Although not the first kind of pet to come to mind to snuggle up with like a cat or a dog, the land hermit crab is quickly becoming one of the most popular household pets. These guys give hours of enjoyment in viewing their terrarium and watching them congregate in their clan.
These crabs can be the perfect pet since they are odorless, virtually disease free, and a good choice for those who have allergies to dogs and cats. Be sure to consider bringing home at least a pair if not 3 or 4 crabs, as these little guys are very social animals and it will greatly reduce the stress of your crabs. Keep in mind in nature they congregate and are most comfortable in clans or groups.
There are many reasons why the land hermit crab makes a fantastic and unique pet. Due to the fact they have no shell and a soft exposed abdomen (unlike regular crabs), they must seek out and borrow a shell to carry on it’s back at all times to avoid predation.
As with any other kind of pet, these guys require a certain level of care. You might think that levels of interaction isn’t necessary on your part, but it is important to interact with them on a daily basis. When you do, you’ll see a difference in the stress levels of your hermit crab.
Feeding hermit crabs and adhering to a proper diet is relatively easy. To start, you’ll want to purchase some commercial food at your local pet store that comes in pellet form. You’ll also want to feed your crab an assortment of fresh and nutritious foods like frozen shrimp, fresh raw vegetables, fruits and even meat. Be sure to focus on foods for your crab that are high in carotene, such as carrots.
Your land hermit crab is a smart creature and is aware of its surroundings. You’ll not only want to provide a wholesome diet for your little guys, but you’ll want to provide an aquarium at least ten gallons for two crabs, and upwards of 30 to 40 gallons for multiple crabs. Because land hermit crabs are very social creatures, you’ll want to ensure you have at least 2-3 crabs, or more if you can.
These crabs are also unique in that they molt as they grow. This is due to the natural process of them shedding their exoskeleton to grow a new and larger skeleton. During these periods, it’s best to feed your land hermit crab foods rich in calcium to assist in the exoskeleton growth process. Foods rich in calcium include cuttlebone, which can be found at your local pet store in the bird section, or at your grocery store. You’ll want to provide plenty of ocean (salt) water and fresh (de-chlorinated) water to your land hermit crab during this molting period.
Lastly, offering your crabs with a wide variety of shells to “graduate” to is very important. You’ll want to provide a good selection based on size, opening shape, and colors. There are always good selections of shells online, or you can visit your local pet store.
Taking the time to properly care for your little guys will ensure a long and happy life for your crabs.