7 Things You Need to Know Before Buying a Hermit Crab

Hermit crabs can be great, long-lasting pets. They’re fairly low-maintenance but unfortunately most crab owners neglect even the simple duties required to give your crab a goof life. Usually, this is due to a lack of research and planning, so I’m here to solve that problem! Of course, when buying any animal you should always thoroughly research the care of that pet beforehand, but here are a few tips to get you started!

  1. Hermit crabs, despite their name, are social animals. When purchasing a hermit crab, make sure to get at least two, preferably 3 or more, for happier crabs.
  2. They need saltwater AND freshwater. Make sure to provide both types of water in shallow dishes (just deep enough for the crab to be immersed in, but not so deep that the water covers their shell) so the crabs can decide for themselves what they need. Also, DO NOT USE TABLE SALT.  Table salt contains iodine which is extremely harmful to hermit crabs.
  3. They can’t live in those tiny 1/2 gallon plastic containers. Hermit crabs need at least a 10 gallon aquarium to thrive, with plenty of extra shells and things to climb on.
  4. DO NOT USE GRAVEL AS A SUBSTRATE.  Gravel prevents the crabs from burrowing when they molt and it is overall terrible for them. The best substrate you can get for them is  mixture of sand and coconut fiber, with some sphagnum moss mixed in. The proportions can vary between the specific crabs. Also, hermit crabs need a thick layer of substrate to burrow in when they molt, at least as deep as your largest crab.
  5. DO NOT USE PAINTED SHELLS. Painted shells are terrible for your crab, please never ever use them. EVER.
  6. Keep the area humid! Hermit crabs breathe through gills, so if the enclosure is too dry they won’t be able to breathe properly. Humidity also helps them molt, and will keep their water bowls from evaporating quickly which saves you time! It’s a win-win, and an absolute necessity. You should purchase a hygrometer to monitor how moist the enclosure is (they prefer a humidity of about 80%)
  7. Hermit crabs need the tank warm too. They come from tropical areas, and good animal owners always try to replicate their pets’ natural habitats. As long as the temperature doesn’t dip below 65 degrees F, you should be good. (Preferably the tank will be about 70-80 degrees, but the rare slight dip is ok.) An easy way to keep it warm is a heat lamp on one side of the tank, so they can have a warm side and a cool side.


Thank you for reading this post! I hope you liked it and comment below if you have a hermit crab!

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