The humble hermit crab has been a pet store staple for ages, and for good reason too: They’re extremely easy to care for, can live for over a decade and are just so darn cute!

(Photo by jessica.diamond/Creative Commons via Flickr)(Photo by jessica.diamond/Creative Commons via Flickr)

If you were to adopt a hermit crab from a pet store, its origins are likely either Southeastern Asia or the Caribbean. Unlike most crustaceans, hermit crabs have soft and squishy abdomens, so they scavenge the empty shells of mollusks for protection. Since hermit crabs are social creatures that live in colonies of 100 or more crabs, please don’t plan on bringing home one lonely hermit! Two or three hermit crabs makes for a nice little crabby family.

 (Photo by paix120 /Creative Commons via Flickr)(Photo by paix120 /Creative Commons via Flickr)

Hermit crabs don’t need very much to thrive, but you absolutely must cover the basics so your little crabs will be happy! To create the perfect hermit crab environment, you’ll need (at minimum) a ten gallon aquarium, lined with sand or gravel and a mulch-like substrate to hold in moisture such as coconut fiber. They key for healthy crabs is to keep the terrarium around a warm 70-75 degrees, with a humidity level between 50% and 80%. Finally, you’ll get to have fun organizing the “crabitat” by placing drift wood, plants, rocks and fist tank ornaments for your little pals to climb on!

 

 (Photo by jessica.diamond/Creative Commons via Flickr)(Photo by jessica.diamond/Creative Commons via Flickr)

Hermit crabs don’t need very much to thrive, but you absolutely must cover the basics so your little crabs will be happy! To create the perfect hermit crab environment, you’ll need (at minimum) a ten gallon aquarium, lined with sand or gravel and a mulch-like substrate to hold in moisture such as coconut fiber. They key for healthy crabs is to keep the terrarium around a warm 70-75 degrees, with a humidity level between 50% and 80%. Finally, you’ll get to have fun organizing the “crabitat” by placing drift wood, plants, rocks and fist tank ornaments for your little pals to climb on!

 (Photo by hans zwitzer /Creative Commons via Flickr)(Photo by hans zwitzer /Creative Commons via Flickr)

These easy-going, nocturnal creatures need a combo of store bought pellet hermit crab food and chopped fruit, such as apples, bananas and grapes. They’re slow eaters that take little bites, but they’ll be thankful for their special treats! All hermit crabs will needs a shallow dish for drinking fresh water, but make sure that it’s a plastic or ceramic bowl because crustaceans are very sensitive to metal. You may need to offer a separate bowl of saltwater, depending on your hermit crab’s species; just be sure to ask before you leave the pet shop! My final pro pet tip is to leave two empty shells per crab that are 10%-15% larger than the ones that your crabs are wearing in the aquarium. Hermit crabs eventually outgrow their current shells, and when things get too uncomfortable, they abandon their shell for something roomier. It’s always cool to see when one of your hermits sets out for one of the upgrades that you provided!

If these adorable little pinchers sound like a great pet for you, congratulations! Get out there and adopt some lucky hermit crabs!

Sources: Petco, Petsmart, HermitCrabs.org

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