Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization
Posted Jun 29, 2013
I've worked with hermies in my pet sitting, and I always find them to be very interesting creatures. They are certainly not for the faint of heart, and if you're afraid of being pinched, it's probably not the best pet for you. But they certainly are fascinating to have, interactive, and certainly not boring!
Appearance: I personally think hermies are cute, and I can't stand insects! I know that's probably not saying much as hermies are crustaceans and not insects, but some people fail to see the difference. Their antennae, bulging eyes, and claws can be a little startling to some, but if you can get past that to see how cute they are, you might find yourself a hermit crab owner!
Temperament: It depends on the hermie. I've worked with hermies that will come out of their shells, guns blazing, and ready to explore, and I've worked with hermies who will hide in their shell, come hell or high water! Some may be more prone to pinch than others. I've personally never been pinched, and I've handled hermies large and small. (The shy ones are really dear to my heart. If you think about it, they carry a way to hide themselves around on their back. How awesome is that?)
Easy to handle: Incredibly. They are small and can easily be picked up by their shell and placed on your hand! You just have to watch them carefully, because if they are too small, they can get away from you - they are good climbers.
Visibility: Hermies tend to hide in plain site - in their shells - but they also burrow themselves in their sand. They also go into hibernation, so you might not see your hermie for a long while if he's buried in the sand. Also, if you have a shy hermie, he may duck back into his shell the second you pass by.
Activity Level: Hermies are mostly nocturnal, so you'll hear them moving around at night. But you can hang out with them during the day sometimes if they are accustomed to it. Let them climb around and explore for a while - give them their exercise. Some are really fast and you have to keep up with them, while others will stay in their shell.
Easy to acquire: I've seen them in all kinds of pet stores! And when I don't see them, I at least see supplies for them, including new shells.
Health/vigor: I would say that you can tell the health of a hermit crab pretty easily by their appearance and activity. Plus, they can live for several years.
Easy to keep: a tank with something for them to climb on, shells to change into, dechlorinated water to spray them with and give to drink, food, sand substrate, and time out to explore, and you're good to go! Become familiar with their personalities and habits, and read up on hibernation and molt, and they should be pretty easy to figure out and keep!
Low cost to own: After the initial set up, probably the thing you would invest most in is new shells for them.
Overall, I think they are a delightful pet to own. If you're new to having an invertebrate as a pet, a hermie is a good place to start!