Hermit Crabs II   

More info about hermit crabs 

 
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Hermit Crab Factoids

Maximum Size

Baseball size

Longevity

15 to 50 years

Housing

Two per gallon

Humidity

50% a bare minimum.  70% much better.

Security

Lives in its own mobile home

Substrate

2 to 3 inches sand or gravel or dolomite

Temperature

Prefers 70 to 80 degrees

Attitude

Likes to climb.  More active at night.

Foods

Beach-combing scavengers

Water

Needs clean water and daily misting

Molting

Usually once a year in the summer

Google
 
LA
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.

LA
Just try getting past that pincer.  If a large hermit crab grabs you, you won't forget it.

LA
Give a hermit crab a quick dip in the water and he comes out to check the weather.

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.

LA
Dip a bunch of hermit crabs and they all start scuttling about.

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.

LA
This is Tetra's hermit crab meal.  They like it -- a lot.

LA
In five minutes they came piling into their food bowl.  Hermit crabs love this stuff.

LA
And you can choose from a variety of hermit crab foods.

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.

LA
Plastic shell dishes look good.  Real shells usually cost less.  Or use a jar lid.

LA
Any shallow bowl will work -- even an ugly old Miracle Whip lid.

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. 

 

LA
When you give them a bath, the large hermit crabs climb atop each other and bail.

LA
Little hermit crabs just run around willy-nilly.

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.

LA
Rough resin ornaments also provide climbable surfaces for hermit crabs.

LA
And you can find lots of these rough ornaments for hermit crabs to climb upon.

LA
Build it and they will come.

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.  

  LA
Hermit crabs get bigger and bigger.

 
LA
So, you may need an extra hermit crab shell or three.

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.

LA
Hermit crabs love climbing on cholla wood.

LA
Hermit crabs love cholla wood.

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.

LA
You can find very economical hermit crab habitats.

LA
And you can find hermit crab swamps with islands and mini-mangrove trees.

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.

LA
Hermit crabs like substrates with calcium in them.

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.

LA
Yes, you can find heaters for hermit crabs.  Or you can heat them with an overhead bulb.

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.

LA
You can also find hermit crab size spritzers.

LA
And hermit crab décor packs.

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.

LA
Use very sturdy plants or your hermit crabs will crush them.

Plants:  Since hermit crabs eat all kinds of vegetation, stick with sturdy plastic plants.  Unreachable hanging vines work quite well.

LA
Who loves ya, baby?  Cute, eh?

LA
Gabe gets along well with his little buddy, Mr. Crab, whom he usually calls "Crabby."

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 8:00 pm.  LA.

Hermit Crabs
Hermit Crabs III

© 2004, © 2005  LA Productions

3600 Sixth Avenue

Corner of Sixth & Euclid Avenues

Des Moines, IA 50313

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