Scientific name: Coenobita clypeatus
The Caribbean Hermit Crab is a terrestrial species of hermit crab which is widely sold in pet stores.
Most Hermit Crabs are aquatic, but there are around 15 species which are terrestrial, and these are the Hermit Crabs which are popular pets. Hermit Crabs are social creatures, and, unlike most crustaceans, have soft abdomens, which they protect by finding abandoned shells that they squeeze into. As they age and grow, Hermit Crabs need to scavenge larger shells.
Appearance / health:
Hermit Crabs have long slender bodies that they keep safe by salvaging leftover sea shells or gastropod shells that they then inhabit. They have eight jointed legs, protruding eyes to see above the shell, and a pair of large, usually powerful pinchers. Coloration varies between species captured in different areas. Some may be a dark red, while others may be brown, light orange, or even a purplish color. Shells are always different, none are exactly the same.
Behavior / temperament:
Hermit Crabs are highly social and should never be housed alone. They do best in groups of 3 or more. They are handle-able but of course, they are crabs, and crabs can pinch. Hermit Crabs often make great starter pets for kids, but will make a neat addition to any keepers collection. They love to play, climb, and are always active. Some have been noted to climb all over each other, resembling a pyramid, and will sleep that way!
A 10 gallon tank makes a good starter home for 2-3 small to medium sized Hermit Crabs. If housing more together, a 20 gallon tank may be used. Other containers such as plastic shoe boxes, Rubbermaid containers, and other small enclosures may be used with baby crabs, but not as a permanent home. A secure top is a must as Hermit Crabs can and will climb.
Temperature and humidity are huge factors when keeping Hermit Crabs. Temperatures should not drop below 72F and are best kept around 75-80F. Humidity is even more important than the temperature and should never drop below 70%. Hermit Crabs need a warm, tropical (moist) environment. The moisture is to keep their gills wet so they don’t suffocate. Substrate is also important. It should be either sand or coco fiber, or even a mix of both. It should be kept moist to aid in humidity and also allow the crabs to bury themselves. Tank décor should be items that will allow these crabs to play with and climb on. Cork bark, cholla wood, driftwood, fake plants and other items may be used. You must also keep shells of larger sizes available. As the Hermit Crab grows it will need to upgrade to a larger shell. Shallow water and food dishes must be used. If the water dish gets too deep for your crabs you must add a sponge.
Hermit Crabs are calcium and carotene deficient and therefore, need to be offered food items that are high in these elements. Corn and carrots usually work best. Other foods need to be offered as well and can be anything from fruit, decaying wood, leaf litter, fish, meat, and other veggies. Commercial crab food is not required if you feed your crabs “human grade” foods. Variety is best and they do best getting varied dinners every day. Never leave food in the tank for long, as it will attract flies and other unwanted scavengers.
interesting, social creatures, fascinating creatures, easiest animals, entertaining, great first pet
Empty shells, kinda boring Hermit, Tank maintenance, molting hermit crab, terrible odor, ungodly smell
dry shrimp treats, chirping, discernible personalities, allergy free pet
"If you feed them well and socialize them well, these make the greatest pets! They are so unique and so interesting with their own unique personalities. All sizes will play together safely. I had no fights with any of mine whatsoever. Be careful of those decorative shells though! Get them normal, untreated or painted shells. Every single one of my crabs that I owned changed out of their store pretty shells the same night I adopted them. ."
From AmberRaeMarie Blume Sep 1 2017 11:58PM
"I had hermit crabs as a kid, but they always died. A few years ago, after buying two at the beach and doing some research, I found out why. Those metal cages they sell with the crabs are actually poisonous! Yikes! Off to the pet shop I went. I needed a 10 gallon fish tank and lid for my habitat, and a heater to keep the temperature just right. They also need substrate to dig and hide in, which also keeps the humidity level like the Caribbean. Then, of course, food, bowls, extra shells to change in to, and several different natural-wood crawlers so I can change them every 2-3 days (for two reasons... one, it is wet in there all the time, and you don't want them to mold. Also, hermit crabs are nomadic. They do better when they feel like the move to a new home frequently. The substrate needs to be at least 4-6 inches deep, and damp all the time. This is so they can bury themselves deep, shed their exoskeletons, and then wait there until their new shells are hard enough to start moving again. Your little guys could be underground for three weeks or more sometimes, and this is nothing to worry about. I change the substrate twice a year. I am lucky though. For some reason (don't ask me why) my guys all poop in a single bowl. I leave it in there and dump it every day. If they pooped in their substrate, I'd have to change it more. It takes some time to set up a proper home for them, but once it is done, you just need to even out their soil and feel them every day. Mine do not bite, they crawl on my hands, and will even take a treat right out of my fingers. They are awesome pets, and are sitting beside me now giving me cute little crabby smiles. Oh! One last thought. Despite their names, these guys are very social. PLEASE do not buy just one. They need friends. Any it is really kinds cool listening to them "talk" to each other, which is a little chirping sound. (Which is usually a "leave me alone" or "Don't take my food", but it's still fun to listen to.)."
From Jenniferspets Apr 26 2017 11:34PM
"This was another pet that I picked up from the beach at a shop on the boardwalk on vacation because my parents entertained my whims. We take very good car of pets, regardless of it's "cheapness" to purchase, and our little hermit crabs got bigger and bigger and bigger. We gave them lots of shells in their habitat, and they would change them readily. Ultimately, they passed away which we discovered when they simply wouldn't come out of their shells anymore, but they were nice pets to have and didn't mind us handling them. They weren't too shy and would come out fo the shell quickly after moving them from one enclosure to another, etc, so you could really see them being active! If you want an easy pet to take care of to help see if your kids or you are ready to care for a pet, this is a good one as you can replace food & water less often than needed for something like a dog and still have a very healthy pet!."
From hikaymm Oct 17 2016 4:53PM