Mom Life

Hermit Crabs: Not the Simple Pet I Remember

My son recently came home with two hermit crabs in a shoe box and a sack of supplies. I was baffled by the array of food pellets, water conditioners, special sand and various sponges. I recall having a hermit crab when I was little, and apparently they are not the simple pets I remember. Maybe that’s why I don’t remember my crab living very long…

two hermit crabs

Meet Pinchy and Crabby

After some googling and a trip to the pet store, Pinchy and Crabby were relocated into a spacious 10 gallon tank complete with special sand, things to climb and play on, shells to change into when they grow.

hermit crab tank

Pinchy earned his named by latching onto my son’s curious finger and refusing to let go. I didn’t even know hermit crabs actually pinched! I am a little apprehensive now about handling Pinchy. He seems to spend most of his time hiding anyway. Crabby, on the other hand, is actually quite social and always running around the tank exploring.

Creating a Happy Hermit Crab Home

First I needed to get them a decent home so I went to the pet store for a glass tank and found a good sized 10 gallon one for $15. You can find all the little stuff like food, sand, huts, etc. on Amazon, but everything was much cheaper at the pet store!

Once you have your tank, you need to fill it with sand so they can burrow in it and get around. But not just any sand! It needs to be clean, special sand substrate. I also got a couple coconut fiber bricks to mix in. One bag of sand and one brick equalled a pretty good amount. The only thing I’m still waiting on to arrive is the salt water mix so I’ll be adding that on Monday.

hermit crabs as pets

Hermit Crab Food and Water

You can feed hermit crabs food pellets, various food mixes and even fresh fruits and vegetables! I read that some have a sweet tooth and it’s possible to hand or spoon feed them. And for the water, they require a dish of fresh water and a dish of salt water. But again, not just any water will do! So you need to buy special water conditioner and special salt for your special little crabs. It’s also recommended to put a small sea sponge in the water to help the crabs get in and out of the bowl.

Extra Shells and Hermit Huts

The more you read about hermit crabs, the more stuff they seem to need. We gave them hermit huts to hide in, a special stick they can crawl on and eat, and extra shells they can change into. You are also supposed to clean out the extra shells every few months because they poop in their shells!

Enjoy the Next 10 Years

By taking good care of your crabby little buddies, they can actually live up to 10 years! I feel a little bad thinking back to my first hermit crab and his short probably miserable life, so I may be making up for it by spoiling these guys. They like to eat at night, so usually after dinner I make a tiny plate with tiny chopped up leftovers and leave it for them to nibble on overnight. I really did not want to get any new pets right now, but when a friend gives you crabs, you make the best of it. (haha)

hermit crab on hand

1 reply »

  1. Thanks for the knowledge! I’ll be graduating from college this winter and I honestly want to get a pet with my soon-to-exist job. So…these kinds of posts and articles are very helpful to me. I’ve had pets before but this will be my first time in a while having one and having a lot more time to interact with it.

    Stay groovy~



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