Hermit Crabs
CARE Sheet

Hermit Crabs
Hermits are decapod crustaceans of the superfamily Paguroidea

Origin:The Caribbean Area and South America.

Size:2-12" Depending on exact species

Pet Status:Very Good, with the proper care

Life span:The life span of the hermit crab in the wild is up to 30 years.

Sexing:There is no way to tell the age or sex of a hermit crab

Breeding ability:

Compatibility with other species: 
Hermit crabs are very social creatures. In the wild they live in colonies of 100 or more. It is recommended that you get no less than 2 hermit crabs. The size of your tank and the size of the crabs you want to get play a big role in how many crabs should be in there. There is a basic rule to help you with this. 1 medium size hermit crab per 2 gallons: If you have a 10 gallon aquarium you can hold 5 medium sized crabs. The Hermit Crab Addiction recommends nothing smaller then a 10 gallon tank. Do remember that your hermit crabs will grow and will need a bigger tank. Plus, Hermit crabs are addictive. Most people want to get more right away.

Feeding:
Hermit crabs have nutritional requirements to maintain color, health and molting. Most of the commercial foods sold for hermit crabs contain ingredients that are harmful, even fatal, to hermit crabs. The best foods for your hermit crabs are fresh fruits, veggies and meats.  You can also buy pre-packaged food!

Bio:
Land Hermit Crabs can be found throught out The Caribbean Area and South America. They have 4 antenni and 10 legs. Two of the legs are claws, The larger claw is used for climbing and defense. The small claw is used for carrying food and water into it's mouth. Four of the legs are walking legs the others are usually hidden within the shell. The two smallest are used to hold onto the shell


General diet:
Crabs are scavengers and will eat just about anything. Commercially prepared foods,  green vegatables, fruits, peanut butter. Remove fresh foods daily so they don't rot.

Treats/extra foods:

Vitamins/supplements:


Housing:
Even though they are small creatures they need room to walk around and climb.
We suggest a minimum of a 10 gallon tank. Theyt do not do well in the small plastic containers they are sold in, in the malls. The tank should have 4-6" of sand on the bottom (you can also use small pebbles, chrused coral / clam shells/oyster shells etc. Land crabs love to climb so you can place pieces of drift wood, coral rocks or 'climbing fences' in the tank.

You need a shallow water dish, we recommend placing a natural sponge in the dish so they don't drown, it also keeps the inside of the tank moist. Also a small dish for food.

Sanitation/General care:
Fresh water should be offered daily.  Wood shavings should be spot cleaned as needed. Periodically, the enclosure should be disinfected. A 5% bleach solution makes an excellent disinfectant. Be sure to rinse the enclosure thoroughly after disinfecting. As always, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling your crab or any cage accessories.

General Maintenance:
Lighting: Hermit crabs are basically night creatures in the wild. They don't usually come out during the day so a normall aquarium light is fine but should be turned off ti simulate night and day.

Temperature: Remeber they are 'Caribbean' creatures so they enjoy a warm environment between 70-90 degrees.

Moisture:  They need plenty of water in there tank sokeep their water dish full and the sponge wet.

Health care:
Molting
All hermit crabs need to molt. It is how they grow. It can happen as often as every month to once every year depending on the size of your hermit crab. There are signs to look for to see if your hermit crab is about to molt.
·Ashy colored exoskeleton
·Cloudy eyes
·Molt sac, black in color
·Digging
·Extended periods of time in the water dishes
If your hermit crab is missing any legs, you may also see a gel limb starting to grow where the missing leg should be.
Some people isolate molting hermit crabs in ISO’s. ISO’s can be another tank, or a critter keeper within the main tank. The conditions of the ISO must be good as this is a very stressful time for hermit crabs. Keep the ISO dark, covered and makes sure humidity and temperature gauges are reading correctly. If you prefer your crabs to molt in the main tank, then you can use a cut off 2 liter bottle to cover the crab and to protect him from other hermit crabs. Make sure to take the cap off so air is able to get inside.
Sometimes hermit crabs molt on the surface. This isn’t normal behavior and extreme caution is needed. Gently get the hermit crab into the ISO or use the pop bottle method. They will eat their exoskeletons so do not throw them away. Depending on the crab he can be ready to go back into the main tank within a week to a month after molting and his new exoskeleton is hardened.

Taming:
Remember Hermit Crabs are pets not toys. Handle With Care. When playing with them keep your hands flat if they think they are going to fall they will pinch to try and hold on, depending on the size of the crab it can be painful.

Supplies checklist:
Glass aquarium
Substrate
Humidity gauge
Temperature gauge
Heater
Extra shells
De-chlorinated water
Salt water
(All land hermit crabs require salt water. You need to use marine salt water. You will find it in the fish section of the pet store. Some brands are Oceanic and Doc Wellfish. Follow the directions on the package. For Doc Wellfish, you will use the instructions for brine shrimp. You must also de-chlorinate the water used when mixing the salt water. Never use table salt!)
Food
Food and water dishes

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