Your hermit crab has an external skeleton covering the entire
upper part of its body. Once a year it will moult - that is, shed or
cast off its old skin so it can get on with the process of growing.
During this time it will burrow down and disappear from view, as
it is waiting for its new outer shell to harden. This is a critical time;
so do not try to pick it up or even touch the shedding shell.
BEWARE: If disturbed during the shell hardening process, usually
taking between 22 and 30 days, your hermit crab can die. The best
thing you can do it let nature take it’s course without interference.
hermit crabs.indd 1
Fresh water dish
Salt water dish
Now that your hermit crab is hibernating, waiting for it’s new
external skeleton to harden, it is time to think of a new home for
it. This means having a selection of empty shells for your hermit
crabs to choose from. Measure the opening of your crab’s current
shell and add 7mm. This is the opening size of the new shell. There
is a large, vibrant range of shell designs available at Pet City to
suit your personal taste. Most hermit crabs like to change their
house on a regular basis, so having shells the same size as it’s
current home is essential as well.
Hermit crabs will get used to being handled the more you pick
them up and place in your hand.
If your hermit crab pinches you, it is only because it is trying to
hold on. Remember that hermit crabs use their pinchers to climb!
Always handle you hermit crabs with clean hands.
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14/05/2012 4:47:11 PM
The Land Hermit Crab
This hermit crab has evolved to live
on land and uses an empty shell
as a portable home as well as for
It is believed that hermit crabs left the
ocean to become true land animals
millions of years ago. They can only
breath air and will drown if submerged
in water that may be too deep for
them for any length of time.
After hatching from eggs laid in the
sea by their mother, the young crabs
are merely plankton until about a
month later when they develop into a
They then crawl ashore looking for a discarded shell of another
animal to call home.
In the wild, hermit crabs live in groups and usually travel in packs
that roam at night in search of food.
Land hermit crabs are ‘decapods’, which means they have ten
The forward central pair of legs are different to each other - the
left has a larger pincher, usually purple; this is used for climbing
and defence, while the smaller right pincher is used for eating and
assisting in climbing.
The second and third pair of legs are called ‘ambulatory legs’ and
are used for walking.
The fourth and fifth pair of legs never come out of the shell. These
legs are used to hold onto the shell and manoeuvre the shell when
the crabs are on the move.
Like other species of crabs their eyes are situated on stalks
extending from the head. This allows them great panoramic view
of their surroundings.
Hermit crabs have very good sight and are sensitive to movement.
Hermit Crab Housing
Land hermit crabs need warmth and humidity for their wellbeing.
Your tank size will depend on how many hermit crabs you are
going to be housing, they need adequate room for burrowing,
climbing, eating, drinking and bathing.
A glass tank or the Krabooz ‘Life Ring’ are suitable enclosures.
Substrate: Use sand or Krabooz ‘Sand’ (peat)
Decoration: Driftwood and rocks for climbing (ensure these are
untreated and cleaned thoroughly before use)
Dishes: Small food dish
Shallow drinking dish with pebbles in the bottom
Shallow bathing dish with pebbles in the bottom
Change your decorations around each time you clean out the
cage so your hermit crabs have a whole new environment to
Hermit crabs are tropical animals and need heat and humidity to
survive. Do not allow your hermit crab enclosure to drop below
The ideal temperature is a constant 30°C and the ideal humidity
level is 70%. Using humidity and temperature gauges is the best
way to ensure a happy hermit crab environment.
Heating your hermit crab enclosure is best done by using under
tank heat pads that stick to the underneath of your enclosure,
remember to monitor the temperature using a temperature
Humidity is very important to the survival of your hermit crabs. As
hermit crabs have gills, as opposed to lungs, the air they intake
hermit crabs.indd 2
Comical Crabs make
They are interesting,
intelligent, odour free,
very quiet and very clean.
Salt Water Bath
must be moist, otherwise it will result in dried out gills, suffocating
your hermit crabs. To help keep your enclosure moist and humid,
we suggest regular misting with a water bottle. Be careful not to
saturate the enclosure and always use dechlorinated water.
Hermit Crabs are not fussy eaters as they scavenge for whatever
In captivity they will eat almost anything, including meats, fruit,
vegetables and cereals. Mealworms will also be heartily devoured.
Make sure they have a good staple prepared food (available here
at Pet City) in a shallow dish at all times.
These crabs also enjoy treats in small amounts, such as:
Cooked Brown Rice
Basil and Parsley
Dry Dog food
Remember to remove any spoiled food immediately. They also
enjoy munching on decaying wood (not cedar or pine).
Land hermit crabs also like fresh plants, including leaves, stalks,
roots and cacti. Make sure your crabs do not have access to
It may seem that your crab never eats, but don’t worry, crabs can
go for long periods without eating.
Their normal food intake is a lot less than we think, despite this, be
sure that there is free food for them at all times.
Salt water should be prepared and placed in a shallow dish
with small rocks in the bottom to ensure your hermit crabs can
climb out. To prepare water, mix 5g salt to 150ml filtered or
dechlorinated water. Change water daily.
Hermit crabs like a clean and unspoiled environment.
Here are a few cleaning tips to keep your new pet happy and
Wash all dishes and decorations regularly, ensuring you
rinse and dry well.
Spot Clean your enclosure daily to remove droppings, mould
and spoiled food.
To clean empty shells, soak in salt water and dry thoroughly.
Fresh drinking water should be available at all times. Water used
should be filtered or de-chlorinated if using town tap water.
Use a shallow dish, placing some small rocks at the bottom. This
will allow your hermit crabs to climb out of the dish.
Remember, hermit crabs will drown if submerged in water for
extended periods of time.
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