Care For Land Hermit Crabs




Luke R. Scime








For those with a taste for the exotic a hermit crab is a good choice. You should be aware that a hermit crab can take up to a half an hour a day to care for. (see page 7 ). But if your crabs are given good care they may live up to 25 years average is 15 years. Crabs are social animals so getting a few would be a good idea. A 10 gallon tank can hold up to 5 small crabs about 2 inch). I suggest that you read this first then get your supplies then your hermit crabs. Hermit crabs are also mainly nocturnal. Oh , and by the way it is extremely rare for them to have babies in captivity.



Anatomical Diagram







Selecting a Healthy Crab



Selecting a healthy crab is very important. A healthy crab should retreat into itsí shell when disturbed or startled. Itís antennae should be active as-well You should check him/her for small insect like mites. Avoid buying a crab from a place where there are dead or injured crabs. Make sure there is a water source in the cage. Avoid buying a dehydrated crab at all costs!










There are pre-made foods such as, F.M.R. crab food, F.M.R. crab treats, crab casein ZooMedsí wet food and other. Put the food in shells such as oyster and clamshells. Replace daily. (see page 7). You can also feed them a few fresh treats such as


1 peanut butter

2 spinach

3 strawberries

4 Saltines crackers

5 apple (slices cubes core )

6 banana (mushy)

7 grapes halved and squeeze)











When a crab becomes ill their is very little you can do. But you must separate him/her from the others by putting the crab in an iso-unit. You can try soaking it in a mild solution of tropical fish antibiotics & water ( unfortunately results have proved inconclusive ). Your iso-unit can also be used to put your crab in during the molting period for a sense of privacy.









I would use a 10 gallon tank to keep your crabs in, and a plastic cage for an iso-unit. I do not suggest using a wire cage because they may harm them selves on the wire. I use bone-aid sand as substrate. If you may have the problem of other pets getting into the cage you may want to buy a metal mesh lid to go over the top. Climbing is an important part of their activities. Because of that you need to get a store bought real wood log. You may also want to by a Habba Hut as this gives them spot to hide/sleep. You can also put in a few artificial plants in their enclosure.







Since when a hermit crabs molt they grow (do not be afraid when you see what appears to be a dead crab in your cage it is most likely just the skin left over from the molting process). It is essential to have several shells slightly bigger then their current homes. They can not have holes in them since they store water in their shells. Also be sure to give them only shell with round openings.






Water is as important to them as air is to us. So you must make sure that they have both fresh & salt water. Add to the fresh water 2 drops of ReptaSafe per cup. Add 2 drops of RetaSafe and a pinch of marine salt per cup for the salt water. See more on page 7. I suggest that you make pre-prepared water for each week. You should put a natural sea sponge in the fresh water. Humidity is also important. The humidity must stay at or above 70%. If you live in a dry climate you may want put a damp cloth over part of the wire mesh lid.








Heating is very important. You keep their air temperature between 70 80 degrees F. The substrate temperature should be kept between 74 81 degrees F. To maintain these temperatures you can use a heat pad & 15 watt heat-lamp for secondary heat. You can also have a 15 to 25 watt night bulb






Craberarium Design Ideas















1 P.P. crabs are also called tree crabs.


2 Hermit crabs have gills like fish.


3 Tree crabs come from the Caribbean.


4 Tree crabs claws fade to purple at the end.


5 There second stage is aquatic.


6. Hermit crabs have tiny tusk like pointed bone on the end of the legs.



The sand in at least half the cage should be at least 3 inches deep.


I would feed your crabs somewhere between 4:00 8:00.


You should only put crabs that are about the same size in the same tank.


A recommended web-site: Vanessas' Land Hermit Crab Care 101.


A recommended book: Proper Care and Maintenance for Hermit Crabs By: Josh Klavir.









Take out the food shells. Then rinse. Next dry with a paper towel. Then, fill them with food according to a schedule such as this:

Sun. F. M. R. treat & regular food

Mon. F. M R. regular food

Wed. fresh treat & F. M. R. regular food

Next check for any uneaten food in the enclosure, if you find any throw it away.

Next rinse out the fresh water bowel & dry with a paper towel. Then rise and squeeze dry the sponge. Next fill it up with the pre-prepared water and replace the sponge. Then wash the salt dish & dry with paper towels. Next fill it up with the pre-pared water.

Next mist each crab lightly. Then dampen the cloths that I talked about earlier. You must wash your hands after you feed them!







Wipe down the sides of the of the tank with a damp cloth then dry with paper towels. Change humidity cloth. Change the pre-prepared water. Next encourage them to take a bath in their salt pond. Next just quite simply play with them.








Wash all plastic objects in vinegar then rinse with water & dry with a paper towel. Then boil all shells and coral for about 20 min. Throw away old sand. Then rinse tank with water. Next dip paper towels in vinegar and wipe down the tank. Next rinse tank again with water. Then dry off the tank with paper towels. The put in the new. Now replace the stuff. Finally you can take the crabs out of the iso-unnit and put them back in their cage.








Check List




1 F. M. R. regular food

2 F. M. R. treats

3 2 food shells

4 ReptaSafe

5 1 sponge

6 1 fresh water dish

7 1 salt water dish

8 mister

9 spoon

10 marine salt


Climbing/ Plants/Tanks

11 drift wood

12 artificial plants

13 10 gallon glass aquarium

14 screen cover

15 iso-unit/carrying cage




16 1 heat pad

17 15-25 watt night time bulb

18 thermometer

19 humidity gage

20 bone-aid sand




21 3-7 exchange shells

22 small bits of coral

23 small bits of shell

24 small shells




25 paper towels

26 vinegar




27 gravel

28 sponge

29 fresh water dish

30 1 food shell

31 artificial plant