Hermit crabs are downright interesting to watch. They are a delight to have sharing your life. However, the ownership of pet hermit crabs make my hackles raise. The reason being is that I am a firm believer that animals should not be taken out of nature for use in the pet industry. Land hermit crabs cannot be bred in captivity. Therefore, every pet hermit crab was taken from the wild, so technically the only way to have a pet hermit crab would be a rescue.
Here are hermit crabs pictures
The little guy with the broken shell came with the broken shell. He was about fist size. We bought tons of shells for him. It took him ages to choose a new one.
The vendors sell at fairs, flea markets, board walks, where ever they can find a public spot to make a buck. They keep them in deplorable conditions. Because of the places they are sold, people often buy them on impulse, knowing little if anything about their care. The crabs are already at max stress levels, probably hot, and have not had the humidity that they need. They were probably in a container that was overcrowded, no substrate, or no water.
I have bought hermit crabs in the past; I would not do it again. I would go to one of the hermit crab rescues and adopt a hermit crab. There are plenty around since purchasing a hermit crab is usually an impulse decision. The hermit crab can live fifty years in the wild, but rarely live more than a couple of months in captivity.
Learn all you can about hermit crab care and hermit crab facts. Research all you can about hermit crab information.
A few people who know what they're doing have had a great deal of success in improving the longevity of the hermit crab with many successful molts.
The words Hermit Crab does not imply they like to live alone. They travel the beach in packs of many crabs to find food and looking for new shells to check out. They need the socialization of other hermit crabs. Hermit crabs actually make kind of a chirping sound when communicating. Since the pet hermit crab is confined to an enclosure pick out crabs about the same size for their own safety.
Hermit crab care
The minimum size would be a 10-gallon aquarium preferably 20-gallons, the bigger the aquarium the better. Wire cages cannot maintain the humidity requirement. Make sure there is plenty of room for water, food, extra shells, and things to climb on. Be careful of what you put in the enclosure. My sister-in-law went to the Caribbean and brought back some coral for her salt water tank. All the fish died.
Substrate is important; make sure it is for aquarium usage and doesn't contain color or other materials that may harm the hermit crab. The substrate should not be sharp. Rubbing on the rough rocks as he wanders around could injure the little fellow. If you must add rocks make sure it is only a couple, and that they are smooth and rounded. The sand should be pre-washed and sterilized.
There is a compressed coconut fiber called Eco Earth. Many people who have hermit crabs recommend a mixture of Eco Earth and play sand or baked sand. Put primarily sand in the habitat; ¾ sand on one side and the other quarter compressed coconut fiber. The hermit crabs need the sand but having some Eco Earth can help keep humidity levels up. It is easier to maintain the habitat with just sand as a substrate. You may find itty-bitty critters in the substrate that may injure or make your pet ill. For this reason you don't want to use sand from outside even if it was play sand from your child's sand box.
Water should not contain chlorine, or other harmful chemicals use a filter or use bottled spring water. You can purchase a dechlorinizer. Make sure the water dish is shallow; these are land crabs and can drown. Make an island in the water dish so the crab can escape the water, also place a small sea sponge (natural) in the water, hermit crabs like to lick from the sponge. They may not need to but like to.
Temperature is very critical 70 degrees to 78 degrees, under or over they will die, and it is not a pleasant death. Make sure you have a thermometer. Use an under tank heater on 1/3 of the bottom of the enclosure. This way if it should get to warm the hermie can move away from the heat and vice versa.
Humidity is important, right around 70% but not over 85%. Undesirables seem to grow above 85% much faster than at a lower level of humidity. The gills must be moist to allow them to breath. Make sure you have a humidity gauge. A clean; sterile natural sponge can be used to add humidity. Place it in a shallow dish of water. Rotate sponges to have a chance to clean them often. Clean the sponges with chlorine free, filtered, and HOT water mixed with a salt-water solution and rinse thoroughly in chlorine-free and filtered water.
Do NOT use iodized salt; iodine is poisonous to hermit crabs. Place the sponge in the microwave a short while this will sanitized the sponge. Allow the sponge to dry completely (will destroy the natural sponge if not completely dry.) A clean spray bottle filled with filtered chlorine-free water sprayed in the enclosure will help raise the level of humidity.
Above all else enjoy your pet hermit crab!
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