So, you've bought a pet hermit crab and now you're wondering "What can I do to make sure my pet lives a long, happy and healthy life?". Well, here are some basic tips on hermit crab care and how you can keep your crab happy.
First of all, you want to be sure that you provide your new pet with a proper home. Did you know that, although hermit crabs live out of water, they actually have modified gills which allow them to breathe humidified air. That means that they require a certain amount of humidity in order to survive. Therefore, you’ll need to buy a humidity cage for their tank (along with other supplies).
You’ll want to buy the proper housing for your pet hermit crab. A 10 gallon aquarium will work, but bigger is better and one thing to consider is how many hermit crabs you might eventually have because you want to be sure to get a home that is big enough for the crabs along with their food and water dishes, toys and shells. Just one crab will be quite lonely and they actually travel in “packs” in the wild so having several hermit crabs is only natural.
In their “home” you’ll want to provide them with some good substrate. This can be special hermit crab sand, coconut fiber, crushed coral or regular sand but whatever you decide on, you want to be sure that it is not contaminated with anything that can make your new pet sick, so it’s better to get something from the pet store that has been sterilized than to go out and dig up sand from your backyard.
It’s important that your hermit crabs have the right temperature and humidity in their tank so you’ll want to get an under tank heater or reptile heating pad as well as a thermometer and a humidity gauge. Hermit crabs need their environment to be 72 - 80 degrees and about 75% humidity.
Of course, you’ll need food and water dishes for your little friends and you want to be very careful to dechlorinate the water you give them so some dechlorinating solution is necessary as well. Feed you per commercial crab food that you can supplement with cereal, fruits and vegetables but be sure to clean up an uneaten food after a couple of hours so it doesn’t rot in the tank. Make sure the water dishes are shallow so your crab doesn’t drown in them!
One of the most interesting things about hermit crabs is that they adopt the shells of other creatures for their “home” so you’ll need to provide your crabs with a variety of shells for when they want to upgrade their living conditions. Give them a lot of different sized shells to choose from.
Last but not least, your pet hermit crab needs toys! Believe it or not crabs love to climb around and hid in “things” so you want to provide your pet with some toys. You can find some fun ones at the pet store, but you might also consider flower pots, driftwood and any aquarium and reptile toys you think might interest them.