read it of the computer ive experiensed it last night! i have 2 cages a big one and a little one and i now have three hermit crabs so one of my hermit crabs just molted, it was kinda kreepy though cause the exo skeleton was just hanging out and then i see my hermit crab pop out and then im thinkin ok shes fine but i was wrong. so i took both of my babies into the small contaner cause i didn’t want the big hermies to eat the little one that molted so i put the other hermit crab in with cause he wont eat the other one so i went back down stairs to do my home work and then i came back up stairs and i didn’t see him in his shell but he was laying on the sand without his shell! so i called my mom and i was crying like crazy i was so scared and then my mom was looking at him and she said ‘its time’ and i was screaming to god ‘dont take her now shes to young to die!’ but it was time and i guess my other crab missed her to cause he went into her old shell.

well one of my hermit crabs

well one of my hermit crabs has just died but i still have three of them and one of the three changes shells like crazy and he dosn’t care whos looking so my friend and i were watching him go near a shell so we watched him and eventually he changed shells and it was so cool but now hes justed braging so if you really want to see your crab change shells watch it go near a shell but dont move cause he’ll hide if you move so eventuelly he’ll change and dont be surprised if there is a really big thing on his but! but this is really funny! ok, i brought my hermit crab to school and my vice principil has hermit crabs at school to so i put my hermit crab in her tank and she had a few shells for her hermit crabs so my crab stole a shell from her cage and i had no choise but to bring him home with that shell!

i was looking in my tank and

i was looking in my tank and my crabs have finally come out after molting for months but i am missing one lol where would be teh best places to look for him? please help

I got my hermit crab about 1

I got my hermit crab about 1 month ago, i luv it so much and try and take care of it the best i can, i had 3 at first but the other 2 died in the molting process, they came out of their shells and stayed for 2 days. the first day they were all active and happy the second day they were both dead. I did everything possible i could to take care of them, and my last one has signs of molting, so plz help me , tell me what to do, before Klutzy is not so muchzy alive!!!!!!!!!!!

Hi today i just pick up my

Hi today i just pick up my hermit and i saw that 2 of his legs fell off . what can i do will he be alright ?? He never comes out of his shell he very small for his shell but he wont change into a diffent one ..what wrong
please help 🙁

You should pull off the rest

You should pull off the rest of its legs and then it will grow new ones. It will keeps it living.. So pull them all off! and do it soon or it could die!

you don’t need to worry your

you don’t need to worry your hermit crab is going to be ok.all hermit crabs shed their legs. eventually they will grow new ones back and it will be back to normal. also hermit crabs are suppost to have big shells that way there is plenty of room to grow into it. its like getting a new pair of shoes. they dont fit right away but you’ll grow into them soon!

well i think that the mother

well i think that the mother or something in the cage died and split into peices because my hermit crab mother died and the mother was broken into peices when we found it dead and a baby in the shell that she was living in.

hi my hermit crabs claw just

hi my hermit crabs claw just fell off what should i do plese help

Do not worry. Your hermit

Do not worry. Your hermit crab will live fine. If you have more than one crab I would either separate them or take a little more care of the claw-less one. After molting a few times, it will be back, good as new. One of my hermit crabs was missing two legs when I bought him, and he recently molted. His legs are not entirely back but they are there. If you start to see gel-like goop where the claw used to be, this is a GOOD thing. That will be solid after it molts, so it slowly grows back.

My dear….ur hermit crab

My dear….ur hermit crab DID NOT have a baby -____-. It just simply moulted. What you thought was the dead crab was actually it’s exo skeleton and not the crab itself. Dreshly moulted crabs look a bit pinkish. I hope you did not throw the exo skeleton away because the new crab needs to eat the exoskeleton to get enough calcium and nutrients. Hermit crab babies (if they ever have any)only hatch when they come into contact with seawater. They are born in the sea and will climb out and onto the beach when they are older. SO…no…….ur crab did NOT have a baby .

49 replies
  1. Marianne Moss
    Marianne Moss says:

    Hi, I need help. My hermit crab shredded and I didnt know what to do because I saw lots of mites too and he got out of the shell. I found him out of the shell done shredding but full of tiny white insects crawling around the shell and him. I wash him and all the shell but I threw the old exoskeleton. I changed evrything in his cage too and isolate him from the other once. Right now he’s still naked and not moving but I know he’s alive. He looks very weak and still not in the shell. Will my crab survive or he’s dying? How can I help him?

  2. Carl
    Carl says:

    Hi Marianne,

    It sounds like you did all the right things. Keep in mind that all you did can also be pretty traumatic to the the crab as well. I would suggest you add several shells to the cage and cover the cage to provide a quiet and dark environment for your crab. Also make sure your crab has a supply of clean water and food.

    Best of luck,

  3. Name
    Name says:

    I have three crabs (one is in a diffrent tank because it would attack the other two) one unluckily died (poor little crabby :(, he was so awesome) and my family refuses to take the poor dead crab out of the cage, will the alive one get infected with the dead body of the hermit crab?

  4. Jeri
    Jeri says:

    QUESTION…this might be obvious but I just got home with my hermit crabs and my son let a bunch of sand get in their food. Is that ok?

  5. Carl
    Carl says:

    Hi Jeri,

    Don’t worry about the sand, the crabs will find the food. Remember, they are natural scavengers so are accustomed to finding scraps of food in all sorts of messy spots.
    Of course I’m assuming that the food is not completely buried under the sand! 🙂
    Enjoy watching your crabs!


  6. Carl
    Carl says:

    Hey, somehow I missed this comment for quite sometime. Sorry about that!
    Well, Hermit Crabs are scavengers and will most likely eat the dead crab long before anything harmful happens to the dead crab.


  7. Carl
    Carl says:

    Hi Brittany,

    You can try the following steps to see if they help, It seems streaking is caused by dehydration, a salt imbalance, and/or sickness.

    Hermit crabs will naturally hang out of their shell to dry off some of their shell water to make it more concentrated (saltier). Maybe streaking is an extreme form of this behavior that happens when the hermit crab has lost too much body salt and is unable to keep its shell water salty. (This could be caused by too many fresh water baths, or not enough access to a salt source.) Hermit crabs are not that well adapted for life on land so use their shell water to help regulate their bodies chemistry.
    The idea of this treatment is to recreate the shell water and re-hydrate the crab at the same time, hopefully allowing the crab to bring it’s chemistry back to normal levels.

    Initially, water gain is the priority. A crab without a shell will dry out very quickly, and has probably lost a lot of water already before you discovered it.

    Step 1

    Rinse a cup several times to get off any residual dish washing detergent. Place the naked crab in the cup with a little fresh water treated with dechlorinator at 75-80 degrees. Not enough water to cover the crab, but enough that it submerges most of the length of its legs, but not the thorax. Offer a shell that is the right size to slightly smaller than usual. Cover the cup with plastic wrap and poke only a few holes for air flow. This will increase the humidity and make it easier for the crab to breath and become re-hydrated. Then place a hand towel over the cup to create a dark environment that will decrease the stress on the crab. Allow the crab to find the shell, or place the crab’s tail in the shell to encourage its reentry (if the crab does not do it on its own). The crab may take from 30 minutes to an hour to get back in a shell. Let the crab rest in the shell for 30 minutes to an hour before filling the shell with sea salt water. If the crab has still resisted the shell after 2 hours, then replace the fresh water with sea salt water in the cup.

    Step 2

    Sea salt water can be made from 1tsp-1/2 tbs sea salt per cup water. Mix it well and make sure it is about the same temperature as the crab (75-80). Either dunk the crab w/shell into the sea salt water or pour the water into the shell. Do not let this step last too long as it is important to limit handling, which stresses the crab.However, if the crab is not yet in a shell, please replace the fresh water in the cup with sea salt water. Cover the cup with the plastic wrap and towel. Check it periodically to see if the crab has entered a shell, or if it will go in one with your help. Once it’s in a shell, start at the top of step 2. If the crab has not moved into a shell, it is up to you if you would like to do. You can modify step 3 if you like, or try something different.

    Step 3

    Empty out the cup but for the smallest amount of fresh water it takes to cover the bottom. Replace the salted crab into the cup without spilling too much shell water. Replace plastic wrap and hand towel. Leave the crab undisturbed for 12 hrs (or overnight). If the crab is active (or at least responsive to movements), its chances of survival are good. If it is hardly moving at all, you can continue to let it sit in the cup or try something else you can think of. Either way, it is good to keep the crab in the cup for another half day to let it rest. It has been shown that crabs take longer than 24 hours to fully recover from dehydration. (Don’t worry about feeding the crab)

    Step 4

    Depending on which environment is better, place the crab back in the main tank or in an isolation tank. Continue to monitor the crabs progress and be sure to put the crab in the fresh water and salt water dishes daily. After about 1 week, or after the crab has regained its full activity level, you may return to your normal general care routine.

  8. Jsheagirl
    Jsheagirl says:

    I’m so glad I found this site.. Ok so I kinda recently got a new hermit crab and after like three days, she molted just fine and came back up. So I put another of my already molted crabs in with her (since my other two were molting and still are) cuz I didn’t want either of them to get lonely. But then the new one just burried herself and sat under the sand for two weeks. Then three days later she went under again and is still sitting under there (since May 19). I know she’s not molting cuz she just finished one. What’s happening?

  9. Tina
    Tina says:

    I’m just setting up my terrarium and driftwood seems really pricy. Can I use some dried sticks from the woods? I want to give them something to climb on, but was afraid of transfering something like a fungus. Any suggestions?

  10. Donna
    Donna says:

    I need help! My crab came out of her shell and when I isolated her she went back in, but HEAD FIRST?’!!! I don’t know what to do or if she’s sick.

  11. Ben Linares
    Ben Linares says:

    Okay, so I just got a land hermit crab, but it’s not the first one I’ve had. I’m taking a lot better care of this one now. But I need help. I’m in kind of a peril right now; I can’t tell whether Bowser is molting. He doesn’t have cloudy eyes, he’s not consuming a lot of water, he’s been soaking in the salt water dish, but he doesn’t do it, I put him in there to bathe, and he seems fine to me. BUT he keeps digging, and he digs deep, and in the same spot. He doesn’t seem to be de-stressing either, because he’s been up and moving, and he enjoys playing with me, and I just don’t know what to do! Please help!

  12. Worried
    Worried says:

    I have 3 hermit crabs. The big one lived alone until I bought a bigger crabitat and then bought two “friends.” I also changed substrate. Once everyone was acclimated — they all decided to disappear at once. My tank is a bit cold with a heater on only one side. The tank (10 gallon) stays about 65 unless you are near the heater. The substrate is sand. It was moss before I changed it. I think they liked the sand and decided to molt, but they have been down for about a month and a half at least. They are all smallish – less than golf ball size. Today, I tried to dig down and find one to see if it was alive but I could not find any of them. They are really buried and I am nervous about disturbing them if they are still alive. There is no fish smell that I can detect. What should I do?

  13. Alex woods
    Alex woods says:

    I NEED HELP!!!!!!
    I have 3 crabs. My 3rd crab I got today and it has a painted shell. It’s a tiny baby crab. What should I do? How do I keep it from dieing from the paint? Would I have to check its cage every morning and every night? PLEASE HELP!

  14. Paisly
    Paisly says:

    My Hermit Crabs have been staying in one place for a couple months now. I have been trying to figure out rather they are dead or not, they do not have a smell but I think the tank is too cold for them. How can I be sure they are just in a sleepy state rather then dead?

  15. Jordan
    Jordan says:

    Help! I just looked over at my hermit crab, and come to find out he molted right in his water dish! I took him out, out of fear that he would drown, and covered him up with his cocohut. What more should I do? Will Skippy be okay even though he was in the water? He couldn’t have been in there for too long, I check on him at least twice daily. Please, I need help asap!

  16. Amy
    Amy says:

    We have had our beloved hermit crab for almost 8yrs. We have grown quite fond of him, but I am worried about him. When he started this current molt, he did it in the water dish and abandoned his shell. I decided to move him to an isolation tank so I could watch him more closely. The exoskeleton was left in the dish, so I know he did molt. Since I couldn’t get him to get back in his old shell, I carefully placed him in a largrr shell, sprayed him and the sand in the small tank with water and put him near a water dish and sponge. The next few days, he would react and pull in when I checked on him, but I haven’t seen him come out to feed or anything. I have been watering him faithfully everyday, but today he doesn’t seem to move or react, except I did hear what sounded like a screaming noise twice when I turned over his shell and watered it. Could he still be alive? Have you heard of this happening? How long should give him? Is there anything else I can do? Thanks.

  17. kelly
    kelly says:

    I got my daughter 2 hermit crabs in early July on the boardwalk, Unfortunatly 1 died after 2 months, Shelly has never molted or changed her shell and I was worried. I recently got Shelly 2 friends and a new habitat with plenty more shell choices. One day ago she decided to go into a shell that i put in for decoration it was small and I never expected them to use, Anyway she seemed ok but later that day my second one whose shell was defintly bigger went into her shell and it made me really nervous because it seems too small and then my third one went into his shell this morning but changed right back into it’s original shell within a minute after.This all has stressed me out because i have got attached to them..Since all of this, My first crab Shelly buried herself and I haven’t seen her. Is it normal for her to be maybe molting right after she changed her shell or should I worry about her and Is it normal for them to change shells right after each other?

  18. tommie
    tommie says:

    I just got my granddaughter a hermit crab and I have been to several sites all have different opinions about saltwater, but where do I buy saltwater. this may be a stupid question but I am not sure!!! Do I buy it or just make it up with table salt? New at this please help!!

  19. Carl
    Carl says:

    Hi Tommie, don’t use table salt it contains synthetic (man-made) iodine which is toxic to hermit crabs.

    Natural iodine found in sea water and seaweed are essential to the overall health of your crabs and is necessary for successful molts.

    I would suggest you use something like instant ocean (http://www.instantocean.com/) which is used for salt water aquariums.

  20. tommie
    tommie says:

    Thanks Carl, we are very new at this and I have grown to live these little guys lol. I just want to make sure I am doing what needs to be done for them. We have made a nice crabatat and they seem to love being able to climb around!! Do we need to have saltwater and plain water bowls for them or just saltwater?? I do again thank you for your help!!!!!


  21. Ryster
    Ryster says:

    I awoke to my hermit crab dead this morning. He had unshelled himself, crawled into the salt water and passed away. What may have caused this? He didn’t seem sick (didn’t smell or anything either), he wasn’t acting unusual in any way, and there are many many shells in his cage to choose from. He shares his habitat with two other crabs, and I am worried for their health. I don’t want them to pass away either if it was a sickness of some kind that I just didn’t catch. Any suggestions on what to do? Now that one has died in the habitat should the whole thing be re-boiled? It was a bummer, and I would like to prevent it from happening again.

  22. shelly
    shelly says:

    Why would a seemingly healthy hermit crab die? Had 8 total. Glass tank with light and sand, healthy diet, she just changed shells last week. My kids are devastated and worried about the other crabs.

  23. LiaMay
    LiaMay says:

    Hello All,

    I just got a couple of hermit crabs from a mall kiosk (Yes, I know, shame on me D: ). One of them is slightly larger (Mudkip) and the other is small but very active (Precious). When I got them, I did not notice until I got home that Mudkip was already missing a leg. He seemed find and would still move around and everything without issue so I tried not to worry about it. Last night, though, he lost another leg. I had just cleaned out their ‘tank’ (I am waiting for a ten gallon from my aunt, so they are still in the carrying tank)., and am wondering if the stress is what is causing him issues or if there is a bigger problem. I switched out the gravel for sand in the hopes that it would help (Precious decided that everything had to immediately be climbed on and he even pushed over their sponge). Mudkip hasn’t moved and I am nervous about what to do with him.

    Any advice would be appreciated,


  24. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    I have a problem… I have had hermit crabs for years, but this is the first time this has happened. Audrey, I’ve had for almost 2 years, and she surface molted this morning, & I have other crabs in the habitat. The sand is only about an inch or two deep, so I dug as far down as I could, isolated her with her exoskeleton using a curved bridge that is in their habitat, and put shells in it as well (sort of like a playpen setup). I don’t know what else I should do…

  25. Michelle
    Michelle says:

    I am a new crab owner….I just bought 3, 3 days ago….I’m having trouble getting the humidity level to stay where it’s suppose to be. I have a glass tank with a screen lid and a heating light on top of the lid. I also have seran wrap covering a forth of the top and when I mist the inside the tank it goes up…but drys up like 30 mins later and it’s goes back to 65…..I have sand in the bottom. Do u know what I need to do to keep it just right and stay there? The temp is staying at 62 is that ok?the only way I can bring the temp up is I guess get a more wattage bulb? Also, can my crabbies go days with out food and water? Cause they seem to be staying inside there Cocanut house all the time. Please help!

  26. Michelle
    Michelle says:

    Also I forgot do they like the light all the time? I thought it was just for heat but I could be wrong.
    Thanks again, Michelle m

  27. michelle
    michelle says:

    Hi my daughter has a hermit crab well we both have a hermit crab & I just recently came back from ft Meyers beach florida & I brought some of its beautiful soft white sand home & we was wanting to know if we could use it in our crabs tank??

  28. Danielle
    Danielle says:

    I have had 2 hermit crabs for 6-9 months now and neither of them have molted yet. about 11/2 -2 weeks ago one of them disappeared. I am assuming he has buried himself somewhere but I am not sure where. the other one has stayed in the hermie hut and hasn’t come out at all. I have changed the food and water several times but neither have been touched. why all of a sudden have one of my crabs just disappeared and neither are eating or drinking? there is plenty of shells, temp and humidity are right. I just want my crabs to be ok. any idea whats going on or what I should do please let me know!

  29. Danielle
    Danielle says:

    hi, my name is danielle and I actually posted a question yesterday about my 2 land hermit crabs but now my comment is gone? am really concerned about my hermit crabs and was really hoping for some advice. what happened?

  30. Jonnie
    Jonnie says:

    I have 2 happy hermit crabs with various food options. One is a dark brown substance (poop) they actually like it and sometimes fall asleep in the dish. Why do they fall asleep in the poop/food??. Someone from a pet store told me the dish is warmer than the rest of the tank and that is where they are comfortable?

  31. Natalie
    Natalie says:

    Hello! I have had my nine hermit crabs for nearly eight months now, and recently three of them died. Out of the remaining six, five of them are still active and healthy, moving around and happy. My sixth one, Gerri has decided to retreat into her shell and has been sitting in the middle of the cage for about four hours now. She’s been acting strangely like this since the other three died. Should I be concerned? And what can I do to get her up and moving again?


  32. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    We had 2 hermit crabs for over a year. Well, one of them just died. I know crabs are social and I worry about the 1 that is left behind. The one remaining is about 2 inches. It’s a good sized crab. If I bring another crab into the habitat that is smaller, will it be safe? I can’t find any larger crabs. Just small ones and I’m worried that my large crab might hurt the smaller ones.

  33. KAY
    KAY says:

    Hi I have 2 hermet crabs I have a hut for them and they just go in there and dig up all of the dirt. The pet store lady told us that they will not need a new shell for a month. They just sit there all day doing nothing not walking around or anything. They are alive I know that. I have food and water in there for them. IM confused CAN SOMEONE PLEASE CONTACT ME ASAP!! ASAP PLEASE!

  34. KAY
    KAY says:

    Hi I have 2 hermet crabs I have a hut for them and they just go in there and dig up all of the dirt. The pet store lady told us that they will not need a new shell for a month. They just sit there all day doing nothing not walking around or anything. They are alive I know that. I have food and water in there for them. IM confused CAN SOMEONE PLEASE CONTACT ME ASAP!! ASAP PLEASE! PLEASE LET ME KNOW!

  35. dani
    dani says:

    I have 2 hermit crab and enjoy them sooo much! about 2months ago they started burying themselves and I wouldn’t see them for weeks at a time 🙁 I know their coming out for food and water no because they leave a trail of destruction behind them lol. well I woke up this morning and I could see one of them underneath the water bowl and it was moving. a few hour later I saw it was still under the bowl but I also saw a bunch of little pieces of what looked to be like peanut shells all around the water bowl. I have never given them any nuts before so I lifted up the water bowl and my crab was just laying there completely naked! I also saw what looked to be his skin laying next to it! those peanut shell looking things I am assuming are part of it skin? I want to know if I have harmed it in anyway by lifting up the water bowl and exposing it like that? pretty sure it moved when I lifted the bowl but I was so fast because as soon as I saw it laying there naked I put the bowl back immediately! will it be alright? also, I have NOT seen my 2nd crab in like forever. should I go looking for it?

  36. sharon
    sharon says:

    hi my hermit crab molted on top of the surface and now is lying next to the skelton of him he is hanging out of his shell and lying on his side his color has changed since yesterday is there anything i can do for him or is he dead

  37. Angelica
    Angelica says:

    Okay. I’ve had hermit crabs for a while and here’s something important.
    Hermit crabs can ONLY eat organic things otherwise they will get poisoned. They CANNOT eat citrus fruit because the acid will harm them. PLUS, most citrus I just little sacks of water (like oranges or lemons) so they can’t eat it anyways. They also should NEVER be given iceberg lettuce (head lettuce) because they will get addicted and eat ONLY that, and because it gives off hardly any calories, the crab will die from malnutrition. Also, crabs should always have a substrate that is very fine. Never wood chips because it can scratch at the tails and cause an infection. Use very fine sand or coconut fibers. Something that holds shape well is also moss, but it gets moldy very fast. And when crabs drop their shells to molt, usually something is wrong with the shell itself. One of mine dropped it because he had mites and they were eating his tail (my friend was caring for them because my apartment kicked them out). Another one got an infection because his shell cut his tail. I suggest the person who did this post do more research on these little hermies before making a post with wrong information or not enough. Before I got mine, I spent 2 WHOLE WEEKS OF NON STOP RESEARCH. I made use of my insomnia very well. Not only that, but this person is leaving questions unanswered. Even if they are very important. If anyone has questions, I suggest either getting a hermit crab book, meeting with an exotic pet vet, asking some hermit crab keepers or ZooMed staff (if you can) or shoot me an e-mail and I’ll try to help as much as possible. My e-mail is angelica.simon14@gmail.com

  38. alayna
    alayna says:

    Can you help me? My hermit crab just molted and I threw away his old skin I then later read he is supposed to eat it….will he die?

  39. Angie
    Angie says:

    Our hermit crab Shellsea just molted. She was doing fine (walking around, eating her exoskeleton…) and then we went on our 10 day vacation. We had someone come and care for her. When we returned home my daughter picked Shellsea up and she almost fell out of her shell. She never went into a larger shell that we have all around.

    Is it possible that a hermit crab can go through the molting process only a week after molting the first time? She molted in her shell and never went under the sand. There is no foul smell.

    Any tips? I would greatly appreciate it. We’ve had Shellsea for a year and this was her first molt. Just seems odd that everything seemed fine and now it appears something is wrong.


  40. Maddie
    Maddie says:

    I just a hermit crab and I have been reading about how to care for it. People say to get more then one hermit so they have a friend. Will my hermit crab die if I don’t get it a friend???

  41. Rachel
    Rachel says:

    So I’ve never own hermit crabs before. I got my first two about two months ago. Everything was going great, but now my big one (named Frank) is “depositing” this clear small rock looking things. I’m not sure if he is laying them or just making them; I’m not even sure what they are.

    Any feedback about what those clear rocks could be would be great! Thanks!

  42. Josh
    Josh says:

    I have 2 hermit crabs one is slightly bigger than the other. Well the smaller one went to molt I guess but I don’t know where. I’m worried the bigger one will dig him up. What is a good way to find him without disturbing his molt so I can put an bottle over him for protection?

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