Acquired: Pet store
North Carolina, United States
Posted Jun 07, 2016
I've had many hermit crabs over the past 8 years or so. I always thought they were kinda cute and finally got one by itself. I learned pretty quickly that hermit crabs do not like being alone! Their name is a misnomer. They like to live in little groups.
Hermit crabs, despite what you may hear at the pet store, require A LOT of care. They are fragile little critter who can die at the drop of a hat. This is especially true when purchasing from a pet store - you can't be sure of their health, especially if they are in a painted shell. It can be pretty devastating to lose one suddenly, but I think it is worth it. They are funny little guys and are very entertaining with how much they climb, dig, and chirp to each other. Personally, I liked watching them more then a fish tank!
Setting up the proper environment for crabbies is expensive. They need high temperature and high humidity, so a good terrarium is a must. It should be a big one, as crabs can travel several miles a day through climbing and running around! Hermit crabs require access to both salt and fresh water. You will need to provide a variety of shells in different sizes for them as they grow. They also need hidey holes and climbing things so they don't get bored. Good food is also important, and they need a variety. Finally, they need a good substrate - coconut fiber is my favorite. Once you've set up their home, the are pretty cheap to keep.
Hermit crabs will molt, so they need a really good environment to stay healthy. They'll need 6"+ of substrate to dig into so they can molt properly. When they molt, you may not see them for a month or so. This can be frustrating if you miss your pet, but disturbing them at this time usually means they will die. Since you don't want to accidentally dig anyone up, deep cleaning your terrarium is NOT recommended. Just spot clean the top of the substrate. This is definitely a positive compared to messier pets like fish.
Hermit crabs are not for beginners. They need a really specific environment to thrive. However, if you are willing to put in the effort, they are great little pets who are super entertaining. They are also perfect for people who have allergies.