Hermit crabs are increasingly becoming a popular pet in the United States. For this reason, many people want to find out as much as they can about them before acquiring them as pets or to take better care of hermit crabs they have already acquired as pets. In this post, I will share with you all the basic information you need to know about hermit crabs.
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So how big do hermit crabs get?
Well, there is no straight answer to this question. This is because more than a thousand species of hermit crabs exist. Therefore, there is no one answer to this question. Some hermit crab species can only get as big as 0.5 inches while other species can get as big as 1 meter.
Common hermit crab species and how big they get
The most common hermit crab species include the Coconut Crab, the Ruggie Crab, the Strawberry Crab, the Ecuadorian Crab, and the Caribbean Crab.
1.The Coconut Crab: This is the biggest hermit crab species known to man. It can get as big as 1 meter and 5 kilograms in weight. It is also pretty mean so you cannot actually keep it as a pet. In fact, you will probably need a special license to keep it because it is essentially a wild animal.
2. The Ruggie Crab: This is a fairly small hermit crab species compared to the Coconut Crab (to be fair, every hermit crab species is small compared to the Coconut Crab). The Ruggie Crab can only get as big as 6 cm in size.
3. The Strawberry Crab: This hermit crab species has a distinctive red coloring and it looks like a strawberry. It grows to a maximum size of 15 cm.
4. The Ecuadorian Crab: This hermit crab is probably the one you want to keep as a pet. This is because it is the one carried by most pet stores. Luckily, it does not grow as big as the Coconut Crab. Its maximum size is 0.5 inches.
5. The Caribbean Crab: This hermit crab species is native to the Caribbean region. It has disproportionately sized claws and can grow to a maximum size of 6 inches.
Now that you know the different sizes of common hermit crab species, it is time to know the general size facts about this critter. Pet store hermit crabs usually grow to a maximum size of 4 inches. And they usually weigh about 350 grams.
Some crabs grow fast while others grow slowly. It all depends on the species and the size of the shell. Hermit crabs in bigger shells generally grow faster and bigger than those in smaller shells.
What do hermit crabs eat?
Hermit crabs are not picky eaters. In the wild, they are known to eat just about everything including grass, plants, fallen leaves, fallen fruit, decaying animals and so on.
Hermit crabs are known to find food via smell and sight. In other words, they can smell tasty food and they can see what other crabs are eating and copy them.
Generally, hermit crabs in captivity are kind of like humans. They literally eat anything you can eat. To give your hermit crab healthy food, you should make a healthy and balanced diet for yourself and share portions of what you eat with them throughout the day.
And in case you’ve forgotten, a healthy diet is one that includes something from all major food groups. It also includes bright color veggies. If you do not follow a healthy diet, it is automatic that you will become ill sooner or later. The same goes for your crab; if you do not give it a healthy mix of foods, it will become sick and die. So make sure you give your hermit crab a balanced and healthy diet.
And do not forget to give them water. There should be a bowl of water next to them 24/ 7. This will allow them to quench their thirst whenever they need to.
Now that you know what you can feed your omnivorous hermit crab at home, it is time to discover the foods that hermit crabs love the most. The foods include oak tree bark and oak leaves. This is because they are tannin-rich. For some reason, hermit crabs are attracted to tannin. In case you go out into the wild to find food for your hermit crab, you should clean it thoroughly before giving it to them. Otherwise, you could expose your crab to micro-organisms and parasites that could cause them ill-health.
In case you opt to buy your crab food from the pet store, you should read all labels carefully to avoid buying food with unfamiliar names and ingredients. For such foods may contain compounds that could potentially harm your crab in the long-term.
As mentioned somewhere above, hermit crabs are omnivorous. They eat just about everything. Below is a list of foods that you can give your hermit crab. The list includes fresh, cooked, and commercial food.
- Fresh Hermit Crab Foods: Broccoli, lettuce, watercress, spinach, carrots, mango, melons, strawberries, pineapples, grapes, coconut, bananas, and apples.
- Cooked Hermit Crab Foods: Brine shrimp, seafood, meats, eggs, and rice cakes.
- Commercial Hermit Crab Foods: Peanut butter, popcorn, fish food flakes, and crackers.
Like most seashore dwellers, hermit crabs also eat planktons and seaweed. If you keep a hermit crab as a pet, you must give it lots of calcium. This is because it needs it for its exoskeleton. You should give your crab calcium in the form of eggshells, coral sand, calcium vitamin supplements, and cuttlebone. Once you acquire any of these “foods,” you simply need to crush them to into fine powder and add them to your crab’s food.
What are they like as pets?
A hermit crab is perhaps the most low-maintenance pet you can ever own. They really do not need much attention or care. As a pet parent, you just need to house them in a big enough tank and feed them regularly. You also need to give them calcium and water regularly. If you do these things, your hermit crab will thrive. Watching a hermit crab in a tank is very interesting. This is because they have got unique and exciting behavior. In short, what I am trying to say is that hermit crabs are very easy to care for and exciting to have as a pet.
In case you want to get and keep a hermit crab as a pet, you should go for the Ecuadorian Crab. And before buying it, you should inspect it thoroughly to make sure it is okay. If you do not do this, you could end up with a crab that is not worth it in terms of value.
You can keep two or three hermit crabs in the same tank. However, before you do so, you should make sure the crabs are of the same size. Otherwise, if one is smaller than the other one, there could be fighting and injury.
The perfect tank size to accommodate their growth
Hermit crabs are territorial. Therefore, they need space. The smallest tank you should put a small hermit crab in should be 10 gallons. If you put the crab in a smaller tank, it could be depressed. If you want to house two or three small hermit crabs, you should get them at least a 30-gallon tank.
Hermit crab lifespan
A wild hermit crab has a lifespan of about thirty years, while a hermit crab kept as a pet has a lifespan of about twenty years. This is, of course, if it is well-taken care of. If it is not well-taken care of, it can die in months.