Hermit Crab
Did you know ??
Hermit crabs have gills similar to a fish, this is why they can breathe under water!
Land Hermit Crabs are one of the most popular and easy to care for pets available

Which crab is right for me?
When deciding on what crab would be most suitable look for the liveliest crab, this crab should have all their legs and claws attached. As they are social creatures it is best to keep them in pairs. They naturally feel more comfortable in small colonies.

Housing
They may appear to be simple creatures however their housing can often be a careful balance of heat, UV lighting and humidity. It is best to keep them in a smooth sided container, as they are exceptional climbers. Smooth sides and glass lids keep even the most energetic crab contained. Glass fish tanks or reptile terrariums make the most suitable “crabitat’. A 40 litre tank would be suitable for 3-4 hermit crabs, remember crabs can grow larger than expected.  Keep in mind the tank will also need to be big enough for 2 x water bowls, 1 x food bowl, ornaments and hide rocks.

Temperature
Hermit crabs are tropical creatures, which means they like it warm and high humidly is a must. Ideal temperatures can be maintained with the use of heat mats or heating globes. Ideally a temperature gradient is around 30C on the warmer end and 21C on the cooler. The temperatures should be monitored and the use of a thermostat would provide peace of mind ensuring the temperatures are maintained. Without the use of a thermostat the setup may potentially under heat or overheat. If it’s not hot enough the hermit crab will seek warmth, be less active, and unable to digest its food 
fully. If it is too high in temperature it will stress your crab out and make the atmosphere too dry.

Humidity
A Common cause of death for hermit crabs is often a lack of humidity. In order to breathe the atmosphere must be kept moist, allowing your crab to exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen. The humidity levels should be maintained between 72-82%, this can be measured with the use of a hydrometer. Misting the inside the tank with distilled water will also help keep this level correct.

Substrate 
The type of bedding used is also important. The bedding allows them to bury themselves while moulting and helps contain correct humidly levels. Often gravel, wood shavings or synthetic materials can cause the atmosphere to dry out. As they will attempt to bury themselves while moulting the substrate should be at least 3 inches in depth.

Feeding 
Hermit crabs are omnivores which means they eat a mixture of proteins and vegetable matter. They are often referred to as scavengers or opportunistic eaters. Commercial pellet foods are an ideal food to feed as this ensures they are eating a balanced diet. Other edible food items may include mealworms, carrots, nuts, oatmeal, eggplant, cucumber and sweet potatoes. Remember to remove all uneaten food within 24 hrs as it will start to spoil.


Water / Salt Water 
Fresh Water should be supplied at all times, place this on the cool side of your setup. The water should be de-chlorinated by using tap water conditioners, as this will also remove heavy metals from the water. Remember not all home filtration systems will completely remove all chlorine and heavy metals from the tap water. Hermit crabs will use this water for bathing and drinking. Saltwater should also be supplied as this will be used to help with the moulting stage. There are special hermit crab salts that should be used and remember to de-chlorinate the salt water as well. Salt water can be measured using a Hydrometer and should be maintained 1.021 – 1.025 salinity.


Moulting 
As hermit crabs grow they need to moult their shell. This can be a very stressful time and by providing sufficient shells to transition into will keep the process more relaxing for the crab. Hermit crabs will often bury themselves before a moult and it is important not to disturb them at this point. Provide a few different larger shells to transition into as they can be can fussy.

Hermit Crab Checklist
  • Glass terrarium
  • Heat light or heat mat
  • UVB 2% Lighting
  • Thermometer / Hygrometer
  • Thermostat (to ensure correct heating is maintained)
  • 3 Bowls (1x Food, 1x Salt water, 1x Fresh water)
  • Food
  • Substrate
  • Replacement shells