Check out this Comprehensive Hermit Crab foods list so you can be on the right track when feeding your hermit. In the wild, land crabs are omnivores, which means that they eat plant and animal matter. In captivity, their diet should be based on balanced commercial food supplemented by a variety of fresh foods and treats.
There are some good commercial diets – depending on where you live, it can be difficult to find them in small pet stores, though. Fortunately, there are easily available mail-order sources.
Florida Marine Research is a good source of proven commercial food, as well as treats. Zoo-Med is also another balanced diet from a reputable manufacturer and makes a pelletized diet as well as a canned food to tempt even the most difficult eaters. PetDiscounters. com offers FMR, Zoo-Med and a variety of other foods.
The granulated feed can be fed once a day and must be crushed, especially for small crabs. They can also be moistened if desired. Uneaten foods, including granulated/commercial foods, must be removed daily.
Fresh foods and treats
Although commercial diets are practical and most are balanced, they must be supplemented with fresh foods. Hermit crabs seem particularly fond of a varied diet. A wide variety of foods from the list below should be offered on a rotational basis (a few each day, then a handful of others the next, and so on).
Hermit Crab Food List
Fresh foods and treats you can try include
- coconut (fresh or dried)
- green leafy lettuce (non iceberg / head lettuce)
- bark leaves and strips of deciduous trees (no conifers)
- nuts (unsalted nuts)
- peanut butter (occasionally)
- algae (found in some dietary foods and grocery stores for sushi packaging)
- crackers (no or low salt)
- unsweetened cereals
- plain rice cakes
- popcorn (plain, can be given on occasion)
- eggs, meats, and seafood cooked (in moderation)
- freeze-dried shrimp and plankton (found in the fish feed section at the pet shop)
- brackish shrimps
- fish food flakes
This list is not exhaustive because other similar foods can also be fed. Almost all fruits (fresh or dried) can be offered, although some experts recommend avoiding highly acidic foods or citrus (eg, oranges, tomatoes). Try a variety of vegetables, but avoid starchy vegetables such as potatoes and stay away from iceberg lettuce as it is of very low nutritional value. Crabs can really enjoy salty, fat or sweet snacks like pretzels, chips and sweet cereals, but these should be avoided. Also, avoid feeding dairy products.
Hermit crabs need a lot of calcium to support the health of their exoskeleton, and this is especially true during moulting. The ways to provide ample calcium to your crabs are:
- cuttlebone – readily available at pet stores (check the bird section) and can be given whole, or shredded and added to the food
- reptiles, these can also be added to the food of hermit crabs
- crushed oyster shell – also from the bird section, an excellent source of calcium
- coral sand – you can use fine sand as a tank substrate, or use a surcharge
- crushed eggshells – boil, dry and crush a few eggshells for an easy source of calcium
All hermit crab species should have access to fresh and saltwater. Freshwater is needed for drinking, and most hermit crabs also drink salt water (some also like to swim in salt water, providing a saltwater dish large enough for the crab gets into it is a good idea). All tap water should be treated with a dechlorinator (drops available at pet stores) to remove chlorine and harmful chloramines. To prepare saltwater, use a product such as Instant Ocean, designed to mimic natural saltwater. Salt designed for freshwater fish (to treat disease, etc.) lacks some components of natural saltwater.
Never use table salt. The desired salinity of the water is somewhat discussed between the owners. For most crabs, mixing the proportion of salt and water indicated to produce the concentration of a saline (marine) aquarium is probably acceptable, and crabs will adjust their salt and freshwater consumption to regulate their needs. salt.
Food and water dishes
For food dishes, you’ll want something shallow, sturdy, and easy to clean. Flattened heavy plastic dishes made to look like rocks can be found in the reptile section, or you can use shallow ceramic dishes made for small animals. Some people also use natural seashells (flat half-shells) for food.
Since all hermit crab species should have access to fresh and saltwater, you will need two flats of water. They should be big enough and deep enough to allow the crabs to get in if they want to soak (especially the saltwater dish), but easy to get out and not so deep that drowning is a risk (bernards-l hermit must receive a salt pool deep enough to submerge completely, but for most species, it does not need to be so deep). With deeper dishes, smooth river stones or pieces of coral can be used as ramps or steps so that crabs can get out of the water.
Makes a nice bowl of Water (Hermit Crab Ramp Bowl) that is attractive and is good for hermit crabs because of the tiered edges for easy access inside and out, and their Repti Rock dishes work well too. You should also place natural sea sponges in the water dishes; some crabs will press on to have water to drink and they help regulate moisture.