February 25, 2016

National Hermit Crab Week: Caring For a Hermit Crab

Just think...you're an avid hermit crab lover and you're about to take your very first crabs home. You imagine the years ahead you have with the little creatures, and you can see yourself letting your little friends crawl up your hand and showing them off to all of your crab loving friends. Surely you can do those things with a well socialized hermit crab, but keeping a crab comes with a price...you have to care for him of course!

Here is a checklist of what you'll need to buy for your new crab.

Tank (preferably at least ten gallons, and also purchase a lid for safety, especially if you have other pets, such as dogs and cats)

Bedding (play sand or hermit crab sand without any artificial ingredients or colors will do)

Crab pellets (it's about $10 a jar, but lasts for many months)

Spray bottle (for keeping tank moist)

Dechlorinated water (the only safe water choice for hermit crabs)

Hermit crab salt (crabs need salt to survive, but table salt is highly toxic to them)

Hiding place (crabs need somewhere to hide...a coconut hut is a great choice)

Objects & toys (things to keep your crabs from getting bored, like rocks, plants, and bridges)

Extra shells (around the size of your crabs, some slightly larger, some slightly smaller)

Heat mat (good if you have a cold home)

Now you know what you'll need for a hermie, but how do you set up their tank and care for them? Let me tell you! When you go to purchase a crab, the pet store will usually give you a cardboard carrier to take your new pet home in, so you don't need to bring anything for your crabs. When you take your crabs home, leave them in the carrier as you set up their habitat. Here are the steps of set up!

1. Put the tank in the location of your choice. Choose wisely where you want to put your crabs. Don't have them in direct sunlight or keep them somewhere where the tank can't easily be knocked over. A dresser, desk, or table are good locations.

2. Once the tank is in your location of choice, pour in the bedding. The sand should be deep enough for your crab to bury itself in the sand deeply when molting.

3. Follow the measurement directions on the back of the hermit crab salt container and mix dechlorinated water with the right amount of salt. You can store the saltwater in a jug. Pour a small amount of the water in a dish or hermit pool that your crab can easily climb out of and that they can easily get to when they want to take a bath.

4. Pour a spoonful of crab pellets into a bowl, or if you have one, a small cap from a bottle, and put it in the tank.

5. Pour dechlorinated water into a small bottle cap and put it in the tank.

6. Place your hiding place for your crabs and your decorations in the tank, and still save room for your crabs to roam and run around.

7. Set the extra shells around your tank.

8. Follow the directions on the heat mat and apply it to the tank.

9. Add the crabs to the tank! Even though you probably want to hold them and watch them scuttle around, give them a few days to explore the tank, and change the water, saltwater, and food every day.

10. Pellets are great for your crabs, but fresh fruit and veggies are also good! Be sure to look up if a certain food is safe for crabs before giving it to your pets.

11. Every month or so (or whenever you want, really) you can rearrange your crabitat if you like to make it more new and exciting to your crabs. Some new things for your crabs to play with won't hurt either! Pet stores, such as Petsmart, have a wide variety of decor for fish that work well in a crabitat.

I hope you enjoyed this post!

I'm redoing my crabitat, so I'll probably show you the finished crabitat later this week.

Brigadier and Lola say bye!


  1. This is really great information, thanks!

    1. No problem! If you have any comments or questions involving hermit crabs (or anything about my blog, really) feel free to use my contact form, and have a great day!

  2. Goodness we heartily approve! Most excellent information for all of The Hands out there.
    Ciao and Little Pinches,
    Beachnut & Shelldon

    1. Thank you! Robin (or should I say the Hands?) provides us with the best care she can offer us and we're grateful to her!


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