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Hermit Crabs Care Sheet

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Congratulations, you are about to learn all about Hermit Crabs. They are active and entertaining pets that are relatively low maintenance. Hermit crabs can live for a year or more in the Habitat.

Your Kit Contains
* Plastic transport cup with 2 Hermit Crabs
* 2 Gallon size plastic Habitat with removable vented lid
* Hermit Crab Food
* Plastic Palm Tree and Plastic Plant
* 2 Extra Shells
* Bag of Coconut Fiber
* Exercise Choya Wood Log
* Sponge and Feeder Clam Shell
* Water Mister
* Water Treatment solution

You will need to Provide
* Small bowl to give the Crabs a bath
* Container to store treated water in

A Hermit Crab’s Life

Hermit Crabs are not actually ‘hermits’. They are very social creatures and like company. That’s why we sell them only as a pair – we don’t want a sad lonely Crab!
The Hermit Crab’s shell is not actually part of its body – it is a borrowed snail shell that it uses to hide its soft tail in and store water. Hermit Crabs grow by molting and need to move into a larger shell, so it is important to have slightly larger shells available in the Habitat with them.  Sometimes they just want a change and may try out the empty shells in the Habitat.
When a Hermit Crab molts, it will regenerate any lost limbs. Sometimes it takes a few molts, but they will all regrow. When Crabs are ready to molt, they will bury themselves in the coconut fiber for 2-6 weeks, then when they emerge they will shed their old skeleton and move into a larger shell.
Crabs are most active at night – this is called being ‘nocturnal.’ Because they are active at night and can be noisy creatures, you may want to consider keeping the Habitat out of a bedroom unless you are a sound sleeper.

Setting Up The Habitat
Hermit Crabs live along the shores of tropical areas so appreciate a moist environment. The coconut fiber is a great substrate because it holds some moisture to keep the habitat slightly humid. Open your bag of coconut fiber and spread it evenly over the bottom of the Habitat.
Place the palm tree, plastic plant, wood log and 2 extra shells into the Habitat. Crabs like to rearrange their Habitat so don’t be surprised if they move everything around.
Place the Habitat somewhere warm – the Crabs appreciate a temperature of 70° or warmer. But keep them out of direct sunlight where they can easily overheat.

Caring for Your Hermit Crabs
Feeding: There are many commercial diets available at the pet store for feeding your Crab. We have included some for you. Hermit Crabs will eat a wide variety of foods and it can be fun to experiment to see which your pet crabs like the best. Try fruits and vegetables, tuna fish, peanut butter, crackers or potato chips. Grapes, raisins and popcorn are Crab favorites. Use the little clamshell we have provided as a food dish. Hermit crabs eat very little amounts so only offer a tiny portion. Excess food will simply go to waste. Replace any food that may spoil each day. Crabs sometimes only eat at night so you may never see them eating.

Water: Water is of ultimate importance to a Hermit Crab. Hermit Crabs have gills like fish. They breathe by taking oxygen out of water. They store water inside their shell. To provide water, first fill a container with tap water. A ½ gallon soda bottle works well, or any other container that is easy to store. Use the Water Treatment solution per the instructions on the bottle to remove any chemicals that may be harmful to the Crabs. Let this water sit out for 2 hours until it becomes room temperature.  Then, soak the sponge with the water and set it in the larger clamshell with a bit of water in the bottom of the clamshell. Be sure to keep water in the Habitat at all times because the water and humidity is very important to the health of the Crabs. More water conditioner is available at pet stores; you can use any water conditioner used to prepare water for fish.

Humidity:  Crabs like high humidity. Use the mister to give the crabs a misting every day with the treated water. This increases the humidity in the Habitat. They enjoy the misting and it will frequently make them very active right afterwards.

Cleaning the Habitat: All creatures including Crabs need a clean environment. Make sure to clean the food and water clamshells at least weekly. Sift through the sand and remove any solid waste.

Give Your Crabs a Bath:  Your Crabs love to have a bath. The first day your Crabs arrive they have had a long trip and may be dehydrated and would enjoy a bath. We suggest every 3 to 7 days to give them a bath for around an hour. Fill a small bowl with ¼ inch of the treated room temperature water. Place your Crabs in the bowl. This water should not be any higher than ¼ of the way up a Crab’s shell. After a few minutes, the Crabs will usually start to be very active and play in the water. They use this time to replace the water they store in their shell with fresh water and remove any waste they have been storing.

Exercise: Crabs love to climb – the Choya wood log is great exercise for them. Exercise is important to make sure they stay healthy. You can also add some rocks to the Habitat for more exercise if you’d like, but be careful that they are placed so a rock cannot fall on them if they are climbing on it.

Handling Hermit Crabs
Adult supervision is required when handling the Crabs because they can inflict a painful pinch if they feel threatened. Only handle them over soft surfaces or close to the ground in case they fall. With a bit of time, your Crab will learn to trust you and will crawl on you without a defensive pinch. You can pick up the Crab firmly by the back of its shell, keeping fingers away from claws, to avoid a pinch. If you are pinched, you can put your hand under warm running water in the sink and wait for it to let go.

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