Connect with us

Hermit Crab: 33 Questions and Answers That Proves You know Little

Hermit Crab 33 Questions and Answers That Proves You know Little

Questions about animals

Hermit Crab: 33 Questions and Answers That Proves You know Little

Hermit crabs are crustaceans. There are about 800 species. Only 12 species are semi-terrestrial, the others being aquatic species. Two hermit crab species, both semi-terrestrial, are sold as pets. These include the Purple Clawed Hermit Crab ( Coenobita clypeatus ) found in the Florida Peninsula, the Caribbean Islands and the Bahamas, and the Equatorial Hermit Crab ( Coenobita compressus ) native to the US West Coast, from California to Chile.

Hermit crabs
Hermit crabs
Contents hide
15 Question and Answers about hermit crab

Notions of anatomy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJrYpeHGkVA

The rigid exterior of your hermit crab is called exoskeleton. Your hermit crab has two pairs of antennas. The longer ones are used to touch and evaluate the environment and the shorter ones are used to feel and taste food. A small urinary bladder is at the base of each of the small antennas, but it is unlikely that you will see any urine because your hermit crab barely produces it.

The hermit crabs have five pairs of legs. The first pair consists of the tongs. The left forceps is almost always bigger and is used to climb and defend. The right forceps, smaller, is used for eating and climbing. The second and third pairs of legs are used to move. The last two pairs are very small and they use them to stay in their shell. The legs of your hermit crab are attached to its thorax called cephalothorax.

Your pet has gills to allow him to breathe underwater and they are located on each side of his chest above his feet. The gills must be humidified to function properly. Semi-terrestrial Hermit crabs have very small gills and can drown if kept underwater for too long.

The abdomen of your hermit crab is soft and cachou-shaped. He always keeps it inside his shell to protect it. You will never be able to see the back of your hermit crab.

Period of activity

In nature, hermit crabs are nocturnal animals, because during the day, light and heat increase the risk of dehydration, which can be fatal. They spend their day under leaves, between roots or in cavities on the ground.

Social aspect

Hermit crabs are very social animals. They interact with each other regularly and are often found in large groups because they are attracted to the same food sources and the same places to hide. For this reason, it is better to have more than one. They are then more active and you can observe their real behavior. Choose hermit crabs of similar size that are quite heavy. A lighter hermit crab may not be healthy. It is best to buy hermit crabs about 5 cm long because they are more resistant and vigorous.

Lifetime

Hermit crabs are very resistant animals. They can survive for 6 to 12 months if they are neglected. However, if they have proper care, they can live from 6 to 15 years. It is currently impossible to determine the age of a hermit crab.

Hermit Crab’s Shell

Hermit Crab's Shell
Hermit Crab’s Shell

The primary purpose of the shell is to protect the hermit crabs from predators and help prevent dehydration. The hermit crab often investigates the empty shells to see if it would be better in a new shell. Damaged shells are rejected because they do not protect against dehydration or can injure the soft part (abdomen) of their body. Hermit crabs accumulate water in their shells to ensure their survival. The water keeps their gills well moistened to allow them to breathe properly.

Each hermit crab should have an assortment of 2 to 3 additional shells. The opening of the shells should be about 6 mm larger than that in which your hermit crab currently lives and must be round. Hermit crabs can not live in shells with a narrow opening.

Handling

Hermit crabs are very sensitive to movement. Move slowly to avoid hiding in their shells. These can not bite but they can pinch. Even the little ones can cut the skin and hurt you.

Never take your hermit crab from underneath, as you will probably be pinched. Always take your pet from above or behind the shell. If your pet has pinched you and does not let go, do not shake it. Run lukewarm water on it and if it does not work, run cold water. Never try to get your animal out of its shell. They are very strong and you will quickly find yourself with half of your pet in your hands.

Environment

An aquarium is ideal for your hermit crab. A 10-gallon aquarium provides enough space for 3 to 5 medium-sized hermit crabs. Avoid placing your aquarium near a source of hot or cold air, or near a window.

Temperature 

The temperature of the terrarium must be maintained between 24 and 30 0 C. Place a thermometer in your terrarium. Make sure that the temperature never drops below 20 ° C and never rises above 32 ° C. The best way to maintain an adequate temperature is to place a heating mat under the aquarium. Avoid heating stones at all costs.

Lighting

Because they are nocturnal, hermit crabs do not need special lighting. You can put a night heat lamp (red or black), but be sure to choose a lamp that is appropriate to the size of your terrarium, because your terrarium will become too dry if the lamp is too hot.

Humidity

A humidity level of 70% is ideal, but most hermit crabs can live at a moisture content of 50 to 60%. To maintain proper humidity, you can put a bowl of water in the area where the heating mat is located and spray the sides of the aquarium every day. You can also spray the sand 2 to 3 times a week. Also make sure you have a waterproof cover to maintain moisture.

Substratum

Two types of substrates are acceptable: small round gravel without sharp edges for fish or high quality sand sold for reptiles. Sand is best to allow your pet to burrow when moulting. Make sure the substrate is at least 10 cm thick. You can put moss or blocks of wood (coconut) available for reptiles over the thickness of sand or gravel. The substrate should be changed every 3 to 6 months and ideally be rinsed every 2 to 3 weeks as hermit crabs are used to burying their food.

Other components of the terrarium

All hermit crabs need to climb. It is therefore important to place branches and rocks in the terrarium. They also need a place to hide. You can bury a half pot of earthenware in the substrate. Hermit crabs will also play with toys sold for other animals.

Hermit Crab’s Diet

Hermit Crab's Diet
Hermit Crab’s Diet

Since hermit crabs are nocturnal, it is best to feed them in the evening. Their nutritional needs are unknown. Currently, it is recommended to offer your pet:

A commercial diet 

Hermit crab diets are available at pet stores and are usually a mixture of fish, fruits and seeds. Hermit Crabs eat very little so offer very small amounts of food at a time. If you can not offer a hermit crab diet, you can offer high quality dry dog ​​food.

Fruits, vegetables and other soft food 

They love grapes, apples and salad. You can also offer them rice, unsweetened cereals and pasta without sauce. Do not offer them bread or greasy foods as they may clog their gills and cause them to suffocate.

A piece of cuttlebone bone

Cuttlebones are available in the Birds department of pet shops and are an important source of calcium.

Replace the dry food every 2 days and the soft food every day. Do not leave soft food for more than 15 minutes in the terrarium. If a hermit crab eats a food quickly, it is best not to give it back and give it something else to vary its diet. You will soon find that these animals love to play with their food. They will carry it around their terrarium and even bury it there. This hidden food rots quickly which can cause a bad smell. By placing the food in a shallow bowl and limiting the amount offered, you will reduce the speed at which your terrarium becomes soiled.

Pure water

A large shallow bowl of water should be available at all times. It is very important that your pet gets in and out of the bowl easily. Avoid metal bowls at all costs, as metal ions could be released into the water and kill your pet. The supplied water must not contain chlorine. The hermit crabs will not only drink in this bowl, they will also walk in and replace the water supply in their shells and thus clean their shells of all debris.

Salt water

In addition to a bowl of fresh water, you must offer salt water to your pet at least once a week. Salt water is absolutely essential for the hermit crabs of Ecuador. It is best to use salt for marine aquariums rather than table salt, as sea salt also contains beneficial elements for your pet. If your hermit crab continuously ignores the saltwater bowl, reduce the salinity to 1/3 or 1/2 of the salinity of the seawater. Hermit crabs can distinguish salinity from seawater. water and they have preferences.

Moult

When young, hermit crabs moult several times a year. When older, they moult every 12 to 18 months. Hermit Crabs can gradually regenerate damaged or missing limbs when moulting. It is normal for your pet to stop eating during this process. Hermit crabs remain in their protective shells during most of the moulting process, as the latter protects them and contains water to prevent dehydration. 

Water also allows your pet to stretch his new exoskeleton before it hardens. Many hermit crabs will hide in the substrate during their moult. They may remain buried for more than a month in some cases. Resist the temptation to see what your pet is doing during the moult, because you could hurt him if his new skeleton is not hardened. Wait at least 4 weeks to satisfy your curiosity and dig up your hermit crab with extreme delicacy. If your pet is still alive, cover it up and leave it alone. You can leave the old exoskeleton in the terrarium for a while, as some hermit crabs will eat it, especially the abdominal part.

Question and Answers about hermit crab

Question and Answers about hermit crab

1. What if a hermit crab comes out of its shell?

Boil and rinse the sink. Then fill it with cool water. Place the hermit crab (without a shell) in the water and gently bring it to the sink. If a crab hesitates to return to the shell, lightly touch its head with your finger, then the crab usually quickly climbs into the sink. But, if the crab is sleepy, sits near a bowl of water or a shell, make sure that it comes out completely from the shell, and only then try to bring it back. Such a crab most likely suffers from a syndrome affecting the respiratory system, like hyperventilation. 

2. How to make the hermit crab more active?

Hermit crabs are nocturnal animals. A decrease in their activity may indicate a low temperature (below + 21’C) or a low humidity in the aquarium. In other cases, to increase the activity of crabs allow periodic changes in the aquarium. For example, every week, change the landscape, put new items in the aquarium (snags, corals, stones, etc.). Such changes will force crabs to actively explore all new.

3. Do crabs fall into hibernation?

Yes. When the temperature drops to 10-15’C crabs become sluggish and can hibernate. Long hibernation is bad for their health. 

4. How to determine the age of the hermit crab?

Small teeth on the big claw, most likely, indicate the age of the hermit crab. The more teeth, the older the crab. Of course, size is another factor in determining age. Hermit crabs live up to 15 years.

5. “Why do hermit crabs get rid of their legs?”

There are several reasons for this: 
– the environment is too dry, 
– sharp temperature fluctuations, 
– improper holding temperature, 
– stress, molting, poisoning by poisonous vapors (paint, insecticides), 
– aggression from other crabs, 
– keeping in unsanitary conditions, 
– tick infestation. 
In the next molt, the lost leg will grow back.

6. What if the hermit crab started shedding?

On average, molting in crabs occurs once in 12-18 months (May-September). It lasts two weeks and sometimes longer. It is best to sow the molting crab from the rest. During this period, the crab becomes less active and stops eating. The crab drops its shell (which subsequently eats) and digs into the substrate. For hardening of the new shell requires high humidity (70-80%). Therefore, the place where the crab is buried is periodically sprayed with water. You can not disturb the crab during molting! At this time, the crab becomes overly irritable. It is possible to return a crab to a common aquarium only when its shell becomes hard and turns purple.

7. How to prepare wooden and plastic items?

The wood is washed and then dried under the direct rays of the sun. 
Plastic products are poured boiling water for a few minutes, and only after processing is placed in an aquarium. 
Corals are boiled in water until lightly bleached.

8. How to save a hermit crab from parasites?

When parasites are found, crabs bathe in tepid water several times a day, until all parasites are washed away. At the same time, they wash and clean the aquarium, boil all the decor items, then rinse them under cool water and dry in the open air. The old substrate is replaced with a new one.

9. How to determine the age of the hermit crab?

Small teeth on the big claw, most likely, indicate the age of the hermit crab. The more teeth, the older the crab. Of course, size is another factor in determining age. Hermit crabs live up to 15 years.

10. “Why do hermit crabs get rid of their legs?”

  • There are several reasons for this: 
  • – the environment is too dry, 
  • – sharp temperature fluctuations, 
  • – improper holding temperature, 
  • – stress, molting, poisoning by poisonous vapors (paint, insecticides), 
  • – aggression from other crabs, 
  • – keeping in unsanitary conditions, 
  • – tick infestation. 
  • In the next molt, the lost leg will grow back.

11. What if the hermit crab started shedding?

On average, molting in crabs occurs once in 12-18 months (May-September). It lasts two weeks and sometimes longer. It is best to sow the molting crab from the rest. During this period, the crab becomes less active and stops eating. The crab drops its shell (which subsequently eats) and digs into the substrate. For hardening of the new shell requires high humidity (70-80%). Therefore, the place where the crab is buried is periodically sprayed with water. You can not disturb the crab during molting! At this time, the crab becomes overly irritable. It is possible to return a crab to a common aquarium only when its shell becomes hard and turns purple.

12. How to prepare wooden and plastic items?

The wood is washed and then dried under the direct rays of the sun. 
Plastic products are poured boiling water for a few minutes, and only after processing is placed in an aquarium. 
Corals are boiled in water until lightly bleached.

13. How to save a hermit crab from parasites?

When parasites are found, crabs bathe in tepid water several times a day, until all parasites are washed away. At the same time, they wash and clean the aquarium, boil all the decor items, then rinse them under cool water and dry in the open air. The old substrate is replaced with a new one. 

14. What is the depth of the water tank?

No deeper than a crab shell. Otherwise, the crab will drown.

15. My hermit crabs refuse to drink saltwater. Why?

Reduce the amount of salt in the water.

16. What can feed crabs?

Hermit crabs need to be fed a varied and balanced diet. Crabs have a preference for certain products. They can be fed: commercial food for reptiles and hermit crabs, nuts and seeds (sunflower), apples (seeds, pulp), bananas (pulp), carrots (peeled and chopped), cereals , any tropical fruits, mango (fresh or dried), citrus fruits, pineapple, shrimps (pulp, crushed shells), salad, spinach, strawberries, grapes (cut into two halves, or squeezed from it), peanut butter (occasionally) fish (steamed), algae, rotting wood, a variety of fresh cereals, live and dead insects (crickets), chicken bones, white bread, celery, oats (fried in honey), papaya, coconuts, dried calendula flowers, rice.
The diet is changed regularly because crabs do not like to eat the same food every day. One day you can give dried foods, the next day fresh, on the third day – a mixture of dried and fresh products, etc.

17. Which substrate is suitable for keeping hermit crabs?

There are many types of substrate suitable for crabs: 
– calcined sand: quite expensive, but one of the best suppliers of calcium, can be used several times. On such sand fungi reproduce poorly and ticks do not live. 
– river or sea sand: cheap, but it is difficult to wash it away from dirt; it can be used several times. It dries for a long time, which is why large amounts of pathogens and fungi develop in it. 
– small river pebbles: easy to clean, can be used several times. Pebbles should be very shallow and smooth. Rinse and dry thoroughly before use. 
– crushed corals, reef sand: rich in calcium and minerals, can be used once. Rinse and dry thoroughly before use.
– gravel: easy to wash, can be used several times Must be shallow and smooth. Good to combine with sand. 
– pressed coconut fiber: used as a secondary substrate. 
Substrates from: cedar (poisonous!) And wooden shavings, husks from grains, commercial substrates for reptiles living in the desert are not suitable .

18. How to choose the shells for crabs?

From time to time, hermit crabs need new shells. Shells should be clean (cleaned inside and boiled), without cracks and holes. Three shells are prepared for each crab:  
– a shell of the same size (in which the crab currently lives), 
– slightly smaller, 
– slightly larger. 
All new sinks are sterilized. 
Crabs live well in artificial shells. 
Before choosing a new shell, the crab checks whether its claws can fit in it and only then it crawls from the old shell to the new one.

19. Hooray! My hermit crabs laid caviar. How to care for her?

Hermit crabs do not breed in captivity, so if you find larvae or someone’s eggs in an aquarium, they should be removed as soon as possible.

20. Is it possible to tame the hermit crab? 

It may even be necessary. Crabs quickly get used to the man. They can be taught to eat from the fingers, ride on their shoulders and go out of the shell at the call. Every day, chat with crabs for at least 10 minutes. Taming helps the crab to carry the weekly swims easier. Periodically allow crabs to crawl around the aquarium, but never leave them unattended! When you take a crab on your hands, your movements should be slow, talk to him gently. The crab must feel safe. Make sure that he does not fall to the floor. 

21. In the aquarium with crabs appeared mold. How to deal with it?

The appearance of mold can be for several reasons: improper type of substrate, poor ventilation or not regular cleaning of the aquarium (cleaning should be done at least once a month). It is necessary for all crabs to arrange short salt baths (1/2 tsp salt per liter of water). The aquarium and decor items need to be cleaned and processed (see above), and the substrate replaced with a new one. 

22. How to distinguish a living hermit crab from a dead one?

Watch the crab for a minute or two. If the crab continues to stand idle, try to lure him away: wave a blade of grass, paper or hair before entering the sink. You can shift the crab on a flat surface (away from people and so that no shadow falls on the crab). If after that the crab does not appear from the shell or its antennae are not visible, then most likely the crab is sick or dead. 

23. What to do when one hermit crab attacks another?

Often, skirmishes between crabs are not serious and human intervention is not required. However, some hermit crabs cause serious damage to other crabs, for example, trying to pull them out of the shell, attacking the eyes, whiskers, legs, or stomach of their “enemy”. If you witness this behavior, drop the crabs apart. Often this behavior indicates that the crabs do not have enough space. Sometimes aggression occurs due to molting. 

24. How to teach a hermit crab to eat with it?

From the first time the crab will refuse, but if you show patience and perseverance, then it will happen soon. Gently hold the crab by the back of the shell (between the thumb and forefinger), drive the food near its claw until the crab shows interest in it and squeezes it in the claw. You will see that the crab starts to bite off the food and bring it to his mouth. It is best to keep crabs of different sizes together, then large crabs will not offend small ones. Aggression can occur due to the division of the shell. Put different sea shells in the aquarium and this will reduce the possibility of a fight. 

25. Do parasites live on crabs? 

Yes. Usually on hermit crabs parasites ticks: dust ( Dermatophagoides sp. ), Flour ( Acarus siro L),Liponyssoides sanuineus , demodectic ( Demodex folliculorum ), scabies ( Sarcoptes scabiei hominis ) and grains ( Tyrophagus putrescentiae ). 
– Dust mites of microscopic size, live in fabrics and clothing fibers, carpets, upholstered furniture, flaking leather scales, etc. Do not bite. They are a common cause of allergy, because their excrement and saliva contain allergic proteins. 
– Flour mites can be found in a wide variety of products (which are stored). Causes skin irritation with slight itching. With a strong infection with flour mites, the products acquire a pleasant or mint smell. Do not bite people. They live in wheat, soybeans, rice, flour, oat grains and cereals.
When infected with ticks, crabs lose their limbs. 

In the treatment of crabs use only those substances that are not dangerous for them. The substrate (also boiled) and the aquarium is thoroughly washed with vinegar and dried. Ticks are often attracted to wood and plants, so they are replaced with new ones. Crabs are immersed in water until all the mites float to the surface. To assess the infection of crabs with mites, use a magnifying glass.

26. Is it difficult to care for a hermit crab? 

Every day you need to:
– feed the crab and change the water,
– remove non-eaten food,
– control, and adjust as necessary, temperature and humidity,
– communicate with the crab, feed it from the hand,
– rinse the crab with a sponge soaked in water. 
Every week you need to:
– bathe the crab, – wipe both sides of the crabarium with a damp paper towel and check the condition of the substrate,
– swap objects in the crabarium. 
Every month you need:
– to clean the aquarium,
– to wipe the aquarium with a clean cloth soaked in vinegar,
– the wet aquarium is dried in the sun, along with other objects and substrate,
– return the crab to the aquarium. 

27. How to clean?

To begin with, all hermit crabs from the aquarium are transplanted into deep dishes (so that they cannot escape). Then remove all design items: stones, snags, corals, etc. The substrate is poured into deep dishes, poured boiling water and stirred. After five minutes, the water is drained. The procedure is repeated until the water is clear. The substrate is transferred to the ladle, washed under tap water and allowed to drain. The next stage is sterilization. To this end, the substrate is poured onto an oven baking tray (after putting parchment paper or foil on it), and dried for 30 minutes at a temperature of 180 ‘. While sterilization is underway, you can wash the aquarium. The aquarium is washed with warm water and then wiped with a cloth dampened with vinegar. Wood poured boiling water and dried in the sun. Cork items can be sterilized in a microwave oven (1 minute at a power of 900w). The substrate is removed from the oven and cooled in the open air, periodically stir it.

28. In the summer, flies often annoy my crabs to hermits. They are not dangerous? 

Some species of flies lay their crabs on crabs, which eat the flesh of crabs. They are especially dangerous for molting crabs. To protect the crabs from flies, I close the aquarium from above with a net. 

29. “What can it mean when one crab climbs the shell of another and clicks its claws?” 

This is normal behavior, and it does not harm the bottom crab. This behavior helps establish the hierarchy. 

30. The legs of my hermit crab have acquired a yellowish tint. Is he sick? 

Your crab began to molt. Before the molting, the legs and claws of the crab usually acquire an orange or yellow hue. 

31. “Can crabs be kept in plastic containers?”

Crabs can be kept both in glass aquariums and in plastic containers. 
– Aquarium for fish: 
Pros: thanks to the cover allows you to maintain the necessary humidity and temperature. 
Cons: are more expensive than plastic containers. If the lid is tight in the aquarium, there is no access to fresh air, which will eventually lead to the development of bacteria. 
– Plastic container: 
Pros: easier, safer and cheaper glass aquariums. 
Cons: missing cover. 

32. Why do crabs sometimes behave aggressively? 

Crabs hermit social animals, they are rarely aggressive. 

33. Where is the best place to put an aquarium with crabs?

Away from chemicals, insecticides and vapors. The most suitable places: hall or bedroom, however, some owners may interfere with the night noise, which is raised by crabs.

Continue Reading
You may also like...
3 Comments

3 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Questions about animals

Advertisement
Advertisement

Facebook

To Top