Hermit crabs make adorable animals however these little plans of cuteness are remarkably high-maintenance and require really exacting care.
Hermit Crab as Pets: Care Guide
Hermit crabs are commonly thought to be easy to look after, and ideal first family pets for children. Neither of these beliefs is true. Unfortunately, hermit crabs are very hard to keep healthy, and they ought to be kept in groups. Not just are hermit crabs are not hermit-like at all, they are gregarious partiers who will keep a crab-party going all night.
You’ve probably seen the clear plastic critter-carriers and one-gallon fish tanks where hermit crabs are sometimes displayed. These are not safe homes for hermit crabs. In truth, if the critter-carrier has a basic “berry-basket” top for ventilation, the crab within is probably currently dying a slow and painful death. Hermit crabs breathe air through customized gills. They will drown in water, and they have no lungs. If the gills ever dry, the animal remains in severe problem. The resulting death by suffocation can take months, but it is inescapable. Therefore, keeping sufficient humidity in the hermit crab enclosure is really, crucial.
This brings us to the topic of devices.
This list is a very fundamental introduction to the equipment needed to keep crabs healthy.
- An aquarium tank, marine terrarium, or large covered enclosure strong enough to contain damp sand. Make sure the cover is tight enough to avoid the crabs from pushing their way out, that some air can get in, which it keeps moisture inside the tank;
- Water-conditioning fluid, to reduce the effects of chlorine and its by-products in the water;
- Safe sea salt, of the kind sold for marine fish and shellfishes;
- Safe sand, enough to be a few inches (15cm minimum) deep in the tank;
- Water meals, sea sponges, shallow food meals, and a slotted scoop to eliminate leftover food from the sand;
- Quarantine tank, which is generally the complete set-up in mini, for safe moulting;
- Hidey-huts for the crabs to unwind in, during the day;
- Additional shells of the proper shapes and sizes, a minimum of three per crab;
- Thermometers for the sand and hygrometers for the main tank and the quarantine tank;
- Branches and rocks to get on;
- Moss and extra sea sponges for soaking, to assist keep the humidity above 75%; and
- Heating unit for one end of the tank: most hermit crab types like a temperature of 75-80F/ 24-27C on the warm end of the tank.
These cute little crustaceans will keep themselves fit, presuming their tank huges enough. They like to climb, and crawl, and pull. If you are extremely cautious, you can “walk” them across your hands held low over a soft surface area. As the crab moves across one hand, bring the other one around in front. To do this, your hands need to be located side to side, and not fingertip-to-fingertip. Otherwise, the surface area will be too narrow and the small crab will become scared.
Hermit crabs are beachcombing scavengers. As omnivores, they require both meat and plant-matter in their diets. Unfortunately, the commercial crab foods do not make an excellent diet for hermit crabs. They tend to consist of preservatives, but some are safe enough: read the component list. The real issue is that commercial foods are tiring. Crabs don’t like to smell the very same meal twice in a row. They will be happiest if every meal is a little bit different: some fish and a touch of apple today, possibly some chicken and seaweed tomorrow. (Thacker, 1998).
Wash all fruits and vegetables prior to feeding them to your crabs, and use de-chlorinated water to do it. Constantly do everything you can to keep your crabs away from chlorine. Meat can be raw or cooked, or perhaps freeze-dried, however prevent preservatives (including salt).
That’s not to say that everything always has to be fresh. Stock up on an assortment of jars of baby foods. Keep some freeze-dried daphnia, bloodworms, tubifex, and shrimp on hand from the fish tank area of the family pet store. Deal a couple of pieces of low-salt catfood.
Crabs need calcium. The easiest method to offer it is to drop a few cuttlebones onto the floor of the tank. Cuttlebone is sold in the pet-bird section of the family pet shop.
Unlike lots of animals, hermit crabs require two type of water bowls: one with freshwater and one with seawater. The seawater can not be made with salt, since of the iodine in it. Both bowls need to huge enough for the crabs to immerse themselves, and simple to crawl out of so the crabs do not drown. A piece of sea sponge in each bowl makes a hassle-free safety raft.
The hermit crab tank needs to contain a conditioned freshwater bowl and a conditioned saltwater bowl. The precise details of these will differ with the particular species you keep.
Together with the water that the crabs will use for “grooming” themselves, these animals must be provided with a selection of suitable shells. The shapes will differ, once again inning accordance with species, however whatever the species you should provide at least 3 shells per crab in your tank. The shell sizes must be a little smaller than, equal to, and somewhat larger than the crab’s current shell. Please, please, please stay away from painted shells. The “non-toxic” paints are indicated to be non-toxic to your children: they are generally not safe for your hermit crabs.
Hermit crabs are mainly nighttime. They take pleasure in exploring their home, re-arranging things, and seeing how many of them can rest on a perch before it falls over. You’ll hear them clacking away with their claws through the wee hours. If you do the majority of your sleeping at night, you most likely don’t wish to put the crab tanks in the bedroom.
Also, keep in mind that hermit crabs are invertebrates who go through the very same sort of poisons that are used to kill insects and spiders. If people in your area spray their yards, or if someone in your house has the tendency to go after spiders with a can of “bug-spray”, hermit crabs are not for you.
There is no training needed for hermit crabs. While you will need to rescue them from time to time, especially during moults, and you’ll need to supply proper shells for them to pick from, they will act according to their natures.
WHERE TO NEXT?
Are these little men right for you? They are adorable, no question, but they are very hard for newbies to keep healthy and happy. In many methods, parrots and the certified exotics are easier to keep. Perhaps consider a dog rather? Or a pony?
If you have chosen that hermit crabs are the right animal for your household, the next action is to do some reading. This care-sheet has actually only presented you to the barest skim off the top of the information you need. Examine the details of putting together a correct enclosure, and the details of shell replacement, and the details of temperature and humidity. Next, created the primary tank and a quarantine tank, and keep an eye on the humidity and temperature for a week or two. When that is stable, seek out a number of healthy crabs and a good variety of top quality shells for them.
Also read: Tortoises or Turtles as Pets