Anybody have hermit crabs?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by AKsmama, Jul 10, 2011.

  1. AKsmama

    AKsmama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 20, 2010
    South Carolina
    We came home from the beach yesterday with three land hermit crabs. I knew my 8 year old daughter would ask for some. I did some research online while we were there to make sure I knew the basics, so we chose 3 yesterday morning right before heading home (I'm pretty sure they are all "purple pinchers," a Caribbean species). We already had an unused 10 gallon aquarium, so after we got unpacked, the girls and I headed off to the pet store for the food and dishes and a hiding log. I got all-purpose sand at Home Depot and made sure it was moist, then put in a dish of fresh water, a dish of salt water, and a bit of food and their hidey-log. Once they discovered the salt water, they drank lots of it. The dish was almost empty this morning. We have a thermometer and a hygrometer in with them and they seem ok for now. The biggest retreated under the log, dug out a shallow hole, and hung out there most of the day, but is venturing out now. The other two crawled around a bit but not too much. We know they are nocturnal and that's fine. We did get to see them crawling around exploring last night and eating a bit. They are really cool to watch.

    Thank goodness for the internet and all its information. No wonder so many hermies die in captivity, the way they are fed and handled (meaning incorrect temp and humidity, and lack of proper substrate. Hermies do not do well living on aquarium rocks or plain wire cages). I hope these guys do well. It's kind of like with chickens- I am already saying "They need more space," and more this and that. . . if I'm going to have them, I want to take care of them as best I can!
  2. Hot2Pot

    Hot2Pot Fox Hollow Rabbitry

    Feb 1, 2010
    West TN
    We used to have them and they loved peanut butter and Apple slices for treats;-)
  3. AKsmama

    AKsmama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 20, 2010
    South Carolina
    That's what I have read! I'll get some apples at the store this week. I'm pretty sure these guys haven't seen fresh food in a while. Supposedly they like applesauce (unsweetened) and some baby foods.
  4. annageckos

    annageckos Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 6, 2009
    SE PA / NJ
    I love hermits. I usually keep them them on a reptile soil type bedding, with an area of sand. Also make sure you offer fresh water too. They will eat anything. They are scavengers. I would give a little fish to mine (when I had them), they love it, and lots of fresh fruit and veggies. I never bothered with prepared hermit food, most of it is junk anyways. Either get a small heat light (house hold bulb works fine) or an under tank heater (sold with reptile supplies). Make sure to have lots of shells in different sizes. That is very important if you have multiple hermits together. Sometimes one will be a bully and steal a shell from another crab, literally pull them right out of their shell. Make sure to keep the humidity up in the tank too. And have the bedding a couple of inches deep so they can hide when molting. Don't be surprised if they go into hiding for a couple of days, leave them be because chances are they are molting, and they are fragile at that time. They are neat animals, and can live for years if cared for right.
  5. thekid

    thekid Chillin' With My Peeps

    Used to have them I am reconsidering about getting them again though. And you need some extra shells ones that are a little bigger.
  6. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    I had those when I was a kid along with those tiny water turtles. They are sooo cute!!!
  7. Amp

    Amp Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 20, 2011
    I have 22 in a 75g hermit crab paradise [​IMG] They need fresh water (dechlorinated) and salt water (instant ocean, etc) available at all times. I do not feed commercial crab food only fresh food and food from or
    They love to climb so provide them with choya wood, greenery, etc. They also need several shells, some a little smaller and some a little bigger so they have a choice. I use a heat pad on the back side of the tank and it keeps my tank pretty cozy. It's harder to control humidity in a smaller tank but I used a screen lid and then had a piece of plexi glass cut at lowe's and used that on top of the screen lid to help control humidity. They like to bury down to destress so they could disappear for weeks at a time. They also molt a couple of times of year so if they are molting they could be down for 2 months. It's best to not disturb them when they dig down. A great website for information is Here is a picture of our tank. I'm glad to help with any questions you may have. They can live a long time if taken care of properly.
  8. dewey

    dewey Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 9, 2010
    north of eternity
    They are such cool creatures, with very individual personalities. Ours liked to make runs for it when they were playing outside their can be almost impossible for 2 people to keep up with them...they can move fast when they want to, lol. Another good site for info:
  9. AKsmama

    AKsmama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 20, 2010
    South Carolina
    Oh, yay, more crabbers! was where I did my initial research, and I've already joined and spent a few hours reading the forums at

    They do have fresh de-chlored water available as well. I am also using some of the chickens' crushed oyster shell for them. I did get some prepared food, simply because I don't think these guys know what fresh food is anymore [​IMG] They seem scared of it. I do know they ate some of the pellets last night. I had mashed a bit of banana for them but I don't know if they ate some of it or just walked through it. I've found several good websites for food and supplements, like worm castings.

    I got a block of the coco-fiber stuff and will mix it with sand when we get a bigger tank, hopefully soon. At this point, in the summer, I don't think we need a heat source. We keep our house at 78 degrees and the humidity of the house is around 80, even with an air conditioner running. The tank hasn't dropped below 80 degrees and the humidity is around 80 as well. In the fall/winter we will add a heat source. I did get an under-tank heater, but we need the right sort of table for the tank to sit on so the heat can escape. I know I can stick it on the side too.

    I thought about going to a craft store and seeing if they have shells, then boiling them in salt water before putting them in the tank. (Any new shells would be boiled regardless of where they come from.) If nothing seems appropriate then I'll order online. We have a couple of other shells, but not a good selection, and probably not one the biggest one would want.

    This morning the biggest one has completely buried himself; he was still scraping around under the sand when I got up. I am assuming its for the day but we shall see tonight. He may decide to molt since conditions are better here than in the store. Part of why I want a bigger tank is to make the smaller one an ISO tank so molters can be in peace. We'll see if he is molting, destressing, or just hiding for the day!

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