Are hermit crabs easy to care for?
I'm thinking about getting a hermit crab and just wanted some input from anyone who has owned one. Are they easy to care for or do they need someone with experience? What sort of environment do they need and are they expensive to maintain? Thank you for not responding with immature comments.
- Anonymous1 decade agoBest Answer
Well they are not that easy, and require daily maintenance. You must get more than one, as they are wild creatures and when they are in the wild they live in colonies of 100 and more, so by keeping just one it will surely die in no time, be unhappy and unhealthy.
Land Hermit Crabs are portrayed as easy to care for, cheap and novelty pets. This is not really true! There are some basics that you need to know before actually buying your first Hermit Crabs. Read on below and then you can decide if this is the pet for you.
Glass tank with lid (aquarium with glass lid is best) You can use a quality Kritter-Keeper with saran wrap over the lid as a temporary shelter only.
Options include... Calci-Sand, Sterilized play sand,
Aragonite Sand, Moist coco-fiber bedding, Crushed coral.
You can mix and match, have separate areas and
containers, it is up to you. You must however make sure
whatever you are using is deep enough for your largest crab to fully dig down and cover it’s self shell and all, usually 3 to 4 inches to start.
You can use sands moist or dry, only use de-chlorinated water. Also, do not use masonry or construction sand. If using found sand make sure it is clean and pesticide and chemical free.
Hermit Crabs require 12 hours of sunlight each day. This can be a combo of natural and artificial light. The normal aquarium hood light can be good enough.
Once you are ready to get more advanced or need more heating you can buy a bi-light that has both day-glow and night-glow bulbs.. for heat and light during the day and heat during the night.
Always try to have full spectrum when possible so the
Hermit Crabs get enough of the proper lighting. A night glow bulb is great for night time viewing of your crabs as they are nocturnal and with this type of light you will provide sufficient heat while no light that they can see, but light that you can view them with. It also simulates moonlight which stimulates their activities.
Land Hermit Crabs live in tropical areas, there for it is quite warm and humid. First there is the heat. Sometimes the lights you use give off a fair amount of heat, yet that does not reach the depths of your substrate when some crabs may be buried.
A UTH (Under Tank Heater) is found in the reptile department and will warm the substrate. Monitor the temp. with a thermometer and never use them on plastic tanks and the fumes are deadly.
Stick it to the bottom of the glass under where there is sand in an open area, not under food, water or caves.
You will want at very least 3 dishes. 2 are for water and one will be used for food. Sometimes it is good to have extras due to separating wet and dried foods or to switch out for cleanings.
They are to be heavy and sturdy, non-porous and NONMETALLIC. Remember there is to never be any metal within your crab’s home, especially which may come into contact with water or moisture.
Rule of thumb, 4 or more per crab. They must be of the proper, type and size, paying special attention to the opening.
Do not offer painted or decorated shells if you can help it, the paint is toxic.
Wash them and offer them different ones from time to time, this will encourage shell changes. If the crabs do not have a proper shell they will die.
NATURAL SEA SPONGE
Natural, un-bleached and un-dyed sea sponges only. Non-man made. These can be found in pet stores and in some department stores as well.
They need to be rinsed and dried to keep bacteria and
ugliness away, so have an extra or two so you can rotate
them. Boiling will also sterilize them.
Have one ready if your humidity drops, or to spot, clean a crab who you want to play with, or to physically check. You can also have a second one with fresh salt water to control mold and fungus. This water also must be de-chlorinated and Hermie Safe.
TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDTIY
Land Hermit Crabs, breathe through modified gills
therefore they must have the proper humidity in order to
breathe as well as the proper temperature in order to thrive.
You need to monitor all of the tank conditions by using gauges, one for the temp and one for the humidity will get you started. Keep them as close to substrate level as possible since that is where the crabs are most of the time.
76 - 80 degrees and everyone will be fine. Do not allow the Hermit Crabs to get cold for long periods or they can die.
Humidity ranges should be around 76-85% relative, sustained.
With in these levels your crabs and their home will be
a happy and active one.
If it gets too warm, you can always prop up the lid, same if the humidity gets too high, prop the lid up. To add Moisture or humidity add an extra moist sponge or even a bubbler in their water dish.
Use only de-chlorinated or bottled water for everything
Hermit Crabs related. The chemicals in tap water (chlorine and heavy metals are toxic to Hermit Crabs; also will burn their modified gills.)
You can treat tap water by using a water conditioner for fish; make sure their drinking water doesn't have stress-coat in it though.
Land Hermit Crabs must have both fresh and salt water in their tank at all times. The salt should be obtained from a good aquarium store or pet department. It should be natural marine or oceanic salt mix and follow the directions carefully.
The fresh water should be de-chlorinated as well. Both dishes should be deep enough for your largest Hermit Crab to fully submerse it's self, while at the same time provide items like shells, smooth stones for your smaller crabs to use to get in and out of the water.
Deep water pools allow the crabs to flush and refresh their shell water and keep them selves hydrated and clean. They will flush out debris like sand and feces and will also equally interchange between the salt and fresh waters to adjust the salinity of the shell water they carry.
Another time you may find crabs soaking up water prior to molting to help soften their exoskeleton, or when they are overheated. Hermit crabs have also been observed “swimming” in the water pools for fun.
Your pet hermit crab’s tank should have decorations and activity areas for them to hide, climb and exercise. Each crab should have it’s own place to hide and be by it’s self.
You can use coco-nut caves made from coconut shells cut in half and with a door, pre-made aquarium or retile cage caves etc.
We also suggest fish netting and plastic leafy vines attached with hooked suction cups. Imitation or natural drift wood as well as smooth stones and rocks can be used.
Crabby safe items
Anything that is plastic can be used within a crab tank.
Plastic coated wire items must be used with caution because hermit crabs will pinch and ingest the plastic, exposing the metal to the warm and humid tank, rust will appear within a day.
Painted items also must be used with care because there is a risk of peeling and the curious crabs tasting the paint.
The above are just the bare boned basics.Source(s): ==A Home For Hermie, Land Hermit Crab Rescue== We are a not for profit Land Hermit Crab Rescue, Educational Facility, Rehab Center AND Advocacy Service Provider. We will take in any number, breed or condition of land hermit crabs. We will help anyone and everyone with their hermit crabs questions and needs. We will rehabilitate sick, injured, molting and dying land hermit crabs. We will step in and save abused and neglected land hermit crabs and take the necessary steps to prevent further abuse. We will visit schools and stores for educational speeches and hands on exhibits. EDUCATION We also help and educate all future and current owners. We are happy to answer all of your questions and help with setting up your crabitat. We answer all emails in a timely and friendly manner and take pride in our personal service. We can help all future and current owners, be it a retail store, a teacher or school, or the at home owner. We will answer all of your questions form the basic to advanced set-ups, temperature and humidity requirements, safe and unsafe foods, aggression prevention, mites and other insects, injury and stress prevention and help, information of proper shells due to size and species, species ID, molting assistance, new crab introductions, recipes, first aid assistance, safe hermit crab items found at home and in stores, history and biological information on the Land Hermit crabs and Marine Hermit crabs. (and the list goes on) If you need to chat via IM, please email us to set up an appointment. ADVOCACY As Advocates to land hermit crabs we will gladly contact any and all pet stores in any location if they are lacking in knowledge or have in store set-up problems. We will send letters, emails and make calls when needed. We will step in where ever and whenever abuse or neglect is found to take place. It can be on either the private or retail level, in either circumstance we will do what it takes to save the hermit crabs, improve the situation and bring to justice the wrongs being committed. HISTORY We have studied and researched land hermit crabs for over 15 years and have owned and worked with them throughout that time as well. Our eldest crab has been with us for those 15 years. To date we have only had 4 deaths. This year alone we have experienced over 30 molts, all of which have been successful. Started as a pet sitting week, ended up being a life long obsession. We currently have 49 Land Hermit crabs under our care at our forever home facility, we have placed about 400 into their forever homes elsewhere and constantly work on expanding our knowledge and spreading the word. We are a Christian family of three living in Florida, we have dedicated our lives to these wonderful and misunderstood creatures. We have a love for our Earth, nature and animals in general, always wanting to make a difference, we have finally done so, by founding "A Home For Hermie, Land Hermit Crab Rescue" The world's only Land Hermit crab rescue, rehab, advocacy and educational center. All services that we provide are free of charge. We do encourage you to share our link with people who may benefit from our help. We have also published our ultimate land hermit crab carebook and resource manual. It has everything from the natural history of our beloved pets to proper care, safe and unsafe foods, caresheets, health and behavioral issues and how to correct those issues. We have included how to determine the gender of your crabs, and what to expect with your new pet hermit crab, including a shopping list of supplies and a log sheet of your new pet crabs. GOTO--> http://www.cafepress.com/crabrescue.71517005 and get your copy today! Our home on the Web at: http://www.geocities.com/hermitcrab_rescue/ New Forum too for both the USA and CANADA!: http://crabrescue.proboards102.com/index.cgi Our Blog at: http://mexicrabs.blogspot.com/
- PatriciaLv 44 years ago
They are not easy to take care of. I had 2 when I was young and I didn't really do anything. My sister did all the work, so I don't know the answers to your other questions. But you should DEFINITELY get 2 hermit crabs. After all, everyone needs a friend of their own species right?
- Anonymous1 decade ago
Oh my god, PLEASE don't listen to that previous answerer.
http://www.hermit-crabs.com for the RIGHT information on how to take care of a hermit crab.
They have certain temperature and humidity requirements. The need a certain type of substrate (sand, most often) and things to climb on. They need company of their own kind. They need room to move around. They need someone who is willing to research and understand that the crap that most places sell as "crab habitats" (like those plastic lunchbox looking things) can't provide what a crab needs. They most definitely DO NOT "eat sponges".
Depending on the size and the number of crabs, an aquarium (10 gal for small ones, 20-L for larger ones, which provides more floor space) is a good choice for a crabitat. You can control the humidity by putting plastic over some of the screened lid. I used Play Sand from Home Depot and had it deep enough for them to dig in so they could completely bury themselves if they wanted. It was also moist enough that they could dig out a cave without it collapsing on them.
They were fed FMR crab food and treats, as well as bits of fruit, non-sugary cereals, veggies, etc. They are omnivorous scavengers in the wild, but you need to make sure that what they're eating doesn't have pesticides on it, nor is so high in "junk" (sugar, preservatives, etc) that it will be bad for them.
Water MUST be dechlorinated for them to drink - the chlorine will eventually kill them. Water dishes should be deep enough that the crab can dunk his shell (they carry some water in their shell to keep their soft abdomen area moist), but not so deep that they can't get out (because they can drown). Sponges can help with humidity, as well as letting crabs choose to drink from the sponge instead of the pool of water. NO, they are NOT "eating the sponge". (::banging head against brick wall::)
Bathing them every week is generally recommended to help make up for the rainfall that they don't get in captivity.
They love toys to climb on. Anything they can get their claws into and get a good purchase will turn into a jungle gym. Make sure that the toys can be cleaned thoroughly, though.
They can be wonderful pets, and a ton of fun to watch. But they're not the "easy keepers" that some pet stores and kiosks want you to believe (after all, if you get a crab and it dies after four months, you come back and get another crab, so the kiosk makes more money!).
Contrary to popular misconception, they actually have a long lifespan. There are a pair that have been pets for almost 30 years. But people don't know how to take care of them (like the person who posted above), so they end up killing them.
- 1 decade ago
When you first get hermit crabs they are not easy to care for. Since you are having to get the tank set up, get the temperature and humidity regulated and get the hermies over their destressing time and for them to live through it.
After 2 or 3 months, with hermies things get alot easier and not much cost into caring for them.
When you first start out setting up a hermie tank, you are looking at spending at least $50 to get everything you need. Once you get it all set up, you might spend $10 every other month, depending on your substrate you use and your food.Source(s): Sabrina 60 hermies since July 2004 and 2 Raccoons May 2006. http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/oimsofunny/my_photos http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HermieSwap/ http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HermiesTalk/
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- Anonymous1 decade ago
well i owned one they are somewhat easy and somewhat not.
They don't need that much stuff (only a cage with sand or pebbles and hermit crab food and sponge with water) but in the winter time, since their natural climate is tropical its hard to keep their cages warm. I usually stuck the cage in the bathroom when it's all humid and they loved that.
Don't expect it to live very long but its always fun!
- 1 decade ago
i'm thinking of getting some too! do a search engine for hermit crabs and you'll find a lot.
- 1 decade ago
hermet crabs are so easy to care for put then in a clear fish bowl*no water*put some fish decorations in it and they eat sponges *see so easy*
- 1 decade ago
i had some...they died....hard to care for...die really easy.........dont get one!!!!