Hermit Crabs

Land hermit crabs are crustaceans known as Coenobita clypeautus. Hermit crabs are one of the most popular and easiest to care for pets available today. Hermit crabs are very clean, and once they get to know you they are also friendly. Hermit crabs tend to sleep during the day and play at night. The warmer their environment the more active they will be. If they are cold they will tend to retreat to their shell most of the time. Hermit crabs will live alone quite happily but they do like company so it is a good idea to get two crabs. Since larger crabs have a tendency to bully smaller ones, try to get them about the same size.

HOUSING

The best & easiest way to create a home for your hermit crab is to use an aquarium. Gravel, pebbles or sand are the best materials to use for the bottom of their home. The base of their home needs to be kept dry. As land hermit crabs love to climb, make sure you have a lid on the aquarium to avoid any escapees. Driftwood, clean coral or mangrove roots make a great addition to their home, as well as providing them with a playground.

TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY CONTROL

The temperature in your hermit crab’s home should be no lower than 21ºC with 30ºC being the optimum temperature for a happy hermit crab. If the temperature is going to fall below 21ºC then you may have to purchase a heater.Humidity is of equal importance. In order to breathe, your hermit crab’s lungs must be kept moist to exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen. If the atmosphere becomes too dry, your hermit crab will suffocate. Always keep plenty of fresh water in their bowl – this will ensure that there is an adequate level of humidity for proper breathing. A moist sea sponge can also be used to maintain humidity in the aquarium – they may like to eat the sponge as well.

SALT BATH

Almost as important as its need for a constant water supply is a hermit crab’s requirement for a salt bath once a fortnight. This is to prevent its blood from chemically changing – obviously a hangover from its ancient past as without the salt bath, it won’t survive long.For a salt bath, you require just one tablespoon of sea salt in one cup of water. DO NOT USE HOUSEHOLD SALT – it is toxic to your hermit crab. Stir the sea salt until it is dissolved and pour it into a shallow bowl, allowing your crab to swim around in it as much as it likes. Leave the bath in its tank for a whole day once every week.

FOOD

Hermit crabs have a keen sense of smell and love a variation in their diet. A large range of foods can be used to feed your hermit crabs – any fresh fruit, vegetables, cereals, fish pellets/flakes can be used. They love apples and Weet Bix. Hermit crabs are most active at night (they are nocturnal) and this is the best time to feed them. Make sure any uneaten food is removed from their home daily to avoid spoilage.Water is of utmost importance for the hermit crab. If your hermit crabs dry out they will die. Water bowls should be changed daily and de-chlorinated water used if possible. The water bowls should be big enough that the hermit crabs can submerge themselves if needed, but also needs to be shallow so that they can get back out or they will drown.

 

The information in this care sheet is intended as a helpful general guide only.
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