Welcome To Your Hermit Crab Starter Kit Experience
It is important to give your crabs a bath upon arrival. They have had a long trip and need to replace the water they have stored in their shell with clean water.
See ‘Give Your Crabs a Bath’ section.
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. Put your 6 coco pellets into the habitat with 1 1/2 cups of water. After 1 hour of soaking the coco pellets, remove the outer wrapper of the pellet and spread the fiber in the bottom of the habitat. Note how damp the fiber is. Crabs like the humidity from this moisture and it is good to use the sprayer to keep the fiber moist. Add the other items to your 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 fiber and remove any solid waste.
GIVE YOUR CRABS A BATH: Your crabs love to have a bath. They use this time to replace the water they store in their shell with fresh water and remove any waste they have been storing. It is important to give your crabs a bath upon arrival. They have had a long trip and need to replace the water they have stored in their shell with clean water. Crabs need a bath twice a week for around 30 minutes to stay healthy. 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.
EXERCISE: Crabs love to climb – the Cholla 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.
Hermit Crab Facts:
Q: How long before I get my Hermit crabs?
A: If your kit came with a certificate for crabs, mail, fax, or email it to us per the instructions. Allow 2 weeks for them to arrive.
Q: Can I order crabs during the winter?
A: Yes! We ship crabs year-round. Expect a shipping delay if it’s below freezing in your area.
Q: How many crabs can I put in my habitat?
A: Only 3 small size crabs will fit in the habitat.
Q: Do I need a special heat source?
A: Crabs like temperatures of 70 or higher. You may need to buy our heat light if your home gets very cold at night.
Q: What if I run out of crab food or water treatment solution?
A: Your local pet shop carries these. You can use any water treatment made for fish tanks that removes chlorine and neutralizes metals.
Q: A crab is missing a leg. Will it be OK?
A: Yes. Crabs will regrow limbs when they molt.
Q: Do you give a Guarantee?
A: Yes. We guarantee your crabs will arrive alive. After they arrive we can no longer guarantee them.