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FAQs on Terrestrial/Freshwater Hermit Crabs

Related Articles: Terrestrial Hermit Crabs, Freshwater CrustaceansInvertebrates for Freshwater Aquariums by Neale Monks,

Related FAQs: Terrestrial Hermit Crabs 2, & FAQs on Terrestrial Hermits: Terr. Hermit ID, Terr. Hermit Behavior, Terr. Hermit Compatibility, Terr. Hermit Selection, Terr. Hermit Systems, Terr. Hermit Feeding, Terr. Hermit Disease, Terr. Hermit Reproduction. & FAQs on Marine/SW: SW Hermit ID, SW Hermit Behavior, SW Hermit Compatibility, SW Hermit Selection, SW Hermit Systems, SW Hermit Feeding, SW Hermit Disease/HealthSW Hermit Reproduction, &FW Crustaceans 1FW Crustaceans 2

http://landhermitcrabs.com/ http://www.hermit-crabs.com/   http://www.crabbytalk.com

Hermit crabs, human hlth.  5/1/08 Hi I just have a few quick questions. My daughter is very ill and can not be around any disease carrying pets someone suggested a hermit crab to her and she has been searching to see if she can have one. Do they carry any diseases that can be transmitted to humans? <Mmm, not unless the human is badly challenged immunity wise... some waste bacteria...> Are they expensive to take care of? <Mmm, no> I hope to hear form you soon. I would like to purchase a couple as soon as I know if they are safe for her because we don't know how much longer she will be with us and I want to give her what ever she wants but sometimes I can't. She is just recently without her dog due to this illness and now she just wants something she can love. Also if they are safe where is the most reputable place to buy them? I only have corporate pet stores near me like Pet smart and Pet co. <Some of these (due to individual staff) are excellent. I would visit, engage them in conversation... purchase a small book on Hermit husbandry, read it with your child. Oh, and do read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/hermitcrabfaqs.htm for some general care input> Thank you Valeri <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

I'm needing help with feeding. Terr. Hermits... reading I have 2 hermit crabs, they both are doing fine .Well I think they are. They sleep almost all day long, and then seem to want to "play" at night. I have hermit food for them, but they don't seem very interested in eating it. So I have tried fresh food for them. I just started giving them tropical fruits which they seem to love to eat. And then they are very active after that. But how good is it for them to eat pineapple and papaya all the time???? thanks Tammy from Ozark , mo <Mmm, no... likely need a source of minerals as well. Supplemented or included in the food, or the substrate. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/hermitcrabfaqs.htm and the linked files in the top right tray. Bob Fenner>  

Terrestrial Hermit Crab Habitat: How much weight in a terrarium? Sys. 11/8/07 Hey all, <Hello,> First to say, love the site, I keep up with it on a regular basis to make sure that my fish are well taken care of. You guys do a marvelous job! <Thanks.> Next, explaining a bit about my actual question, lol. I recently decided to get into terrestrial hermit crab keeping since I work in a biology lab at my college and they keep one or two little crabs... They're so fun and cute, I started looking into what it takes to keep some of my own. <Ah, yes, they are nice pets. Crustaceans generally make very entertaining pets but they do have specific needs. In the case of a hermit crab, it needs warmth from under the vivarium, a certain amount of humidity, water for bathing in, a varied (mostly plant-based) diet, and (often overlooked) the company of at least two other hermit crabs. The "bath" is one tricky aspect: different species need freshwater, brackish water or salt water baths. Make sure you identify the crabs on sale, and clear this aspect up before purchase. To be fair, the standard species is Coenobita clypeatus and that one is fine with freshwater; but oddball species are also sold, and may be particularly attractive because of their unusual colours and shapes.> For starters, I do have an empty terrarium, which is why I was looking for a new sort of pet to keep, it has ventilation holes with small screen covers, so there is no converting it to a fish tank of any sort, it was meant to be strictly a terrarium. (Originally it was bought to house some Jackson Chameleons, which was many, many years ago and they've hence passed on, unfortunately.) It's made by Oceanic and seems to have fairly thick glass, thicker than my ten gallon at least (roughly twice as much), from what I can tell from general observations. It's also fairly large, roughly three feet by two and another two and a half tall. <Sounds ideal.> Now, onto asking the question. I want to make sure the crabs would have plenty of digging/molting depth, so I was looking at how much sand I'd have to put into this thing... And a site was brilliant enough to bring up the point that some terrariums really aren't meant to handle heavy loads. So I was wondering if it was actually safe to put as much sand as I'd need into it and not risk the tank. Now there's a few things I was thinking of doing... For the record, this terrarium currently sits on a pretty sturdy metal frame work that it came with, but there is no underneath/middle support, it's strictly the frame work that it rests on (I'm not sure how crucial that is, so thought I'd mention it). <You actually don't need masses of sand, and in fact a mix of sand and coconut fibre (available in reptile shops) is the ideal. In the wild they burrow into leaf litter, and this mix replicates this perfectly. The coconut fibre holds moisture well, which is critical to hermit crab health in the long term. Anyway, the mix of fibre with a bit of sand for stability will add very little to the weight of the vivarium.> Now, I can take the tank off the current stand and sit it on the floor (it's tall enough that viewing is still fine like this), so that I don't have to worry much about the weight at all, but I have tile floors and I'm a little worried about the tile lowering the overall temperature of the tank. I could also buy some scrap carpet or material to sit it on so that it won't be directly on the cool tile, if that would make a difference. <The ideal here would be to place polystyrene tiles on the table, put the heating mat on that, and then the vivarium on top. The heating mat should have instructions about this. The loss of heat by conduction through the base of a vivarium is pretty trivial compared with, for example, warm air rising out the top of the tank.> I can also buy a piece of plywood or something and use it as a brace for the bottom of the tank, placing it between the framework and the bottom of the terrarium, but I'm not entirely sure what exactly to use or how well that would work. <Sounds overkill to me.> I could also leave the tank where it is and trust it's sturdy enough to handle the weight of the sand... I'm fairly certain a tank this size was meant to handle fairly heavy reptiles and it's possible I'm worrying over this for no reason whatsoever, but I thought, better safe than sorry, and I should ask some people that might know more about how much weight a terrarium could take. :) <Should be fine. Test it out before adding the animals, and if all seems well, press on!> Alright, think that was all I needed to pester you with. Thank you soooo much for your time and consideration! It's extremely appreciated. ~Caitie <Hope this helps, Neale>

Re: Terrestrial Hermit Crab Habitat: How much weight in a terrarium? 11/8/07 Thanks for the response, I'll pick up some coconut fiber substrate tomorrow to mix in with the sand. That should take some of the weight out of it, I think, not a lot, but still... I was just worried because I know they need a lot of burrowing room so that they'll molt properly, and I do intend to have some jumbos at some point, either from the littles I'll get growing up or just starting with some jumbos. Everything I've read thus far suggests having at least double the crab's height in sand. So yes, I was a little worried that much sand would be fairly heavy. <Mix the sand in with the coconut fibre, with the coconut fibre being 90% by volume. The sand is really there just for stability, though they may also use sand during moulting (crustaceans have structures called statocysts into which grains are sand are placed during moulting; these act as balance organs).> The only thing I have a further question on is the heating pad for underneath the terrarium, wouldn't that be just fine attached to the bottom of the tank, since I'll just leave the tank where it is on the metal framework? (i.e., there would be nothing underneath the heating pad, it would just stick to the exposed bottom.) <Sounds fine. But do check with the specific heater: all are different, and the manufacturer will state best practise for that particular model.> And do I really need an under tank heater if the overall temperature stays around 80? <If you live in Caribbean where these crabs come from, or somewhere else in the tropics, then no, you don't need a heater. But if you live in the continental United States or Europe, then yes, a heater is important. The danger with keeping tropical animals at room temperature is that we don't appreciate the variations across the year. Even in, say, California or Italy, the summertime temperatures might be fine, but in winter once the air temperature drops below 25 C//77 F the poor crabs become stressed. They are adapted to warm, humid conditions. Under tank heaters don't cost very much and cost very little to run. If your home is warm most of the year, then the heater will be off much of the time anyway. But it'll be there as a back-up for when it *does* get cold, producing warmth and humidity, and keeping your crab cozy and active. After all, these crabs are fun when they're scooting about climbing stuff and checking out shells. They are incredibly boring when they are cold, morose, lethargic or sick.> That way the top of the sand would be warm and the under sand would be cool, like in nature? (Least it is if I'm remembering my last trip to the beach correctly, lol.) <In the wild, the soil is actually a "buffer" used to escape extremes in temperature. When it gets too hot (e.g., at midday) these crabs will burrow into the cooler, moist sand. But at other times, for example during storms or cold snaps, the sand will be a relatively warm and dry place they can wait out the bad times. Your job is to provide something as close as possible to the tropics: warm humid air, substrate for digging into, water for bathing, and a glass lid over the tank to keep the humidity inside the vivarium.> Again, thanks for your input. :) <Good luck, Neale.>

Hermit Crab Outside It's Shell*** 09/10/07 Hello, My daughter received a hermit crab for her birthday, so we were unfortunately un-prepared and un-educated regarding this "new pet"...nonetheless, after one week of having him, (and after reviewing hermit crab information), we decided to buy him a "friend". The new hermit crab has been active since the purchase, climbs, and we actually saw him eat, compared to the other ones behavior. (Prior to the new one's arrival, the initial one didn't move around too much, unless outside of it's cage or handled, and we never saw him eat---) After it was determined the "friend" was safe, we introduced them...the new one seemed pretty interested in the initial crab, and appeared to corner him in a pot we are using for a hideout for them. However, there wasn't too much noise, nor loss of limbs which would indicate a shell fight?! We moved them apart from each other, and they remained apart as far as we know... The other morning, my daughter woke up and discovered that the original crab came outside his shell (approximately 12 hours after the two crabs were introduced)... We tried to isolate him with his original shell and newer ones of different sizes (we boiled all of which)...we tried to manually get him in his shell, and after all of which has failed he is now isolated in a new bigger aquarium. He doesn't seem to eat much, and hangs out on the water dish... Is this crab going to make it? How long can they live outside their shell? Is there something else we can do for it? How long should we keep him isolated? Thank you~ <Greetings. When hermit crabs leave their shells -- and don't go into new ones -- it is a very bad sign. The bottom line is this: despite being widely sold as inexpensive pets, hermit crabs are every bit as demanding as any other exotic animal. They need warmth, humidity, and access to the right sort of water. Some need freshwater to bathe in, others brackish (slightly salty) water. As much as they need warmth and humidity, they can also overheat, and one response to this they have (in the short term at least) is to leave their shells and lose extra heat by evaporation. Hermit crabs can and will fight -- they don't need friends! Quite the opposite: crabs fight over access to shells in the wild because complete shells suitable for use are a very restricted resource. So they tend to fight and then the winner will try out the loser's shell to see if its an improvement. The loser might get the winner's old shell, and if you're lucky, it'll fit and no harm is done. But if the loser ends up with a shell that won't fit, then the poor little crab is a homeless hermit. You can coax crabs back into their shells, mostly by rinsing both off with clean, dechlorinated water, either fresh or brackish depending on the species you have (this is important: try and identify which species you have, and then use the right kind of water). Place the cleaned crab and hermit somewhere quiet, and hopefully nature will take its course. Offer some alternative shells as well of similar or slightly larger size. Never, EVER try to force the crab into a shell -- you'll almost certainly cause damage to the animal. In the short term at least, the crab isn't at risk, so speed isn't critical. Finally, go through the list of environmental things and make sure you're up to speed on all of them. Just a reminder: you need a substrate of coconut fibre or similar for them to walk about it, a pool of fresh or brackish water, an under tank heater to raise the air temperature to around 25 C, and a way of ensuring the humidity is quite high (a loose fitting glass lid is ideal, keeping the warm air and moisture in, but leaving enough ventilation to prevent fungus). None of this is expensive. Coconut fibre you can buy in blocks from reptile pet stores for a few dollars, glass can be cut to size by any glass or DIY store, an under tank heater costs around 10-20 dollars depending on the size of the tank, and the pool of water need be nothing more complex than a plastic peanut butter jar lid or very shallow trough of some sort. Needs to be deep enough they can crawl into and splash about, but not so deep they can climb out of easily, and certainly shouldn't be able to drown in. For the average size crab, a bath about 1 cm should be fine. As mentioned before, avoid overheating by keeping the tank away from direct sunlight. And that's basically it. They aren't expensive animals in the least, but those very few things are pretty much non-negotiable. Some folks pamper their crabs by giving them plastic plants and bogwood to crawl about on and explore, and so much the better. These are mostly forest-dwelling animals, and they appreciate climbing areas. But the coconut fibre is the thing they like to dig into, and that's fun for them too. It's like leaf litter, I guess. And that's about it. I hope this helps, Neale>

Hermit Crabs, beh., sys.    8/18/07 Just a simple but maybe a complex question; I recently bought two hermit crabs. One of them died and the other has really been acting funny. There was a natural sponge in the aquarium with the hermit and it has torn the sponge all apart. Can you tell me what I need to do, whether I should buy another sponge or just what. What caused him to destroy the other sponge? Thanks <Greetings. Hermit crabs, like crabs and crayfish, view sponges as soft sediments to be picked through and any organic detritus found therein eaten as food. It's what they do in the wild, and you can't stop them doing this in the aquarium. So, the filter needs to be something encased in plastic, like a box filter. Hermit crabs are not "easy" pets, and keeping them alive for any length of time requires a little effort. They need warmth, humidity, soft sediment (like coconut fibre) for burrowing into, a proper diet, water for bathing (either freshwater or brackish depending on the variety). Be sure and read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/hermitcrabfaqs.htm If you still have problems, get back in touch. Cheers, Neale>

My hermit crab has buried him/herself twice in two days!  8/14/07 Hi I just came home from vacation and my dad has been taking good care of my crabs (even though one of them died). I found one buried in sand. That night it came out of the hole The next morning (today) I couldn't find it! I found it buried under the small "stick" we have in our crabitat. I left him be-I think he's molting. What should I do? Thanks, David <... what species is/are these? Do you provide moisture (as in a piece of damp sponge?)... Have you read here?: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/hermitcrabfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

My daughters Hermit Crab needs a friend, sel.   8/12/07 We purchased a hermit crab for my daughter at an outdoor fair a few months ago and we read that they do better with other Hermit Crabs. We have since moved to Monterey and today we noticed hundreds of them in little tide pools at the beach. Is it safe to snag one of those little guys to give Shabby a Friend? Thanks. <No, this won't work. The tide pool hermits are aquatic and marine; the hermit crabs you have as a pet is almost certainly a terrestrial freshwater or brackish water species. In other words, one wants to stay underwater in a marine tank, the other on more or less dry land with fresh or brackish water for the occasional bath. They have nothing in common requirements-wise, and can't be kept together. While hermit crabs may all look the same to the untrained eye, they're really a very diverse group. So, best to stick with finding others of the same species as you already have. Shouldn't be difficult, since these are quite widely sold in pet stores. Do be sure and read up on them though: like goldfish, people often end up with these animals without actually having learned anything about their quite demanding needs. Cheers, Neale>

My Terrestrial Hermit Crab has lost a leg  7/29/07 Hello, I bought a hermit crab and brought him home a week ago. He was fine until he lost a leg. He is still alive and hardly moves (he can't walk). I spray him with dechlorinated water everyday and put him on top of some food. What should I do? David <Hi David. It doesn't sound like your Hermit Crab is feeling too well. Perhaps his home isn't as comfortable as it should be. Please reply with the following information: What is the substrate you use (sand, gravel)? What is the humidity of his environment? What is the temperature of the surface of the substrate? What is the temperature of the air? Do you use a heat pad under the tank or a light? Is the heat pad or light positioned on one half of the tank only? Do you provide fresh dechlorinated or spring water daily? Do you provide fresh food and remove the old daily? Do you provide different size shells for him to switch if need be? Hermit crabs generally need humidity of at least 70% and temperatures that do not drop below 72F. They enjoy company of their own kind and are known to travel in packs in the wild. You shouldn't spray them down EVERY single day. Once or twice a week will suffice. However, spraying keeps the humidity up so you CAN spray the substrate (sand, hopefully) every day, several times a day if need be. Regardless, if you provide him with all of his needs he can grow his leg back as he molts. So, as you can see, you've got some testing to do and perhaps some environmental concerns to alleviate if the results are less than satisfactory. For the time being, here is a link to help you: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwcrustfaqs.htm Good luck and reply back if you need any more help. -Paul>

Re: My Hermit Crab has lost a leg 07/30/07 > <Hi David! Twothless here.> > Thanks but he died 3 hours after I emailed you- but please tell me what I should do for my other crab. <Aww, Sorry to hear that> > Answers to your questions: > What is the substrate you use (sand, gravel)? -Gravel. Should I use sand instead? <Yes, absolutely.> > What is the humidity of his environment? -I don't know. <Not good at all. Humidity/temperature gauges are very cheap, can be bought right where you bought your Hermit Crab and are easy to use. Just place it directly where you want to test the humidity and temperature and you'll have the reading within minutes.> > What is the temperature of the surface of the substrate?-I don't know <Again, not good. See answer above.> > What is the temperature of the air? -I don't know (the house temp is  generally 70 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit) <I don't mean to sound like a broken record but, again, not good at all.> > Do you use a heat pad under the tank or a light? -No heat pad. I have a light but don't leave it on all the time <Some type of heating element must be employed to keep the environment at, or at the very least, close to, the recommended levels for your Hermit Crab. A very small heat pad stuck to the underside of one end of a ten gallon tank works very well. The heat pad only at one end will make that side of the tank warmer and give the hermit crab a choice of temperature gradients. Lighting isn't exactly necessary as ambient light from windows is plenty for them to see. If you DO use lighting, try to use a fluorescent conversion as it won't generate too much heat.> > Do you provide fresh dechlorinated or spring water daily? -Dechlorinated daily. <Good!, some folks actually provide a dish of fresh water AND a dish of salt water for them to soak in. The salt should never be aquarium salt or table salt though, only oceanic salt mixes.> > Do you provide fresh food and remove the old daily? -Every other day. <Good! They also like fresh fruits and veggies from time to time.> > Do you provide different size shells for him to switch if need be?-Yes. <Good!> > Tell me if I am doing anything wrong and what I should do differently! <It's all up above.> > Thanks! > David <Glad to help! Get started fixing up your Crabitat so that your remaining one will remain healthy. Perhaps another crab or two would help keep him company as well. Anyway, don't forget to read this entire page that I think will help provide a ton of answers for you: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwcrustfaqs.htm You can also use the WWM Search Feature on this page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm Good Luck with your Hermit Crab! -Twothless>

Re: My hermit crab has lost a leg 08/02/07 < Hi David! Twothless here> Thanks! Two more questions: How do you tell the difference between a male and female hermit crab? <Good question! You'll have to place the Hermit Crab into a clear container or a glass bowl and view it from underneath. When the Hermit Crab comes partly out of the shell to move around, look at its second pair of legs from the claws. At the base of these legs, a female will have a very small opening called gonopores. There will be one on each 2nd leg. No gonopores means its a male.> If I serve fruits and veggies, what do they like best and how do I serve them? <Hermit Crabs like flower petals such as Dandelions, Daisies, Hibiscus, Rose, Sunflower and probably more (Google or WWM Hermit Crab diet). They also need lots of protein. 50% of their diet should consist of proteins from eggs, Spirulina, beans, nuts, seeds. Spirulina is a favorite as it is easy to keep on hand in the form wafers. You should provide one or more of the following at least twice a week to provide much needed zeaxanthin: Orange bell pepper, Broccoli, Cilantro, Collards, Romaine Lettuce, Frozen Peas (served thawed and shelled). All of these foods are best served chopped-up into morsels small enough for the crab to handle them easily. Of course, store bought Hermit Crab feed is a good idea to offer regularly as well. Presumably, these blends contain much needed micronutrients and the like. Try to supplement their diets with reptile calcium powder that contains vitamin D3. Add a light sprinkling on their food a couple times a week. Again, try Googling Hermit Crab diet and other such keywords and you will instantly be inundated by websites containing MUCH more information than any one person or source could ever offer. Good Luck and Bon Appetite to your Hermit Crab/s!> Thanks! David <You're VERY welcome! I'm glad you are taking the initiative to correct your Crabitats shortcomings. - Twothless>

Re: My hermit crab has lost a leg 08/02/07 I updated my Crabitat today just as you recommended, but I have one problem. When I spray my crab, sand sticks to him. Is that a problem? <No. It shouldn't be a bother at all. I think you'll soon find that they really like to bury themselves, partially, into the sand when they sleep. So, sand sticking to them temporarily is of no consequence.> Thanks! David <You're very welcome. - Twothless>

Hermit crab & Sand   7/25/07 Hi My name is CJ, I am 12 and have my first hermit crabs (3). Is it okay to use regular beach sand for them to crawl on or do I need a special type of sand? Also is it okay to have different types of hermit crabs living together. For example I have a large strawberry living with 2 regular pet store hermit crabs. I am not sure what type they are, but they are night bright red like my strawberry, more of brownish/grey color. Presently I have them living on aquarium gravel and marbles. Thanks, CJ <Hello CJ. When keeping hermit crabs, the optimal sand is calcium carbonate enriched sand, sold for crabs as well as reptiles. Crabs use the calcium carbonate as a dietary supplement for their skeleton. You can buy this stuff from any pet store. Some crab-keepers like to mix sand with coconut fibre ("coir") at a 50/50 ratio. The point to the coconut fibre is it stores moisture, which is essential for the hermit crabs. The crabs need the humidity in the air for their "lungs" to work properly, and when they feel the need, they will dig into the sand/fibre mixture to cool down or sleep. So, much happier crabs! Coconut fibre can be purchased in big blocks for a couple of dollars and after soaking in water you end up with gallons of the stuff. It doesn't change the pH of the substrate (unlike peat or soil) which is a major plus, and being so cheap you can easily change it every couple of months or whenever it starts to get dirty. Being nice and dark it also highlights the colours of the crabs, and you get a much more natural looking environment than just using plain sand or God forbid one of those hideous coloured gravels. Cheers, Neale>

Hermit Crab death, terr.    6/25/07 Hi Bob While on vacation in Hilton Head Island, SC I bought two hermit crabs (on Wed.). <"Land" hermits I take it> One was very energetic and always out of his shell, the other one was very shy and took a very long time to come out of her shell. We let them play in a laundry basket for a little bit and later discovered part of her leg was missing. <Mmm, these can regenerate with molts/molting...> Turns out she was already missing a whole leg on one side and a part of a leg missing on the other side. She was always very shy except for when she came out to play with me. I was worried she wasn't eating, but after two days i caught her finally eating. <These animals do have a source of moisture?> She seemed a lot better and happy by Friday. Saturday was our day to leave and drive home to Cleveland, OH. They seemed like they were sleeping the whole way home... When we were home and I went to take them out to play I saw that my girl had not only passed away, but had lost her giant pincher and her leg with the part of it missing! What happened to her? Did she do it to herself? Was she sick? Did the other one do it? <Mmm, can't say... all are possibilities though> The other one is completely fine. I know they should have friends and I should get another one, but I'm scared he killed her. What do you think? Thank you so much, Lindsay <I would do my best to provide care to the one you still have. Have you read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/hermitcrabfaqs.htm and the linked files in the tray at top right? Bob Fenner>

Freshwater hermit crabs   4/22/07 I can't seem to find much info on freshwater hermits. I know they do exist, but how would I go about finding some? Will they live in an African Cichlid tank? <All so-called "freshwater" hermit crabs are actually amphibious, and as such, unsuitable for use in an aquarium. The only truly non-marine, fully aquatic hermit crab in the trade I'm aware of is Clibanarius tricolor, the blue-leg hermit crab. It does very well in brackish water aquaria at SG 1.010+. It cannot be adapted to freshwater. Cheers, Neale.>

My pet Hermit crab  1/10/07 Hi I am Lauren <Hi Lauren!> and I have recently taken in a saltwater hermit crab as my pet on holidays... <How is he only a pet on holidays?  Is he in a reef tank, salt water tank... what?> we went on 2 different websites when we got home from our holiday which was a day after we took the hermit crab in it said to supply shells for them so we put in one which was not for the hermit crab to change in to but for it to get to land ..then the next day my dad told me he moved in to it but the problem is it is to big for it and he struggles to carry it.. now what should we do we wonder and hope you can tell us...Thank you <He will not move into anything he cannot handle.  It may have a problem with mobility but will grow into it.  No worries here.  Jen S><<RMF suggests providing more shells... for this Hermits choosing>>

Hermit crab... beh.?  12/7/06 <<Hi, Claire. Tom here.>> I have a couple of hermit crabs that were doing very well until last night when one of them shed it's shell and is now without one.  Can you tell me how long he can live like that.  There are a lot of empty shells in the tank for him to pick a new one.  I just don't know what to do or not to do.  Can you please help me. <<First, don't panic. (I knew you weren't going to but I thought I'd mention it.) As long as your Hermit doesn't have anybody in the tank that might find him/her "tasty" during the transition, he/she will be fine. As long as the empty shells are larger than the one that was evacuated, your Crab will find a place to reside. To put your mind at ease - hopefully - the water hasn't changed, only the "borrowed" home. As long as there are no predators in the tank, he/she will do what's natural and find a bigger place to climb into until it's time to move again. Not to worry.>> Thanks Claire <<You're welcome, Claire. Tom>>

Re: Hermit Crabs...sad ending    12/9/06 <<Hello, Claire.>> Thanks for getting back to me but my crab died last night.  He was ice cold this morning and not moving at all.  I have had him about 3 years don't know how long crabs live. <<Very sorry to hear about your pet, Claire. Land Hermit crabs can live for quite a long time, ten years and potentially longer than that. Moulting and "shell seeking" is part of their natural behavior so it would be unlikely that this transition, alone, would be responsible for the death. They are, however, most vulnerable during this time to predation which was my original concern.>> Thanks again for your help. Claire <<I obviously wish I could have been a greater help to you and your Hermit, Claire. Clearly, there was something amiss that neither of us could have foreseen. Sorry once again. Tom>>

Land Hermit Crabs Acting Weird 11/01/06 I have five hermit crabs whom I love dearly.  I have a ten gallon tank in which is mostly sand, and a small area with saltwater.  For the last month or so, the two largest hermits stay on the bottom of the tank under the sand, and often the smallest hermit joins them.  They are all purple pinchers.  I have two Ecuadorians as well, both of which I have lately noticed odd behavior.  For the most part, they stay in a little log in the tank, but the last couple of nights, one of them has been staying near the heater while the other comes to the front of the tank and goes wild, trying to claw out of the tank.  Tonight, I noticed that she went into the saltwater and stayed there awhile.  She was clawing there too, and kept falling backwards.  I have a lot of rocks and pebbles in the water so they can climb back out, but I got worried and pulled her out.  The first time, she went back in immediately, the second time she went into the log.  What's going on and should I worry about any of them?  Will she drown if I leave her in the water? Thank you, Letitia < Your hermit crabs could be getting ready to shed. They require more moisture to shed the exoskeleton. When they shed this outer covering they are very vulnerable to attack from the other crabs. They may need to be isolated until they are done shedding.-Chuck>

Terr. Hermit on the loose   8/20/06 I really messed up, and need some help. Took my crab out this evening for a bit of exercise, and I have lost him in the house. Is there any way I can coax him out of hiding....we have been looking for almost 2 hours. I am heartbroken...any tips would be helpful. Thanks, BJ <Mmm, about the only thing to do is keep diligent re looking... will either "hole up" in a corner, or be walking about searching for food, water... likely for a few days. Good hunting! Bob Fenner>

Re: Terr. Hermit on the loose... less so...   8/21/06 Thank you for your reply. At midnight last night, I heard the familiar scratching sound, and sure enough, he is hidden under my wall unit. <Ah, good> Naturally it weighs a ton, so I cannot move it, but I am hoping that later on, he will emerge. How long can they go without food/water? I put a few bowls of food outside the wall unit, but I don't know if he knows it is there. <Mmm, depends on how hydrated, nutrified to start with... size, species... a few days likely, but if it were me/mine, I'd invest in those universal heavy-work expediters, pizza and beer, and get some help to move that wall unit stat! Bob Fenner>

Re: Singing, backward moving Crustaceans along the Euphrates?   8/16/06   Thank you very much for taking the time to respond. I thought suggesting the hermit might snag because "crabs of the river" seems to imply freshwater and I thought hermits were only marine. Until you mentioned the existence of some freshwater hermits I supposed I'd have to go with brackish waters with perhaps frogs and hermits. I'd rather have it all along the lower Euphrates (south of Hit). Can you point me to  publications or an expert on the freshwater hermit?    <Unfortunately "time is scarce" currently... a library/bibliographic search on BIOSIS or the Zoological Record is where I would start>   The Hermit also has the advantage of looking a bit more like the earliest form of the  logogram with which "crab" is sometimes written pressed into third millennium clay tablets during the stage of the writing known as classical Sumerian. (See the attached sketches)   <Interesting...>      Alternate syllable combinations with which it is written can also be read as "carpenter". There may have been a semantic association between the two. Perhaps the hermit's house as separate from his body is a connection. Perhaps in a land where everything was built from clay this is more indication of something that builds a house from earth, a land crab. How remote can they be from a freshwater source or relatively high groundwater?         <Perhaps>   I have to at least start with what is there today, and parallel with frogs I have to suppose it was actually audible to humans.   <Mmm, would bear in mind the high likelihood that this reference is metaphorical...> Thank you for reminding me that the amplitude would probably be too low even if hundreds of them were doing it simultaneously.      <Yes, assuredly>   The context is the most ancient of love stories, complete with tragedy and powerful enough in its connection with nature and the stars of their sky calendar to have been celebrated for thousands of years. I hope to bring to bear an overlooked and still accessible window on the graphic elements.       Thank you again for your help,      Stephen <Anima bona fac my friend. Bob Fenner>

Hermit Crabs, terr.   8/16/06 I recently bought a pair of land hermit crabs at a local pet store. I've had them almost three days now, but they refuse to come out of their plastic cave, even at night. In the morning I check to see if they've been out of the cave by trying to find any tracks, but there aren't any. I've tried misting the tank more often, I've given them each a bath, and I've given them different food each night, but when I check on them in the morning, they're still in the same spot they were when I went to bed the night before. I've taken them out myself to check if they're still alive (they are) but when I put them near their food and water dishes, the scuttle back into the cave. I'm worried they're not eating. I hope you can help! Thanks -Alex P.S.-one is missing his smaller claw, and another is missing her back walking leg on the left side <Insufficient information... Have you checked with your supplier re their previous care, feeding? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/hermitcrabfaqs.htm and the Net in general re these animals care. This may simply be a too-cool temperature situation. Bob Fenner>

Re: Hermit Crabs, terr. <maybe not>  8/17/06 Hello again. I was unable to find any cases related to mine.:( I keep the temperature in my tank between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and I mist the tank quite often. My hygrometer isn't working properly (I'm working on fixing it) so I can't tell you the exact humidity, but there is always condensation on the walls of the tank, and the sand is quite damp. <Mmm... do you know the species of Hermits you have? Am wondering how "terrestrial" these are.> I've noticed that my crabs do burrow slightly into the substrate, but only enough to cover less than halfway up the shell. I'm wondering if they might be trying to molt, <More likely trying to "get underwater"> because the sand depth at the pet store was only around a centimeter or two, but they haven't gone near the water dish or food dish. Might I be handling them too much? <Definitely... should be handled the least possible> I take them each out for a few minutes every day (mainly to check if they're alive) and they walk along my hands like a normal crab might, but they always retreat to the safety of the plastic cave once I return them to their tank. Admittedly I haven't provided any saltwater. Could that have something to do with it? <Yes... I do believe so> I'm EXTREMELY new to this and your assistance would be greatly appreciated. -Alex P.S: I have them in a ten gallon tank with a closed lid (small ventilation holes; not enough to let heat or humidity escape) and a fluorescent light for heating. <Do cruise the Net, WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm for ID here... need to know the species first, so you can further seek the habitat, diet of this/these species. Bob Fenner>

Re: Hermit Crabs, terr.   8/17/06 The species is Coenobita clypeatus. I've researched basic care and behavior on hermit-crabs.com, but I think they might be traumatized from the pet store. <Likely a factor here, yes> The tank was very crowded. I'll make sure to provide salt water and remember not to handle them as much. Thanks for all the help! >: ) -Alex <Glad to proffer it. BobF>

Missing in action. Hermit beh.   7/18/06 Hello. My name is Kris and I have a 5 year old son who is so taken with his hermit crabs. He plays with them constantly and the problem I have is that the other day he was playing with his favourite of 2 years, when he got sick. That was okay, but when he cleaned up and came back his crab was gone. In all the rush for the bathroom it seems Seb was left on the floor. I know you will say he is there somewhere, but we have looked everywhere. Is there anything I can do to tempt him out as we have floor heating in the concrete slab and I'm concerned that he could overheat on the floor. There is also the possibility of not finding him until he dies. Any suggestion? <Need to make a thorough inspection... Hermits can crawl, and even climb up fabrics... Could be quite a distance away. Need to find before he gets too dehydrated... Bob Fenner>

Sea or land crabs? Perhaps a little of both?  - 06/30/06 I just recently went to Florida, where my son bought a couple of hermit crabs at a store.  They have reddish legs, and I assume they are land crabs.  We also found hermit crabs on the beach in shallow water.  We picked up some and brought them home.  Their legs are more brown and grayish.  Are these sea crabs?  Do they need to be kept in salt water?   Thanks, P. Monroe <Not possible to state with the descriptions offered. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/hermitcrabfaqs.htm and the linked files on this page. Bob Fenner>

Strawberry Hermit Crab Reproduction or Parasites? - 05/03/2006 Howdy! <Ahoy thar, matey!> I recently purchased a Land Hermit Crab, called a Strawberry type. <Coenobita perlatus> It is quite lively, and seems to be a good companion for our other crab (the gray-greenish type). <Likely C. compressus, maybe C. rugosus.> When I was doing my evening misting, I mist twice daily) I noticed the Strawberry almost all the way out if its shell, and standing quite rigid. Upon closer inspection I noticed several small white things on her back and shell. When I turned on a brighter light, they scurried under the strawberry. Could this be babies or mites? <Likely mites.> The are no larger than the head of a pin.  In the mean time, I have moved my other crab to a new tank. How do land hermit crabs, have and care for their babies? <Female land hermits, including strawberries, carry their eggs on their pleopods (kind of like a shrimp's "swimming legs") under their bellies to the ocean.  They leave their eggs in or near the water where they get washed away.  When the eggs hatch, the babies are very different from the adults; they don't look like crabs at all.  These larvae spend time floating out in the ocean until they've grown up into more crab-like crabs.  When they're ready, they crawl up on land and find a shell (or find a shell then crawl up on land).  Larval hermit crab babies can't crawl yet, so the things you saw on your strawberry aren't baby crabs, they're something else.  Whether they're mites or not, I don't know without seeing them.  I highly recommend that you visit one of the online hermit crab forums and chat with other crab owners to discuss what you might do to get rid of them if they are in fact mites.> Thank you very much, Kelly, Manteca CA. <Glad to be of service!  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina, Santa Cruz, CA> Terrestrial Hermit Crabs   4/28/06 I want to say thank you for sending people with questions about land hermit crabs to www.landhermitcrabs.com . That is an awesome site and people can really benefit from the information there. A couple more very good ones are www.crabstreetjournal.com, and www.hermitcrabassociation.com .  All the information you would need on hermits diet can be found at www.epicureanhermit.com.     I also want to say thank you for giving people very good answers to their questions. I have had hermits for about two years now, one of my crabs, a rugosus, I have had for over a year. Its amazing how much misinformation about these very interesting and exotic creatures there is out there. FMR company is one of the worst there is for giving misinformation but I can see how that would boost sales. Keep up the great work, its appreciated so very much!   Thank you   Jess <Thank you for this input. Bob Fenner>

Terr. Hermit, Child acting like Moby Dick  - 4/11/2006 Hi! My daughter had two small hermit crabs. They were fine until one of her friends came over and stayed about 2 days during spring break. I didn't know until after the child left that she had been putting the crabs in her mouth and closing her mouth to make them come out of there shell. <Yuck!> This child had pneumonia I do believe. A couple of days later after she left to go home, one crab began what looked like he was blowing clear viscous bubbles out of his mouth, nose , what have you. Could he have contracted this pneumonia germ from this child? Thanks, Tammy <... Don't know... but do doubt this... perhaps just the stress, change in humidity... Hopefully this Hermit will recover. Bob Fenner> Hermit terr. crabs FAQ... NNS    4/10/06 hi , i lives in Singapore and i have a few question that i  cant find on the internet and sincerely hope you could help me with this i would like to know that could it due to my country temperature ( its about 20+ degree Celsius) that make my hermit crabs (species : Coenobita rugosus) inactive ? <Possibly, yes> when i buy them , i was given a tank with the sand lesser than 1cm in height , could it due to this that's why my hermit crab does not moult ? do i need to buy additional sand to add on to it? <Shouldn't be the sand depth. Likely nutrition, moisture/humidity> i wanted to put some of the dried leaves that i find along the road inside the fish thank but if the leavers is poisonous to human , would it kill my crab too ? <Too likely, yes. There are some "aquarium safe" terrestrial leaves one can use though> and erm i tried extremely hard but i couldn't find out the maximum size a Coenobita rugosus could grow up to , and to my knowledge , there are different type of shells in terms of their design , so will they switch home even if the shell design isn't what they use normally ? <Yes> lastly , i may emailed to the wrong address , sorry if i did =( but please reply if u can help me =) your sincerely, jimmy =) <Please see here re size: 67 g.: http://www.crabstreetjournal.info/species/Crugosus/index.html Bob Fenner>

Land Hermit, Moulting or Perished? - 04/06/2006 Hello WWM Crew! <Hi, Starry; Sabrina with you today.> Recently, one of my hermit crabs has stopped moving.  Concerned my girlfriend picked it up and our hermit crab did not move.  We keep the tank at around 80 degrees F and make sure there is plenty of freshwater in their bowls.   <Humidity?> The tank does not smell, and I have not checked on the hermit crab myself for fear it is molting.  I hate to disturb it if it is, but I would like to find out if it is still alive.   <I would, in this case, pick it up and give it a good sniff.  If it smells "sour" or "fishy", you might want to use a fingernail and GENTLY try to pry his legs....  if they are strongly/fastly in place, leave him be, and place him in a system separate from any other crabs.  If they are loose, likely you'll find that he's passed, I fear.> We had an infestation once from mites, but cleaned out the tank, replaced the substrate and boiled all their toys.  The only significant change is that we went from sand to mulch (coconut fibers).  We have had these crabs for over two years now and would dearly miss our pet if it were to die.   <I understand....  and sympathize.> What can I do to save it, if it is not dead already.   <Place him in a dedicated, smaller system (even if inside the other tank) to protect him from the other crabs.  Keep the humidity very high.  If he is moulting above ground, this is cause for concern, as a healthy crab should not do this, and would not in nature.  Lack of humidity is one of the greatest killers of these pet crabs; please be cautious of this.  I would also very, very strongly recommend supplementing their water with iodine, and feeding foods high in iodine (krill, human-consumption shrimp tails, etc.), as it seems to me that one of the things that leads to "mysterious" poor health and "mysterious" bad moults is common with crabs not fed or supplemented with iodine in any way.  This is a bit of a pet peeve of mine; these are marine or near-marine animals who, in the wild, are used to a diet and water rich with iodine.  They usually get nearly none in captivity, and iodine is crucial for them to be able to use calcium to make new shells....> Sincerely,  -Starry <Best wishes to you and your leggy pals,  -Sabrina>

Land Hermit, Moulting or Perished? - II - 04/10/2006 Hello again WWM Crew, and Sabrina! <Hello again!, Starry!> Thank you for your response and comments.   <Glad to be of service.> Sadly, my crab has passed away leaving only one left.   <.... I am very sorry to hear this.> Fearful, it may be because she could not dig herself well into the substrate which may have allowed her to dehydrate? <Possibly....  Though the coconut fiber, if slightly moist, is usually a very decent substrate.  Also keep in mind that any substrate should be deep enough for the crabs to go completely underground.> I plan on going back to the calcium rich sand as the substrate instead of the coconut. He has been shell hopping for the past few nights.  I have learned something new from you guys, I have never found in any of the crab care forums that my crabs needed iodine; I will be providing him with it from now on in their water bowls.  Also, I was not aware that  salt was necessary as part of their diet.   <Use an iodine supplement intended for use in a marine aquarium.  If you don't use an iodine supplement, please at least use a quality synthetic sea salt intended for reef aquaria when you make their saltwater (remember, most/all land hermits need both saltwater and freshwater).  I know a lot of the hermit crab forums suggest to only use the "Doc Wellfish"/Aquarium Pharmaceuticals salt - but let me reiterate, land hermits are more marine animals than anything when it comes to water.  I tend to go by a rule of thumb:  "If I wouldn't use it for recreating an environment for my saltwater fish/crabs/corals, I won't use it for my land hermits."  The Aquarium Pharmaceuticals salt is intended as a freshwater supplement only and can't be used as an adequate salt for a reef tank.  It will not recreate the water conditions of natural seawater.  Synthetic sea salts, like Instant Ocean, Oceanic, etc., are MUCH better than using the AP stuff.  Now, I'm not trying to put down the AP salt - I DO use it in freshwater applications when necessary, as it does not have all the various minerals and supplements that a reef tank needs (and that I don't want when I need to use salt in a freshwater tank).  But I won't use it for my crabs.  Its intended purpose is NOT to recreate ocean conditions, but for use in freshwater, and it is very useful for its intended purpose; it's just not what I'd want to use for an animal that should have marine water.  Sorry to ramble on here; again, this is a big pet peeve of mine....  It is "common knowledge" for folks keeping aquatic saltwater animals that they have certain needs (calcium, iodine, etc.), but it seems this knowledge hasn't yet transferred to folks who keep land hermits, much though I've tried to offer this information in various forums, message boards, etc....  Sigh.> We bought a bag of plain salted tortilla chips, and he has been munching on it every night.  Should the chips only be given as a treat?   <A very seldom treat....  try to make sure they are as low-fat as possible, with very very basic ingredients (corn, salt)....> And, do I only provide iodine at a certain frequency or can he have it all the time?   <Either offer foods rich in iodine (shrimp with the shell on, krill, etc.) very very often, or supplement their saltwater with iodine supplements intended for saltwater tanks.  Or both.> Also, are two crabs enough to keep each other company?  How many should I get, if not?  He looks awfully lonely.   <They are actually very social animals, though they don't really "get attached" to each other....  I would advise no less than two, but as many as your tank can realistically sustain is just fine.> Thanks for all the help again. <Any time.> Sincerely, Starry <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Something about terr. hermits  3/21/06 I have a question do you know what those white bugs are that are in a hermit crabs cage or is that a problem <<I do not understand your question. Please provide details of your set-up, species of crabs, and perhaps a picture of what you would like us to identify for you.  Thanks. Lisa.>>

Naked Hermit/Renee hasn't gone to bed yet    3/19/06 Hi. <Hello Renee', tired?>  About an hour ago, my son came running to me and said our crab is out of it's shell!! I went running into the room and sure enough it was! It had molted and is sitting in the aquarium with out its shell. I left the exoskeleton in the tank. I removed the other two crabs from the tank and made sure that several shells were close and ready for it to choose from. I just went back in to look and it is still sitting next to the water bowl without a shell. I don't want to go to bed and leave it like that. That is...unless I am suppose to. Should I try to encourage it to go into a shell or leave it alone?  <You've done all you can, let nature take it's course Renee'.> Thanks, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Renee'        Link Request and placement re Hermit Crabs  - 1/30/2006 Hi, <Hello> I have a hermit crab care and photo site that I was hoping you would consider linking to on your page http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/hermitcrabfaqs.htm My site is http://www.crabbytalk.com Of course I would provide a reciprocal link to your site from mine Thank you! Robin Wood <Will gladly do. Thank you for your note and efforts. Bob Fenner> Land hermit crab spends time out of his shell?  - 01/24/06   We believe our land hermit crab, Purple Haze, is an Ecuadorian.  He seems to be spending a lot of time outside of his shell.  We first thought he wanted to change shells but that was not the case because he went back into his old shell.  He still spends most of the time out of it though.  We washed his shell in hot water, like I read on this site said to do.  Sometimes he sits in the water dish.  This dish is freshwater but we also have a smaller dish of saltwater, which doesn't really seem to do anything for him.  We tried to give him a bath when he was in the shell, but of course, then he wouldn't come out.  We have 2 other Strawberry crabs and one Caribbean and they seem to be doing perfectly fine.  I can't seem to find any reason as to why he would be coming out of his shell except that he's not moist enough, but he sits in the water and we spray them as much as we can.  Can you help us?   Thanks so much! Sincerely, Theresa <Mmm, you do provide an assortment of shells to change into? Bob Fenner> Hermit Crab Molting   1/17/06 Thank you so much for your wonderful website.  My 9-year old son and I are new to the hermit crab world. We have two little ones.  We found an empty shell this afternoon, and the crabby is no where to be found.  It looks like there is a mound of sand though, so I'm thinking he buried himself.  My question is, do crabs leave their shells before molting? <Mmm, generally not, but can>   If not, what else could be happening?  I did notice a strong fishy smell the last few days, and he did seem more lethargic than usual. Do you think he is dead? <The smell is a bad sign> (I hope not!!).  What do you suggest we do?  Thanks again! <I would gently dig up this Hermit, set on a damp clean sponge that is wetted... see if it revives... offer an assortment of shell sizes. Bob Fenner>

Re: Hermit Crab Molting    1/19/06 Thanks for your help and quick reply.  Crabby seems to have been in his shell all along.  He must have gone in so deep we couldn't see him (either that or he got out and went back in).  He has moved only a few millimeters in the last 4 days though.  Still strong fishy smell, <I would have two batches of substrate... one to wash, let air dry, the other to have in use...> but he is alive and moves his claw if you touch it.  We have misted him every day like we always do and offered new foods.  Could he be molting without having buried himself? <Possibly> The other crabby seems to be fine.  Should we still try the sponge idea (didn't want to handle him if he is molting)? <Yes, I would... this is the best way of providing moisture> Thanks again so much!! Susie <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Hermit Crab Needs A Home  12/22/05 Hello! We have a small tank of hermit crabs - 3 in a 10 gal.  We are experiencing our first molt - we noticed yesterday he is entirely out of his shell and quiet - the exoskeleton just next to him.  He has a few choices for new shells.  This morning he is eating his exoskeleton - still with no shell on!!  I've misted the tank, but worry about why he isn't using a shell.  Can you help?  Rebecca < Give him a little time for his exoskeleton to harden up. Give him an assortment of larger shells to pick from. In the wild they may go through hundreds to find the right one. It is good that you are misting him. He may dry out without his shell.-Chuck>

White legs and claw??? Terrestrial hermit care  12/17/05 Hi: <Hello there> My daughter has 2 hermit crabs for about 6 months now and 1 week ago I noted that one came out of his shell suddenly and was running around the tank "naked".  I assumed he was molting and quickly set up an isolation tank. Since he was out of his shell, I was afraid to move him, so I just removed the other crab so my naked crab could be alone.  I have provided fresh water and have a heater.  First the large claw fell off, but it looked like he had already sprouted another one. <Perhaps a partial molt...> He continued to be active for the next 12 hours or so and lost some legs and part of his exoskeleton.  he then curled up in a corner of the tank (not buried though).  he has not moved AT ALL in about 6 days and from what I can see, his legs look like they are white and calcified.  His body is still orange.  His eyes and tentacles are curled under so i cannot see them.  I am assuming he's is dead, but there is NO fishy smell.  He looks very dried up and has been out of the shell for almost 7 days now. <Doesn't sound good...> Am I right to think he is dead, even though there is NO smell? <Possibly> My daughter is so upset, but I don't want to get rid of him if this is normal.  He has not moved in almost a week.  The completely white legs are what's making me think he's dead.  How long can they last out of their shell?  Should I throw him out?? <Mmm, I would "soak" this hermit crab in a bit of water for a minute or so... see if this revives it> Please help!  My 5 year old is so upset about "Bob"! Chelsea <I'd be too! "Bob" Fenner> Hermit Crab, Change of Clothes - Good Land Hermit Owner/Information! - 10/15/2005 Hi, <Hello.> I recently got a small hermit crab as a birthday present. Well, truth be told, his shell is really small, but Gerald himself is actually quite a bit bigger than his shell should be. <This is actually not uncommon with newly purchased hermits.... Hopefully in your care he will find something larger/more suitable.> So, after reading in several places that they need to switch shells, I've offered him a variety of new shells in different sizes, with different openings, painted, and natural. <Painted shells are extremely rarely accepted, unless there is nothing of the right shape/size otherwise. Just a heads-up.> From what I've read, hermit crabs seem to change shells whenever they come upon a new one, <Mm, not that often - not by a long shot.> but this little guy just wont leave the one he has. I'm a little worried, because I've read that if they don't change into a shell large enough it could be really harmful for them, and I'm not quite sure what I can do to help the situation. <A bit of information regarding this - there are a number of different species of hermit crabs.... all of genus Coenobita. Of those most commonly offered for sale in the US, a couple of them (C. compressus and C. rugosus) are a touch more hesitant to switch shells than others. C. compressus will hold out a very long time before changing shells, if there is nothing that they really like around.  The only shells that my own C. compressus will use are Natica/"moon snail" shells.... some are called "shark's eye" or "whale's eye" shells. I would urge you to try to find out what species your hermit is, and if you believe him to be C. compressus, try to seek out these moon snail shells. C. rugosus will take moon snail shells sometimes, as well. Other hermits will usually take readily to Turbo snail shells.> Also, I was wondering if his present living situation is as it should be. He is in a 1.5-2 gallon plastic aquarium, <Mm, I would increase this to a 10-gallon tank, minimum.... especially if it is a C. compressus, which is a very active animal.> with Calci-sand, fake plants, dishes, <A comment here, regarding water/water dishes - contrary to what some might say, all hermits are at least *somewhat* marine in nature (some more so than others) and require saltwater in addition to freshwater. I would urge you to use a quality synthetic sea salt like Instant Ocean for making up saltwater.... you can store a container of it and use as necessary.> a sponge, and a coconut to hide under. I've been keeping the temperature between 70-75 degrees and humidity between 70-80%. I was wondering what % of humidity is too high, and what will happen if it does get high? <Actually, the humidity is fine where you've got it. If it gets too high occasionally, it should not be a major problem. Just don't let it drop below 70% for an extended period of time, lest he suffocate from his gills drying up.> Thanks! Kat <One last comment - hermit crabs are quite social animals. I really urge you to move up to a larger container and provide a couple of friends (preferably of the same species, but that's not terribly important). Also, as far as foods and feeding, be sure to include some foods high in iodine and calcium content - you can use a calcium supplement manufactured for reptiles to add to their food. Thawed frozen human-consumption shrimp tails with the shells still on are an excellent food high in iodine. Wishing you and your new pal well, -Sabrina>

Land Hermit In Distress - 09/17/2005 Hi <Hello, Jenni.> I hope it's not too late for him.  I have a large hermit crab about the size of a 10 year olds fist.  Had him for a round a year.  The habitat has a heat pad (small) and salt, fresh water and usual food. <Good.> Humidity is fine.   <Very humid, then, yes?> I have just had a smaller crab molt then die.  Now the big guy is really limp almost hanging out of his shell and not retreating when I change water etc.   <Not a good sign....> He has a shell to move to if he needs, <Perhaps offer others as well; hermits can be picky as to what type/size of shell they prefer.> and generally he is really happy. He sat in his salt water dish for 24 hours - <Also a very bad sign....  Do you know what species this crab is?> the middle size crab did this just prior to changing his shell a week or two ago.   <I would increase the amount of iodine in his food (human consumption shrimp with shells still on, krill, seaweed, other foods high in iodine content) and calcium as well (there are supplements you can use that are designed for reptiles).  If he is gearing up for a moult, this is important stuff for him.  I add iodine to my land crabs' water.  I use Kent marine iodine, and add a couple drops in their gallon pool of freshwater and a few drops in their 2 gallon saltwater pool in addition to feeding foods listed above.  This is a water supplement designed for saltwater reef tanks to keep iodine levels safe for those animals that not only drink but actually live in the water.  As yet, I have not seen any bad moults in my hermits, and it's been a little over a year and a half....  I really think that, like with freshwater shrimp, many moult-related deaths can be avoided by seeing to it that these animals are not deficient in iodine.  Be sure his substrate is moist and deep enough to dig in, so he can head underground if he does end up moulting.> Please help I'm really worried we may loose him. <I've got my fingers crossed for him.> Jenni Lawson <Wishing you and your crabsters well,  -Sabrina>

Land Hermit In Distress - II - 09/19/2005 Hey Sabrina <Hi again, Jenni> Thanks for the advice.  I have isolated him and am keeping a close eye.  He is just hanging out of his shell and staying under his log tunnel.  Guess I will know what the result is in the next 24hrs.   <Crabs are resilient animals; I'm keeping my fingers crossed....> He hasn't touched his water or food overnight, not looking so good. <I do agree with you; time will tell.> Just bought 3 lively little critters (just in case), I don't want the remaining guys to get lonely, but they are not nearly his size, just medium size.  Not sure about the type of crabs we have in Australia. They look like Eq's and require salt and fresh water. <Could be the "calico" or "crazy" crab folks speak of; seems they are common there and may actually be a sort of a color morph of Ecuadorian hermits (Coenobita compressus - incidentally, my favorite).  I do recommend that you try to be sure these guys do get enough iodine-rich foods in their diet.> Thanks for the kind wishes. <Any time.> Jenni <Hoping for the best,  -Sabrina>

Hermit Crab Nudist - Land Hermit In Distress, III - 10/09/2005 Oh hi, it's me again.  <Hi, Jenni! Sabrina with you this evening.> I hope you don't mind but regardless of the website I just can't seem to get the answer I need and you were so helpful last time.  <I don't mind in the least, and I'm glad I was able to be of service to you!> Our favorite and longest resident crab has just molted and is hanging about naked.  <Mm. Not a good sign. Keep that humidity *high* - 'round 80%. Offer him many sizes and types of shells. If possible, have him separated from any other crabs in the tank; perhaps in a completely separate tank.> He has eaten most of his exoskeleton and was in his old shell until this morning should I wash him and place him isolation just with his shell or what? I have misted him so he says wet. <I wouldn't actually wash him; misting is okay. Allow him saltwater and freshwater deep enough that he can submerge himself, and a structure for climbing out of the water.> Any suggestions? <Just as above.> Jenni Lawson <Wishing you and your nudist hermit well, -Sabrina>

Hermit Crab Nudist - Land Hermit In Distress, IV - 10/13/2005 Hi, thanks for your response. <Any time, my friend.> He seems to be doing well I separated him from the other crabs and left him with a cleaned out shell beside him in the dark for a couple of days. He has returned to his shell <Oh, *very* good news.> doesn't seem to be moving around the tank much but I've have seen him moving his legs in and out of the shell. His skin has now started to pink up so I guess it is a just a matter of time until he starts to walk about again.  <Likely so. Do not handle him during this time.... let him recuperate.> Just out of curiosity can I clean up the rest of his exoskeleton he ate what he needed and the others seem to have had a nibble but I'm concerned about how smelly it can get! <Indeed! If it is smelly, go ahead and remove it.... Give 'em some krill or shrimp tails, hopefully supplemented with calcium.... They should be fine with that.> Jenni <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Hermit Crab Needs a Home  9/7/05 Hi, My kids have four hermit crabs in a 10 gallon tank.  About 5 days ago, we noticed that one had abandoned it's shell (it also lost it's large claw).  We "offered" it about 5 or six different shells of varying sizes.  However, it's still without a shell.  It's recently lost the other smaller claw but is still moving.  It's actually amazing how much it gets around.  The other crabs don't seem to be bothering it.  Any suggestions or ideas about what's going on?   Thanks for any help. Teresa Collier < I suspect that sometime during the night his shell was taken away by another crab. He lost his claw defending himself. I think that he lost his other claw trying to get a new shell. He obviously doesn't like any that you have offered. I would separate him and try offering the new shells again. These little guys can dehydrate very quickly without their shells. If he is not separated I would not be surprised if the others go after him when they get hungry.-Chuck>

Never Too Young To Get Crabs! - 08/20/2005 I'm twelve years old and recently went to the beach. <Let me first open with a couple of statements....  I am TREMENDOUSLY impressed, and pleased, with your grasp of basic grammar and spelling.  Let this be a lesson to all those older, more experienced folks out there - make proper sentences, use proper punctuation and capitalization.  Nicole, we truly appreciate this!  Thank you!  (Hey Bob, I got the "truly" right!)> <<Heeeee! RMF>> I found a shop that sold land hermit crabs, (they seemed happy and well-treated) and they sold some really tiny carrying cages. The lids are plastic, with slits. Mine is probably one gallon, and I have two crabs. <This is quite a bit too small for land hermits....  though it will serve as an adequate temporary home, if you can keep the humidity very high.> They have purple claws, though I'm not sure what the type is. <Many possibilities.  All have the same or similar care requirements, and all make excellent pets.  You will enjoy caring for these guys, I'm sure!> They seem to get along well, I have: Sand made of calcium, completely edible Hermie Food Water dish, two inches deep but has stones below (No possible drowning, sand inside means they go in) Climbing surface Fake plant <I would strongly recommend that you look into a larger enclosure (10 gallon tank, if possible) with a lid that covers the tank quite well, to retain humidity.  Another requirement, eventually, will be a container of saltwater - contrary to some literature, ALL land hermits available for sale in the US do, in fact, come from marine environments and do require saltwater in addition to freshwater.  I'll give you some links to some good resources at the end of this message.> Okay. I don't have a spritzer, but I live in Austin and it's pretty humid, plus I bathe them every day. <I strongly urge you not to bathe them daily - or at all, for that fact.  Once they're in a larger space, make one of their water pools deep enough that they can go completely underwater if they desire - they'll keep themselves clean.  They do not have people bathing them daily in the wild....  This can actually cause them harm in the long run, mostly stress-related, I fear.> Do they definitely need a spritzer? <Unless you're dripping condensation off the end of your nose right now, you'll need to get that humidity up.  Covering the lid with some plastic wrap (leave enough uncovered for air exchange) will help, and "misting" their container daily will help, as well.>> I also don't have a humidifier or thermometer, but our house is always on 78 or 80. <This temp. is fine.> And can you use a spritzer from a body spray if it is empty, soaked, and dishwashed? <I would not....  You can probably get a cheap spritzer in the plant section in your local discount store, or maybe even a grocer's or drugstore.> They are a big hot pink shelled one (Sebastian) and a small pale pink shelled one (Ariel). <Make sure to offer them more shells of varying sizes.> Sebastian is always willing to walk on my hands, and never pinches. He is especially active after bath. Ariel I can see walking but if I am loud she hides, and I cannot hold her, because she always retreats. She does flip over and walk around in bath, though. Anyway, they are always together, and seem to cooperate. But, today at about 9:30 tonight, they were away in their shells hiding (usual during the day) but one of Sebastian's left legs was lying on the sand. <Possible result of stress....  This may be no problem at all, as the leg will re-grow - but do please let him have some time to rest.> I removed it, and held him and he still seemed fine, although he was a little off balance. I bathed them and they were fine. <Again, this may be a major source of stress for them....  let them keep themselves clean, it is better for them.> Now, the two are together, not fighting, just away in their shells. What should I do? Sorry that I have so many questions! Oh, and tonight I'm going to separate them. Please respond as soon as possible! <Mostly, I would recommend, as above, try to get a larger enclosure for them, provide fresh and saltwater, get that humidity up (pronto!  very important!), and let them chill out a bit to recover from the great ordeal of moving into a new (and obviously loving) home.  Try the following for more information:   http://www.hermitcrabassociation.com , and http://www.hermit-crabs.com .  Wishing you, Sebastian, and Ariel well,  -Sabrina> Frogs with Crabs? 8/6/05 I have hermit crabs.  I'm wondering if I can put frogs in the same terrarium? Sharon < The first chance they get, the crabs will attack and probably kill the frogs.-Chuck>

Land Hermits 7.24.05 Good Morning Guys! I would like to start a small Crabitat with a few land hermits. I have scoured your site. Very informative. What a sense of humor you all have! My questions, then are : what type should I look for, what to avoid? I'd like some "friendly" types (although I understand they all have personalities) which are more likely to be peaceful? Also, what should I look for when choosing a crab at a store? I'd like to have maybe 3 or 4...(in a 50 gal tank). Aside: I once had two as a child. one died after a year and the other carried the corpse around until I could pry it away for a proper burial. The remaining lasted a few more months. Is the corpse carrying behavior normal? I was always curious. Thanks, b. <Hmm. . . well as far as what type to get, I have to admit I do not know Land Hermits that well, I would go with the standard pet store variety.  From I understand they are very social animals, in a 50 gallon tank I would go for a least 6 or so.  Provide a lot of areas for climbing and a deep moist sand bed for burrowing.  These animals are peaceful toward each other until they leave their shell, once they leave their shell to mold it is fair game and they become cannibalistic.  The corpse carrying behavior was probably related to the cannibalism.  For more detailed information on hermit crabs I like www.hermit-crab.com.  Best Regards, Gage>

Hermit crab change to smaller shell - then prefer not to have shell 7/12/05 Hi, <Hello> I'm very afraid of losing my hermit crab. One of my friend told me that her hermit crab came off from its shell and commit suicide. Now here's my problem. I bought some shell for my large hermit crab (Nemo), big n small... Nemo decided to move into a smaller shell than the one that he used to have. Now, he   came off his shell and not moving into any shell....what does that mean? <Mmm, not good...> Is he   going to die soon? Should i buy more shells since he's not happy with what he has now? <More shells, assortment is a good idea... Do you have a source of humidity for your Hermit? I would place (and re-wet) a sponge in its home daily> Please help me.. I'm very scared now thank Chengyee <Please scan here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/hermitcrabfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Transporting a hermit crab 7/10/05 My 7 year old daughter who is currently in Wyoming visiting her dad has purchased a hermit crab.  I am in Idaho and the plan was to drive to Rock Springs Wyoming to pick her up and then on to Bismark, North Dakota for a 3 day family reunion.  At that point we would all return to Caldwell, Idaho where we live.   Is it possible to transport this crab with us the entire way? <Yes, certainly> If so, what do I need to do to guarantee its safe and healthy arrival? <Keep it and its food, gravel in its container... along with a damp sponge (for moisture, humidity), and set all this down on the floor, level, in the shade. Bob Fenner> I'm worried about my Hermie 7/7/05 Hi! Approximately 2 weeks ago, I purchased 2 Ecuadorian hermit crabs. One is about 2-3 inches big and the other one is tiny and about 2-2.5centimeters. Their container is 12 x 7 inches and kept at around 78°F. I use Calci-sand as a substrate and make sure they always have adequate food & water (stress coat treated). I also have a Hermie hut and a few shells in there. (I don't know if this is relative or necessary, but I thought I'd provide the information just in case it is). Well, at the start of this week I found one of the legs of the larger hermit crab lying in the tank. Prior to this they both seemed very happy and healthy, and the small one is still active as ever. I've read through your website and I'm aware of the factors that may cause them to lose a limb. There aren't any mites or anything so I figured it was stress. He hasn't lost anymore legs since and I know that it's possible for them to grow them back when they molt, so I figured he would be okay. But this entire week he's only come out of his shell once. And that was after I misted him. But now he's not coming out at all or eating at all. Even at night or when I mist him. He doesn't dig or move or anything. I know he's still alive because he twitches when I touch his legs, and if I take him out and hold him for a while, he'll come out just enough so I could see his antenna twitching around, but he always just retreats back after a while and other than that I haven't seen him all week. I'm worried about him and I'm wondering if possibly you have any explanation for this? Thanks a lot! Jessica <Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com <<? RMF>>

More On The Worrying Hermit - 07/13/2005 Hey Bob <Actually, Sabrina here....  Bob's pretty taxed from so many incoming questions....  Pretty busy season we've got right now!  Plus, I'm also a hermit crab geek ;) > Sorry to bug you again, but I wrote you the following message last week. Well, today the crab who lost a leg died. =( <I'm so sorry to hear it....> I think he died at least, I smelled him and he has a peculiar fishy smell, but a faint one. <A strong sign of a hermit's passing.  Again, so sorry.> I'm kind of a newbie at this and don't know exactly if this is the shed of the exoskeleton after a molt or if he's dead. <I'm assuming the "dead" hermit/shed exo is outside the shell at this point?  If so and there's no hermit in the shell, yeah, I fear the little guy's gone to the great ocean in the sky.> I've read through the page you sent in your reply as well as throughout the website, but I just can't seem to find any information that matches up exactly. I saw people writing about limbs coming off, but not strange behavior or anything afterwards such as I described to you in my previous email. <Your previous email does, in fact, sound like the little dude may have been doomed from before you got him - lethargy is a very strong sign of problems.  Invertebrate disease isn't a widely studied or discussed topic, so it is very, very hard to say what specifically may have caused his decline.> I'm especially concerned since now, my other hermit crab isn't acting himself and I think there's a strange liquid at the opening of his shell. <Can you describe this strange liquid?> I'm not entirely sure, as his shell is a dark color and it's hard to tell since it emits glare. I know I've read about this somewhere, too. But I can't seem to find information now when I'm most desperate for it. <If he's just starting to look a little gray or "washed out", I would wager that he's just gearing up for a molt.  If he takes off and digs underground, leave him alone, and let him do his thing.  I recommend that you slightly moisten at least one area of the sand that is at least deep enough to completely cover him if he digs in.> I just can't figure out what the problem is!! I thought my bigger one would be okay, they have all the necessary supplies as far as I know, I described them to you in my last email. <Yes....  The only things you haven't mentioned are humidity and saltwater.  High humidity is crucial - life-and-death important - for hermit crabs.  Do you have a humidity gauge?  Also, Ecuadorian hermits (Coenobita compressus) require saltwater in addition to freshwater....  This means two separate water bowls.  I *strongly* recommend using a salt designed for marine aquariums INSTEAD of the oh-so-popular Doc Wellfish or other salts designed for freshwater aquariums....  Basically, if saltwater fish can't live in it, I wouldn't give it to my hermits and assume it is anything like sea water.  Marine salt will help give him the calcium and iodine that he needs to complete a successful molt.> I'm desperate for your help and I really don't want to lose another one. I've grown rather fond of them, actually. <C. compressus are my favorites....  I have several of my own.  Erm, come to think of it, I did find that larger Ecuadorians tend to be a little more prone to being stressed after purchase....  possibly more likely to have disease - I dunno.  My littler ones were a great deal more lively just after purchase, and continue to be as lively and healthy as they've grown.> Please, any response would be appreciated. I'm sorry for the trouble, thank you so much for your time. <No trouble....  and glad to be of service.  The most crucial thing here is HIGH HUMIDITY.  If it doesn't smell like a freakin' rain forest in there, it's probably not humid enough.  Get yourself a humidity gauge, and get the humidity up to at least 70%, preferably a bit more.  Also, please take a look at http://www.hermitcrabassociation.com and http://www.hermit-crabs.com .  You'll find oodles of information there.  I hope it helps you out some.> Jessica <Wishing you and your hermit(s) well,  -Sabrina>

Hermit crab longevity 7/7/05 I've had my land hermit crab for  about a week now and it has already died. I was wandering of how  long  a land crab can live for?             Sincerely,   Chelsea Coleman   <Can live for years. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/hermitcrabfaqs.htm For ideas on what may have gone wrong with yours. Bob Fenner>

Help for my new hermit crab 7/7/05 Like another reader, my sons accidentally bought back a live hermit  crab from Dauphin Island in Mobile AL.  I saw that the answers were  supposed to be listed in the archives but I cannot find them! <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/hermitcrabfaqs.htm particularly the links> Please help  me take care of this little guy.  I bought a small tank, pebbles,  sand,  Oceanic Sea Salt Mix and a sponge for water, and HBH brand Crab  and Lobster Bites.  Can you tell me more about this little guy?  From  they Dauphin Island Estuary site I believe he is a Striped Hermit Crab   (Clibanarius vittatus) He is in a Tupperware container right now because I  don't know quite how to set up the tank for him. Thanks in advance for  any help you can give me! Deborah <Also, search on the Net with the scientific name and the words "care", "husbandry". Bob Fenner>

Hermit out of his shell 07.04.05 One of my hermits is out of the shell and crawling around the tank unprotected, what can I do???? <Keep the humidity up, offer him a variety of shells with different size openings, and if possible put other crabs in a different enclosure until this guy figures out what he is trying to do, they are very vulnerable when out of their shell.  Oh, also provide some damp sand a few inches deep, he may be feeling the need to molt, and will need to bury himself.  Gage> Caring for Hermit Crabs 6/31/05 So Chuck am I doing everything else correctly. Also, do hermit crabs move their antennas around if they are healthy if so mine don't do much of that. < The antennas are really sensory organs as they encounter new or different objects. I think in an established habitat there would be little for them to investigate after awhile.> Their container is (13 1/2 by 7 inch) is that enough for two and a half hermit crabs [the 1/2=the very small one]. Sorry that might be confusing. < During the day it seems like they're asleep and don't need much room at all, but at night they are all over the place investigating everything. You might want to give them some rocks or twigs to climb on to give them a little exercise.> So please can you tell me anything else I need to know about taking care of my marine hermit crabs because I want them to be as happy as they can be.! Thanks. < I would recommend that you get a book on hermit crabs to give you a "check list" of what you can do. ZooMed puts out an inexpensive little booklet on hermit crabs that is very informative.-Chuck> Hermit Crabs I have a question about taking good care of my salt water hermit crabs. I have a picture of them to help you out. I got them in Florida about three weeks ago and they have done just fine, they have tried out new shells and got back in there old ones then back in the new ones. Right now I am feeding them dog food cut into little pieces. Can you also tell what to feed them? < There are commercial hermit crab foods available at pet shops that sell hermit crabs.> There water has been changed like every other day and is supplied with oxygen. There sand cleaned out too. I forgot to mention that I have three of them. They are not being kept in an aquarium because I don't have the money or room for that and it's not medal anywhere. The crabs are in saltwater and the water is almost room temperature. So tell me what else needs to be done in order for them to have a happy life and environment? < Don't let the humidity get too low or too cool. A cool dry environment is just the opposite of what they need and they will not last too long unless the are kept warm and humid.-Chuck>

Shrinking Crab Problem?     This afternoon, I looked into my crabs container to see his front end sitting out on the open. When I peeped into his shell, I saw an unusual sight.     My crab was light, light brown colour with none of the original markings and he was a way, way, way, super way, smaller size. Instead of just barely fitting in the shell, this different crab it was nicely buried inside.     This couldn't have been a crab attacking another crab because there was only one in the tank.     Could he have molted and became smaller or just had baby that ate it? <Perhaps the original animal did perish... but they can/do shrink down in size, molting at times... due to a lack of nutrition, poor water quality. Bob Fenner> Hermit Crab Problems I am sorry to bother you with this, but I didn't find my answer in the different web pages that I browsed.  I have had a hermit crab, Crusty, for  almost 2 years now.  He has molted several times, quite normally.   Last summer we added another crab, Crispy, to the cage.  They have both  been acting quite normally, and Crispy recently molted.  However, Crusty,  the older one, doesn't look very good.  He's hanging out of his shell  looking very floppy--a bit different than when he molts.  I confess that I  didn't smell him--I'll do that tomorrow.  I will also confess that my son  has not watered them for a day or 2.   Can you help?  Thank you for  your time! LMG < The biggest killer of land hermit crabs is the lack of humidity. During the summer the elevated air temps reduces the humidity and these little guys dry out and die. Older crabs may be more susceptible than smaller younger crabs.-Chuck> Hermit Crab Substrate I could not find anything on your web site but I would like to ask you a question. Is used fish tank gravel OK to put in my hermit crab cage with half sand and half used fish tank gravel? < As long as the materials are well washed then there shouldn't be a problem.-Chuck>

Land Hermit Crab Compatibility (They Aren't!) HI I am at a total lost about this, I have 3 land hermit crabs that have been together for little over a year, two of them are small in size, and one is mid size. I have just cleans and restocked them with various sized shells for there  enjoyment. Which they have been investigating. One of the smaller ones has taken up resting inside a large shell while he is still in his own shell. like a  double coat of armor. Now for my problem, for the past 2 days the mid size crab has moved on top of one of the smaller one. It holds onto the others shell, completely engulfing it with its body. I have tried separating them and have had the larger one try to pinch me with his claws, and he holds it so tight that they will not separate easily. At times during the day he will raise up and extend his legs in a canopy style hold on the others shell and raise his claws above his head. The little one will come out of the shell only enough to move around within this hold, always staying on the back of the shell.  I have found small shavings of carrots laying on the rim of the smaller ones shell. They are in bite size for this smaller crab, and have seen its claw capture these bites to take into the shell. I have also hear them communicating when ever I come near to them. I have tried to separate them only to have them run,, to each other from the opposite side of the tank, which is really very funny looking for them to do. Is every thing alright and if not what should I do ? If they are mating what do I need to do to keep any of the offspring healthy. These crabs are the focal point in our office, and some of the clients will come in just to watch and laugh at there antis. All during this time they have never acted in this manner before. Thank you, Natalie Carmichael < If you have had them for a year then they may be getting ready to shed their exoskeleton. When they do this they turn a lighter color just before they shed. After they shed they are very soft and pliable and this makes them vulnerable to be eaten by larger crabs. This may be a mating behaviour too but I haven't read anything on hermit crab breeding though. Another possibility is the larger crab may be after eating the little crab when it switches shells revealing its softer body parts. I would separate them for awhile until they have all switched shells.-Chuck> 

Mating Terrestrial Hermit Crabs? Chuck, Add another day to the encasement of the little crab. I just now tried to release the smaller one from the larger one's hold, that is covering it and Red knees  (the larger one has brighten in color to a complete strong red body) refuses to let go. The hold it has on the shell is very strong, and when I tried to remove him from his hold he tightened his grip around it. I don't want to hurt either one of them by forcing him to let go, but I can not find a way to do it.  One of them has also added more fine carrot pieces to the little shell crab's home. The little crab seems to be safe for he is able to sink deeply into the new shell. I do know that the crab in the encasement has moved into this new shell just recently. It has a great deal more room that I can tell. It color is not the off white as when it has molted before, but is a very dark gray in color.  They all have gone thru the bury in the sand stage just a short time ago and that is how I know they will be molting soon. They all have done this and , so I know molting is on the way.  This action is entirely unknown to me. The dumb question is what if they are mating and the babies that come from it ? What do I look for? and how will I protect any offspring? Do they need a water home ? or dry soil? Thank you for your suggestion and as soon as I am able to, I'll separate them into smaller enclosures. The other litter crab is fine and moving freely around in the aquarium, exploring all the new shells. Natalie <It seems that you do indeed have a pair of hermit grabs. The male thinks that the female has eggs. Once she lays the eggs then he wants to place his sperm packet in their shell so he can father the next batch. Hermit crabs actually mate in saltwater. Both of them retract from their shells and the eggs are scattered in the water. When the larvae reach adulthood the climb out of the water and begin their terrestrial life. I would place a shallow dish of saltwater in the tank with a pump or airstone to provide some water movement and see if the male will carry the female over to the water and will mate. It may not work but its worth a try to see what happens. If you do get eggs and they hatch then you will need to set up a saltwater tank and get some suggestions from the saltwater WWM crew on what to feed the larvae.-Good Luck.-Chuck>

SHEDDING HERMIT CRAB PROBLEMS I hope you can help us, I searched for an answer to this puzzling situation on your site but could not find one. My son has 2 land hermit crabs that we bought about a year ago. One is a larger dark red hermit crab and the other is what we consider a "baby", he is in a small shell about the size of the flat part of your thumb and he is lighter in color, more of a reddish white. We have never had problems with them in the past and we follow all the instructions we were given on caring for them.  They are in a medium sized tank with colored rocks on the bottom (we sometimes use Calci- sand but the upkeep is harder so we switched back to rocks about 2 months ago), we have 3 small sponges placed throughout the tank and a small bath with water, we have small shell dish to hold the food and a little house for them to sleep in, we also have a piece of cholla wood which we added about 2 months ago (which they never gained interest in).  Basically they keep to themselves and don't do much except when we give them a quick bath every week or so and clean the cage, then they seem to be pretty active for about 24 hours and then they retreat back to doing nothing most of the time. My son is supposed to keep their sponges wet and give fresh water daily, however he sometimes slacks off a bit and a day or so passes before he does it but for the most part they usually always have fresh water and they always have fresh food (FMR hermit crab food and treats). We have not changed anything recently and I have never seen them shed like I have read about.  A few days ago I looked in the tank and saw the little guy with half of his body hanging out of his shell which is VERY unusual for him) and he was EXTREMELY white and dried up looking. I didn't know if he was dead or just shedding but since his color was SO WHITE, I thought the worst, he looked DRIED UP, so I checked and they had fresh water and sponges and my son said he changed it the day before and both crabs were fine. I started to pick the crab up and it looked like his body was going to break in half and fall out of the shell so I left it alone, in case he was shedding, I didn't want to disrupt him. I figured we would wait and see what happens.  The next day he was in the same spot, not moved at all, however a leg had fallen off of his body, which gave me hope that he was shedding and not dead. Then today I checked again (3rd day) and now the entire front half of his body is out of the shell and looks like it moved ( I don't know if the other crab moved him or if it was like a spontaneous eruption) but he appears dead as can be since I think I can see his eye in the broken part of the body.  I plan to remove it from the tank, but I first want to be sure that he is in fact dead and this is not some sort of shedding process, please give me advice on what to do. I don't want to just give up hope, but I'm pretty sure he's dead and my son is heartbroken.  Can you please tell me what could have caused this so suddenly? I mean one day he was fine and the next day his body changed color and broke in half and came out of the shell, I don't get it. < An arthropod is never so vulnerable as it is when it molts its old skin. This shedding process is very tough on them and they really need to be misted to stay moist through the entire process. If they dry out and can't shed then the new softer skin is restricted. This soften skin also leaves them vulnerable to predators like other larger crabs. I suspect that the humidity was not high enough in the tank or the larger crab killed the smaller one when it turned white and tried to shed. Next time I would remove the smaller crab when they turned white and increase the humidity until the old skin is shed and the new one has hardened.-Chuck> 

GOT CRABS? We recently got a hermit crab from Texas and we do not know what it eats and where we should have it Tara Brooks < Go to ZooMed.com and get their new book on hermit crabs. They even have a couple of hermit crab kits with everything you need including a beginners book to get you started. In the meantime, hermit crabs are tropical and require a heating device to keep their terrarium between 78 and 83 degrees. The Zoomed ReptiTherm UTH works well as a heating device. They do require a relative humidity of 70%+, so a water dish with a sponge in it is really needed. For lighting the daylight blue and nighttime red bulbs really show them off. Hermit crabs are very active at night and the red bulb allows you to observe the crabs without really frightening them. The bottom of the terrarium should have some clean fine sand and a branch or two for them to crawl on. They do best on a commercial hermit crab food. The big problem with these crabs is that they dry out and need to be misted often. -Chuck>

Land Hermit Crab I need help please! I bought a land hermit crab for my son from Key West, Fla. It was doing fine until this morning, first we one of its legs broken, then it came out of its shell. Its tail part soft skin, now it is drying up. It wont move, it does not eat or drink, we don't know what to do.  It looks like it is now dead.  Please help us help this little guy.  Thank you. >>>Hello, More info please. Describe your husbandry. AND, it could just be molting (shedding skin) they do this now and then. Cheers Jim<<<

Terrestrial Hermit Crabs Hi, I am having trouble finding Herman Haven Food products> The store that used to sell it closed and my hermits won't eat anything else I've tried. I tried to slowly introduce these products into there diet but they won't eat anything else. <Try contacting them directly: http://shop.store.yahoo.com/insectlore/hershavlivhe.html > Also, they haven't grown since I got them last summer, 2004. There are three of them and non of them has molted yet. <... odd...> I have extra shells too. They move around the tank, I keep the temp. as the books and written info say too and keep the humidity about 40%. I tried to increase the humidity but for some reason it stays up a few days then go to 40% again. <Uhh, evaporation? Try keeping a moist sponge in their enclosure> They are in a 5 gallon glass tank. Please let me know if you have any idea where I can get this food. I live in N.J. Thanks <Write on my young friend. Bob Fenner>

Painting hermit crab shells 1/4/05 My kids want to paint their Hermit's next shell.  What kind of paint should we use? thanks <use non-toxic "baby-safe" acrylic paint like you'd find at Home Depot for painting children's furniture... or better still, perhaps find smaller portions and more colors at the craft/fabric stores. If it says "baby safe" then you are in business :) Anthony> Land Hermit Crab Question? >>I am going ahead and retyping much of this as it is so short. >Yes I have two hermit crabs and I've never seen one molt so my biggest one lost its legs.  I thought that it was molting but after three days I smelled something and he smelled bad.  Would it be [he] died or is this something that they go through when they molt?  If you can, please write me back and let me know.  Thanks, Tanya >>Well, Tanya, I'm going to assume that you mean to say you have land hermits.  There are two commonly kept species that I know of, the Caribbean and the Ecuadorian.  Both require sand deep enough to molt in, as it seems you may know (?).  However, it seems the nose knows, if it smells bad my guess is it did indeed die.  I will link you to a site where I've learned not only what kind of land hermit my oldest son "blessed" us with (which has been buried in the sand for about three weeks, we assume to molt as he stays tight in his shell and doesn't smell), but how to care for him.  The sites are http://www.hermit-crabs.com/  and   http://www4.tpg.com.au/users/vanessap/hermit/cs/  Best of luck!  Marina

A Real Stumper - Ideas, Anyone?? I have found that there is a freshwater hermit crab (not a land crab) that lives on of the Islands of Vanuatu.  Do you know if this hermit crab is available to the aquarium trade? I am also interested in a freshwater spider crab, Amarinus lacustris native to Australia and New Zealand. Can you tell me if either on is available?  Moon <Please forgive the lateness with which I am responding.  You've given us quite a toughie, with this one.  I'm afraid information on these animals is extremely elusive.  In fact, I could find nothing on a freshwater hermit from Vanuatu.  The other, however, Amarinus lacustris, I was able to find some (vague) information, but not much.  Mostly only squibs on captions.  I am unclear whether this animal is a true freshwater crab, or whether it is a brackish/marine crab that sometimes finds its way into freshwater.  The only really solid bit of info I've found is that it seems to be found in association with the plant Cotula coronopifolia.  I, personally, have never seen nor heard of either of these two crabs being offered in the trade in the US.  This will be posted on the Daily FAQs page, so hopefully somebody out there will see, know, and respond with further info.  Anybody?  Our fingers are crossed.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

A Real Stumper - II Re: Freshwater hermit crabs Here is a site with a little bit of info about Amarinus lacustris   http://www.nzfreshwater.org/crustacea.html <I did see this in my searches, and unfortunately, that was the largest chunk of info I found, and I couldn't find anything to verify it with.> and another with mention of the freshwater hermit crab from Vanuatu   http://www.crustacea.net/crustace/anomura/ <I saw this, as well - I'm sure you agree the mention of it is vague, at best, eh?  Upon further inspection, you'll see a reference marked at the end of the sentence mentioning this crab.  Go to the references page linked at the left, scroll down, and you'll find the following reference:  "McLaughlin, P.A. & T. Murray, 1990. Clibanarius fonticola, new species (Anomura: Paguridea: Diogenidae), from a fresh-water pool on Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu. Journal of Crustacean Biology 10: 695-702."  A Google search on Clibanarius fonticola yielded a PDF file with only a passing mention of this species under a description of another Clibanarius species, but I was unable to find any further information on C. fonticola at all.  If you have an interest in finding more, I'd suggest to seek out the McLaughlin and Murray reference, and see where that takes you.  Good luck in your search for knowledge, and I'll be sure to let you know if anyone brings more info to light for us.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina> Michael

Land Hermit Crab Molting Hello! I was wondering how long a hermit crab will take to molt. Also, what should I do to it (if anything) when its molting. The last thing I was wondering was where I could get a good online source about land hermit crabs. <Honestly I am really not sure, I would check out the links below to see if you can find this information.  Best Regards, Gage http://landhermitcrabs.com/ http://www.hermit-crabs.com/ > Dead Hermit Hello, I am so sad! I have had my two land hermit crabs in the same exact environment for over 1 year, with fresh food, fresh water on a sponge, toys, sleeping cave, etc. Five days ago, one of them died. I was concerned about the other one being lonely, then all of a sudden, he too died yesterday.  <Wow, I'm sorry for your losses. that's very surprising.>  I am baffled at what might have killed them? I have to admit when I got them, the book I got never mentioned that daily spraying is necessary, and I bathed them but hardly sprayed them. I also have a water softening system, and did not know that could cause harm. My question is, if I was so utterly irresponsible with their care, how is it that they both died within 5 days of each other?  <these animals are extremely hardy, most likely something might have been sprayed into the tank like a cleaning chemical or perhaps you had changed around their location in the room, for instance a woman last week lost her land hermit crabs due to the fact she had moved the tank closer to a heat register without realizing it. The heat was to much for the crabs.>  After reading your website, I feel so super guilty for not caring for them properly. Could the sponge have acquired a bacteria that might have killed them? I cannot think of anything else.  <it might have been, but I've known many people that have kept the same sponge in their tanks for many years with no problems.>  We buried them in their own boxes, side by side, and I truly miss them. Is it stupid that I am crying right now as I write this?  <It's not stupid, it shows that you actually cared for the animals you brought into your home. I would much rather have people like you in the world then the idiots I see walking into the pet stores every two weeks to purchase "replacement" animals.>  Thanks for any help.  <I suggest you check out the land hermit crabs forum. it's a fun place, lots of people their know their stuff about these weird little critters.  http://www.landhermitcrabs.com/   Check the place out I imagine you will fit in quite well with LHC owners. Good luck. Magnus>

Hermit Crabs - The Land-Dwelling Type 05/07/2004 I had paid for 2 hermit crabs.  A month later the first one I found out of his shell dead, and the 2nd hermit crab was in his shell and then next day, 2nd hermit crab had moved back in his own shell.  Then 2 week later 2nd hermit crab died out side his shell. <I'm sorry to hear that :( > I am new at this and don't understand why they died.    <I'm afraid I don't, either.  I have, though, found a decent care sheet online, and I do hope that this will help get you re-started.  Furthermore, on this link is also a forum, where you can detail your situation to the other forum users, and see if they can help you discern what happened, and whether it is preventable should you try hermits again. http://www.landhermitcrabs.com/ I would guess that the crabs were either in poor shape to begin with, or lacking something crucial to survival, like water.  Without more detail on their housing, temperature, humidity, etc., it will be difficult to determine exactly the cause of death.  I do recommend that you get on that forum, read that care sheet, and try again, implementing everything that you learn.> My 6yr old cried and cried.  I want to get another but scared to. <Understandable - but I think that, once you have a good understanding of these animals' needs, you could be confidant to try again.> I read a clipping saying they might not be dead so I still have 2nd hermit crab and hoping comes alive but I don't know if that article is right or I misunderstand the article. <My only best guess is that it was referring to the empty shell of the crab's exoskeleton after molting.... but I don't know.> Can you please help me and tell me what I am doing wrong.    <I wish I could, Melody.  I'm sorry I don't have any more to tell you - but I do think you'll find that link useful.  A simple Google search of "land hermit crab" will probably yield lots of information, as well.  Wishing you, your kiddo, and your future pet crabs well,  -Sabrina> Melody Linton

Destructive Terrestrial Hermit Crabs <Hi, Mike D here> I have two Land hermit crabs I have had them for about ten months they started out with a decent sized sponge that they would drink out of. It always  had fresh water (chlorine free) but lately I have noticed that they are tearing it apart.<OK> For the past couple of days I have been hermit crab sitting and all the hermit crabs are getting along but the sponge that the visiting hermit crabs  had brought with them was in perfect condition and now it is a little torn apart. I am pretty sure that it is my hermit crabs doing all of the destroying of  the sponge. Is there any reason that they are doing this?<It could be any number of things, such as algae beginning to grow in the sponge tissue, or, if it's a natural sponge vs. an artificial sponge, it could contain a vitamin or mineral that they require, or at least enjoy> Is there anything that  I could do to make them stop it?<Why would you want to? They are doing it for a reason known only to them, and be it a vitamin deficiency or just sheer boredom, they seem to be getting some enjoyment from it. Sponges are so inexpensive that it would seem like a worthwhile and minor investment if it makes their life a little better>                                                                                             Sincerely,                                                                                                          Neva

Did my land hermit crabs lay eggs? Hey, my sister and I bought two hermit crabs, together, a few months ago.   Today, we came home, and my sister went to feed them and mist and everything else, well she picked up their food container, and found two semi-clear, with what looked like pink "claws" on each side?  We are freaking out, mainly because, this is the first time, this has happened to us?  We've been researching ever since, we discovered what was in their food container, and cannot find any answers.  We would greatly appreciate your help!! < Your hermit crab has an exo-skeleton so the only they can grow is to shed this skeleton every once in a while as they grow. I think what you found is the left over external skeleton of each of the claws.-Chuck>

Land Hermit Reproduction or Shed/Molt? 10/23/04 I came home, and was going to feed my hermit crabs, I found in their food bowl, one little pink ball, I left it in there, gave them some fresh food, I woke up the next day, and went to check on them, on the other side of their food bowl, was another ball.  The one that I found the day before had been buried. This was a couple of days ago, what is it? <tough to say without a picture or better description. The burying of eggs for terrestrial varieties would not be a surprise though. A picture is worth a thousand words here in the absence of a description more detailed then "little pink ball", my friend. Anthony> Hey guys, great site.  

Help For Land Hermits? - 10/11/2004 Bob: HELP <OKAY!  Well, actually, Sabrina here with you, this fine, rainy afternoon.  Hope to help you with your hermits!> We have adopted 4 hermit crabs.  The crabs are from a "mall hut". we live in a small town and the pet stores have the shells, but not the animals.   <I actually recommend purchasing online from a reputable dealer and having them shipped, before purchasing from the carts in the mall, which promote deleterious conditions for these otherwise long-lived, fun pets.> Any way... we are excited with our new family members.   <Glad to hear it - these *are* a very exciting animal!> However,  the "mall" group provides little info and we have been on line for many days...we need good sound advice before we lose all four of our new friends!!! <I'm so happy you're eager to learn about your new animals.  Hopefully we can point you in the right direction!> one of our new friends has dropped 3 legs, one being his big pincher.  I am sure I should worry, but I am trying to learn all about this as my little girls find the body parts.  HELP!!!!!!!!!   <I would indeed be worried.  First off, are you positive that the crab has dropped legs, or is it possibly just molting?  Meaning, have you looked at the crab, and he is shy three legs, or did you just find leg shells laying around?  Next, what sort of setup are they in?  How large is the tank?  What kind of substrate are you using?  What are you feeding them?  Are you offering them both freshwater *and* saltwater, in separate dishes?  How warm is the tank?  Is the tank covered, and is it retaining humidity?  Humidity is the most important factor, here; hermit crabs, though they live on land, still breathe with gills - and their gills need to be wet, or they will suffocate.  If the tank is too dry, it will promote poor health in the crabs.  Also, this is also the biggest reason to boycott those mall kiosks - I have never seen a mall cart that had their crabs in any sort of a proper setup.  Who knows how long your crabs were at that place, with little to no humidity, etc., etc.  The crab with the missing legs was probably in ill health long before you acquired him.> We want them to be part of our life, the girls love them and sincerely want to take care of them (god knows this is more than they want to take care of their room!!)  <Well, how about this - let me give you an idea of a good setup for the crabs, and you can compare this to your current crab house and tweak your setup as necessary.  This is going to get lengthy, but don't be daunted!  It's a very fun experience!  For three crabs, I would have at least a ten gallon tank.  These are very inexpensive; you may be able to find one for cheap or free through the classifieds in your newspaper, even - new, they cost about ten dollars.  Next, the tank needs to be covered to hold in humidity.  You could either use a glass cover, or a lid/light combo, like those sold for fish tanks.  If you need to do this on the cheap, you could use just a piece of glass, Plexiglas, or even simply saran wrap!  Just needs to hold in the humidity.  Speaking of humidity, it would be a good idea to try to get temperature and humidity gauges.  These can be found at most pet stores that carry reptile supplies.  As for heating the tank, this may not be necessary, depending upon the temperature in your house. You can keep them in a warm location, or you can get a device for heating the tank.  Many folks use under-tank heaters for hermit crabs.  As for substrate, the crabs will need to be able to dig to remain feeling secure, and so that they can bury themselves when they need to molt.  My own personal preference is silica play sand, which can be found at home depot type stores for just a few dollars per 50 pound bag.  I keep mine just barely moist enough for the crabs to dig and tunnel in.  Commercial substrates like "Eco-Earth", "Forest Bedding", and "Calci-Sand" (or any other sugar-fine aragonite) are other good options.  Next up, water.  Despite common belief, it is now thought that *all* species of hermit crabs absolutely require both fresh and salt water.  This is not a rough task, though it might sound like it.  All you need is salt designed for marine aquaria, NOT salt sold for freshwater fish (there is some debate about this, but I stand VERY firmly by the idea that, if it's not good enough for ocean animals, it's not good enough for my hermits, which ARE ocean animals!).  Just follow the directions on the container to mix up a gallon of saltwater; you can use a gallon of drinking water from the store for this, and then just have it on hand any time you need to change the saltwater dish.  Dishes for the water (and food) can be done on the cheap, too - plastic lids from peanut butter jars will do nicely, or you can get fancy dishes from the pet store.  As for food, there are many commercial foods available (including some good fish foods, which can be used).  You can also feed them non-citrus fruits (apples are a BIG hit with mine!), coconut, unsalted nuts, and aquatic meats like shrimp and crab.  Now for the best part - decoration!  Hermit crabs LOVE to climb!  Driftwood, cholla, or any deciduous tree limbs (no pine or other conifers) will provide fun climbing and hiding places.  Half a coconut shell can be cut to make a neat-o hideaway.  Decoration can be done on the cheap, and still look great, so no worries there, either.  Just avoid anything metal in the tank.  So.  A recap: -10g or larger tank -Lid/cover to hold in humidity -Heat (or warm location) -Temperature and humidity gauges -Substrate -Fresh water -Salt water (gallon of water, marine salt mix) -Dishes/lids for food and water -Food -Climbing/hiding spaces And you'll be all set.  Now, back to the injured/sick fellah, I would try to keep him separate from the other two.  I would not handle this crab, and try to give him time to rest and recover from the likely poor conditions he was in at the mall.  Hopefully, with a bit of R&R, he'll come around.  Definitely offer him enough sand (or whatever substrate you choose) to bury himself in, in case he is ill or stressed.  Sometimes, just being able to hide from the rest of the world is enough to make them feel better.  I know I can relate to that!> Besides, I would not want to take on a pet with out knowing how to take care of it properly.....and I have just done that.... <But your willingness and eagerness to learn is a major boon....  Thank you for seeking answers.> I enjoy the little guys... A LOT... <Me, too!  Wonderful little critters, aren't they?!> help me, help him, I think he may be leaving us, can I help him...please??? <Just as above, give him some space separate from the other crabs for a while.  Offer him enough substrate to bury in, and both salt and fresh water.  Offer him treat foods like apple, coconut, and uncooked human consumption shrimp.  Give him some time to recuperate, and hope for the best.  That's perhaps the best you can do.> my e-mail would be XXXX  please send me advice!!   <Also, please check out http://www.hermit-crabs.com , http://www.hermitcrabassociation.com , and http://www.landhermitcrabs.com for more information and also hermit crab forums.  There are many opinions out there on the forums, though, so please dive in and research if you find something that you deem questionable.  The salt issue is one such topic that is, for some odd reason, hotly debated - and again, hermit crabs are, in a sense, *marine* animals; I think it very important that they have water intended for marine use, to provide them the nutrients and minerals (like calcium!) that they need.  Salt marketed for freshwater aquaria does not provide this.  Just my opinion, though!> I like them as much as my girls, and want them to be fine and healthy. <With your passion to learn, I am certain you are doing your best, and will continue to do so.  I daresay you will give your hermits the best chance at a good, long life.> help! <I hope I have indeed helped, and not just confused the matter....  But either way, good luck and long life to you, your daughters, and your hermits.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Some kind of worms in the hermit crab tank!! I have two small hermit crabs I keep in a small tank with pea gravel, a water dish and a feeding dish. They also have some decoration and a small branch to climb on. (although I have not seen them climb).  I recently started misting the whole tank when I've been taking them out for food/water changing and their own misting. A day or two after this first tank misting I found a colony of little white worms living in the gravel, just beneath where the food dish had been. I gave the tank a scrub, threw out  all the wormy gravel and cleaned the rest. Now about a week later, I took a closer look under the food dish and found more! Is this something in the food? I feed them dry Hermit food. Or contaminated gravel? Or just normal for Hermits. It's really pretty gross. Any help would be great!  Thanks >>>I really have no idea Amy, some kind of fly larvae/maggots perhaps. Jim<<< Hermit Concerns - 09/26/2004 <First off, Lisa, please forgive me for the delay in response.  Sabrina with you, tonight.> I came home tonight and found one of my hermit crabs alive and in his shell but his pinchers and legs were beside him not attached anymore.  What happened?? <First off, are you 100% positive the legs themselves are off, or has he simply molted?  It can certainly appear that they've lost legs if you find bits of exoskeleton laying around, but then later see the crab walking around perfectly intact.> What do I do? He is still alive but has only one leg.   <So you've seen the whole crab, then?  Not just the bits of legs?  If he really has lost all his legs but one, there's not a whole lot you *can* do, but hope that he can still feed himself.  If he cannot feed himself, I have heard of success with hand-feeding them, but it's not very likely to do the trick, unfortunately.  Be certain to keep his tank very humid (75-80% humidity - might consider getting a hygrometer) and be sure to offer him both freshwater *and* saltwater (use a marine aquarium salt to mix the saltwater).  Keep the tank's temperature warm, too, 70-80 degrees.> Will he survive? <I'm sorry; I do not know.  Stranger things have happened, but we can only do our best....  Definitely try to keep his tank warm and humid, and just care for him as best you can.  They can and do regrow legs, but this might be just too much to recover from.  My fingers are crossed.> We had been out of town and their sponge was dry.  Does that have something to do with it??   <It is possible.  Humidity is *extremely* important to hermit crabs.> Should I leave the legs in there or remove them or what do I do? <*If* the crab has only molted, and really still has his legs, he should eat the old shells.  If they are actually his legs, remove them, as they will rot and stink.> Sorry if this is a stupid question.    <The only stupid question is the one that goes unasked.  Thanks for writing in.> Lisa :) <Wishing you and your hermit well,  -Sabrina>

Hermit Concerns - II - 10/05/2004 Hi Sabrina.   <Hi again, Lisa.> Thanks for replying.  My hermit crab did die.  We had a little funeral for him.   <I'm so sorry to hear of your loss.> What do you supposed caused this?  I read somewhere that he was possibly stressed out for many different reasons.   <Stress is likely a big factor; other things, like bacterial infections, may have been at play, as well.  I'm afraid that not much is known - or at least easy to find - about the illnesses of hermits.> I did go purchase a heater and all of my other crabs seems to be ok.   <Glad to hear that.  Make sure the tank stays nice and humid, too.> By the way I was 100% sure his legs were off.  I mean all he had in the shell was his body and one leg.   <Poor feller!> That one finally fell off and the next morning he was dead. His little body fell right out of his shell when I picked him up.  It was depressing.  Oh well.   <Again, my condolences for your loss.> Thanks again. Lisa <Take care, Lisa, and thanks for writing in.  Wishing you and your other hermits well,  -Sabrina> Hermit questions How much are hermit crabs and there cages? Do they make good pets? What do they eat < Hermit crabs seem to be all over the place now. I have seen them in malls and pet shops. The cost of the hermit crab depends on the size of the crab and how attractive the shell is. Usually under ten dollars with 5 dollars being the cost for an average sized crab. They really don't require too large a cage so a ten to twenty gallon aquarium would be plenty of room. They need humidity of at least 70% so they need a good source of water to keep them moist. The only real drawback is that they are most active at night. If they in a bed room then they are often heard walking around with their shells tapping the glass every once in a while. There are commercially available hermit crab foods available at the shops where you buy the crabs. ZooMed has a lot of products for hermit crabs so you may want to check out their web site at Zoomed.com.-Chuck>

Hermit crab babies 11/7/04 Hi Bob <Anthony Calf in his stead> I had a question on saltwater hermit crabs, my hermit crabs had babies and I read some of the articles on your website (great by the way). But I have heard that you must mimic a beach coastline, if not the baby hermit crabs will drown and die. If this is true than why can there parents be in an aquarium, wouldn't they drown also. Thank you! Sincerely, Jenny <there are many possibilities here... hermit crabs are known to be terrestrial, intertidal and of course - fully aquatic. Some spend their entire lives in a given niche while others spend certain life cycles in different niches. The "land" hermit crabs must be get moist and humid but not submerged or they will drown. Anthony>

Re: (land) hermit crab I'm not sure if land crabs are your area, but if so I would very much appreciate a reply.  I have had a land hermit crab for over a year now.  He's to all appearances happy and healthy, except he has lost quite a bit of color.  In fact, the last time he molted he was just about translucent.  He has a choice of many foods:  Hikari "Crab cuisine", Tetra/Terrafauna "hermit crab cakes", Aquadyne mix of goldfish food and vegetables, and Hermit Haven hermit crab food.  He has a large water dish with sponges, shells, and Cholla wood.  He also gets salad or other veggies from my meals.  His water is distilled, and I change the shells when it appears that the calcium has come off of them. Do you have any ideas as to what could be happening to my crab?  Thank you very much for your time. ~Melissa <Hi Melissa, it sounds like you take excellent care of your hermit crab.  Varied diet, good water, clean living, the only thing that I can think of that may be missing is sunlight.  A full spectrum daylight fluorescent bulb may help him/her out.  My experience with land hermits is limited, but it sounds like you are doing everything correctly, I would try adding some daylight.>

Land hermit crabs hi, I brought 10 little land hermit crabs back from Mexico for my son for Christmas. they are in a large Plexiglas tank with little stones and some awesome climbing sticks. I have hermit food and a sponge that I keep quite wet. I mist them daily and I have provided lots of shells. (they are changing them like crazy) two of them are connected right now and they are making "clicking noises" are they fighting? how do they mate? can you give me any advice?  when I took them, I vowed to keep them alive and I want all the info I can get.    thanks,   Julie Swann <Hi Julie, I am not familiar with the actual mating ritual of the land hermit crab.  I would be willing to bet they are fighting, most likely over a shell.  While searching on google.com I stumbled upon the link below, it appears to have a lot of information on land hermits http://www4.tpg.com.au/users/vanessap/hermit/cs/cs_gender.html Hope this helps, Gage>

Hitch Hiking Hermit Crab Hello I have a problem that maybe you could help out with.  Over Easter break I vacationed to Aruba.  Along the shore Collected shells.  When I arrived home I realized that the only thing I brought home from Aruba wasn't just shells.  A hermit crab no bigger than 1 inch tagged along. <Whoops> It has small blue legs and a huge abdomen.  I gave it a shell to go it and it did. So now what?  I have this little hermit crab that I don't want to kill or let die and I have no clue how to care for it or what to feed it. Please help. Thank you for your time and please respond, Tom Schaner <There is a ton of information on keeping land hermits on the web. You should be able to find info on housing and feeding requirements, most pet stores will have hermit crab food.  I would start with a search using google.com, and a browse through our FAQs on Crustaceans. -Gage http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwcrustfaqs.htm  > Hermit Crab Reproduction? Nope - Just Molting - 8/21/03 We apparently had a male ("Jupiter")  and a female ("Crustaceous") hermit crab.  They were reasonably active (when it was safe I let them out to walk around an open space on the floor).  They enjoyed their food and drank from their sponge.   They always slept cuddled closely together. <Hmmm... no mention of daily spraying of them/the tank for humidity... helps them to breath easier - literally. Too many hobbyists are not informed of this and the crabs suffer slowly over time (evidenced by inactivity, incomplete molts, etc)> Then Crustaceous seemed to be getting antisocial and was off to herself most of the time.  I realized she was in the same spot through the day and then also through the night.  When I picked her up, she just about fell out of her shell - and of course she was dead.  But her body looked really weird - as if there was almost nothing inside the skin.   <this was simply the molt my friend> I planned to bury her with the rest of our long last hermit crabs, <yikes... how many bodies? I'm wondering if they just haven't been petering out slowly from lack of spraying/humidity?> but I thought I would clean the shell and keep it. I was shocked when I looked into the shell and saw what looked like a very tiny fully formed hermit crab claw.  It was orange/red in color.  I determined there was no life in whatever it was and tried to pry it gently from the shell.  It was a tiny  formed crab. The legs broke off as it just fell out once it was loosened.  That also seemed as if there was not much (if anything) inside the shell. There was an odor so my husband quickly wrapped it up and disposed of it.  I am sorry to say we didn't just bury the whole thing in the yard.  But, I was afraid of disease and the whole thing was so weird I wasn't sure it really happened.  Jupiter is not looking too well right now either.  I totally scrubbed their home, changed everything and am trying to keep him safe if there were any germs.  But, I am afraid we are going to lose him. I have been obsessed with that baby crab - because that's what I'm sure it was - and regret I hadn't seen your web site before I disposed of it.  I would appreciate your comments.  Ann <please do buy a handbook online or at your local pet store on keeping hermit crabs properly... much data online too. That was no baby as you might guess by now, but the shrunk molted living crab. It sounds like you need a spray bottle in use by the tank ;) Best of luck. Anthony>

Hermit Crab Reproduction? Molting - 8/24/03 Thank you so much for your prompt response.  I feel terrible to know I caused its death.   <no worries, mate... their natural lifespan is not so long... and the crabs we collect are generally adults of an unknown age> I do spray the crabs (obviously not enough) and make sure they always have plenty of clean water in their dish and sponge.   <excellent to hear... and do check out the following links mentioned to us by a daily reader after seeing yours and other recent posts: http://www.landhermitcrabs.com http://www.hermit-crabs.com > I have kept them successfully for years at a time.  And I have read up some - again obviously not enough.  I only learned from your site about their need for salt, though I should certainly have figured that out considering they come from the shore.  I never, never heard anything about the crab molting - not from any of my friends who have many more hermit crabs than I have. <my goodness... tis a common, albeit secretive occurrence. The molts are generally eaten> And believe it or not, I did even buy a hermit crab book at the pet store when my granddaughter brought the first hermit crab here.   <excellent... you really are quite on par my friend. Keeping them for a couple of years is quite good too> But she took the book, and I had the crab.  Not a very good combination. Please be sure no other hermit crab will suffer in my hands.   Thank you again. <always welcome... best of luck! Anthony>

Land Hermit Crabs and Softened Water? - 8/14/03 HI, <howdy> can I give my land hermit crabs water from my tap if we have a water conditioning system that uses salt? Kara <not recommended, my friend. The salt exchangers impart excess chloride that has been demonstrated to be a problem with some animals. Please do bypass the softener and/or keep a jug of spring water handy (not distilled... too pure). Kindly, Anthony>

Land Hermit crabs 7/13/03 Hi there I was wondering if you can help us. We have 3 land hermit crabs. The larger one of them (Sherman) was just purchased a few days ago, he was active and happy. This morning I found him in the middle of the tank almost all the way out of his shell and limp, but, when I touched his legs, he very slowly moved back into the shell and has not moved since, (when you do touch the legs it will have very slow movements). <have you been misting these creatures daily or nearly so with fresh water? They need the moisture to respire properly> I have moved him into another tank. Once I moved him out and had a closer look at him, I noted a lot of dried up and peeling skin? Its eyes are droopy with no colour. <the lack of water if a common error/mistake> I found him in the middle of the tank on top of some food, taken from the dish. The day before I didn't notice anything wrong, He did spend a lot of time in the water dish and food dish though. The temperature of the tank is between 78 and 82 and the humidity is around 70%-80%. <hmmm... my apologies. It sounds as though you are quite aware of the need for hydration. If a rinse or spritz of the creature does not help... we are looking at another issue indeed> The other 2 crabs are fine and active. Is this guy dying. Please help me I am the mother of 3 children who will be very upset when they wake today. Thank you Sherman's mom <hmmm... I suppose there are many possibilities... stress-induced trauma from recent import not the least of them. I regret that I know little more about this hardy creature than you/we could find with skilled keyword searches on the Net and in books. Anthony>

Hermit Crab Mites? I have had hermit crabs for 4 months.  I noticed really small, tan/clear bugs in the cage, crabs, and food dish.  I cleaned the cage, but they are still there.  Where are they coming from?  How do I get rid of them?  Do they hurt the crabs?  I have lost two crabs. <Hmm, sounds like mites to me, nasty little buggers.  Check out the site below for more info. http://www4.tpg.com.au/users/vanessap/hermit/cs/cs_mites.html#grainmite   Best Regards, Gage>

Land Hermit Disease Hi WetWebMedia crew, <Hello, Gage here.> About two months ago I have purchased two land hermit crabs. They seem healthy to me but recently there is some talk about a hermit disease that kills whole tank full crabs. They don't seem to shown any significant symptoms.  Do you know anything about this?  Are there any known diseases that hermit crabs can carry and that are dangerous to humans (like salmonella, cyst causing parasites, etc)? I have a 2.5 year old son who loves his crabs. I make him wash his hands every time he handles the crabs but that is pretty tough for a 2 year old and I am worried.    <I am not sure if they are as dangerous as say, a turtle, but I would definitely keep up on the hand washing, better safe than sorry.  http://www.hermit-crabs.com has a section for popular myths, they mention Hermit Crabs spreading disease.  I would start searching there.   Best Regards, Gage > Thanks in advance,  Iklil Palanduz  

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