Hermit Crabs II
More info about hermit crabs
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Hermit crabs rarely smile.
Origins: Most of these little guys (and big guys) come from islands in the Caribbean or from our southern states – areas of high humidity. They do not like dry air. Rainy weather charges their motating batteries.
Security: One great big heavy claw with a powerful pincer guards the door of the hermit crab’s hard shell temporary home. He uses the other legs for scuttling about, climbing, and looking for food.
Name: Hermit crabs are not really hermits. They like to hang together in groups. The more the merrier.
In the Wild: Hermit
crabs roam around and eat whatever they find – fruit, vegetation, wood,
bark, seeds, grasses, and whatever else might wash up on the beach.
Foods in Captivity: Smaller foods work better. Some of the little guys can’t grab large pellets. Several commercial foods work fine – even iguana or bird pellets. Crush the pellets first. And studies have shown that the little guys prefer to eat different types of foods every day. Vary their menu. Supposedly, they eat at night. Hungry hermit crabs eat very well during the day. The more you have, the better they eat. They must smell the food, because they come running.
Water: Your hermit crab needs non-chlorinated water to drink. Age it two days or add NovAqua to remove the chlorine. Clean his water bowl. Make sure his water bowl is shallow enough to climb out of. Ditto on the food bowl. If in doubt, give him a ladder. OSHA recommends fiberglass ladders. We recommend a rough piece of wood.
Weekly Bath. Fill up their wash tub every Saturday night and give them a nice warm bath. Be sure to scrub their backs and dry them behind their ears. They really love warm baths.
Likes to Climb: Many
hermit crabs live in trees. In
their cage they need coral or rough wood to climb upon.
Cholla (pronounced choy-a, it’s like Español, dude) wood works great.
Size: Since hermit crabs live almost forever, they can grow quite large. Baseball-size crabs are not uncommon. We’ve seen some as big as softballs. They make great garbage recyclers in Florida.
Space Requirements: Most crab farms recommend a gallon of space for each pair of hermit crabs. If you give them lots of climbing areas, you can add many, many more.
Cage: Glass aquariums work best. Their tight covers help retain the high humidity hermit crabs need. Plastic critter keepers have too much ventilation thru their lids.
Bad Substrates: Don’t use any substance that reduces humidity or causes hermit crabs to dry out. No wood chips, walnut shells, or corn cobs. No dirt either. Too messy.
Good Substrates: Sand and gravel make a satisfactory flooring for their cage. Better -- Repti-sand, Calci-sand, and dolomite all contain the lime your hermit crabs need.
Substrate Depth: Give your hermit crabs two to three inches of sand. They enjoy digging in it. They absolutely need the diggable sand when molting time rolls around. Some bigger crabs may take several weeks to recover from their molt. When they shed, they eat their old exoskeleton for the nutrients it contains.
Temperature: If you keep your hermit crabs in a cool room, you’ll need a tank heater. Do not put one under a plastic cage or cages with a wood floor. Use them under glass aquariums.
Breeding: When hermit crabs breed, the female releases her eggs into the ocean where they become part of the nutritious foods floating therein. Not too many places you can do this in Iowa.
Tank Mates: Mix hermit crabs with other hermit crabs. All sizes get along well together.
Fights: Occasionally hermit crabs will fight over shells. Do not panic when this happens. The only ones that need your help are the guys in the process of molting their exoskeleton.
Plants: Since hermit crabs eat all kinds of vegetation, stick with sturdy plastic plants. Unreachable hanging vines work quite well.
Last Word: If you hear strange clicking sounds coming from your aquarium at night, relax. Most of your hermit crabs prefer to clock in about . LA.
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