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How to Care for Hermit Crabs

Now that you've committed to caring for a crustacean, follow these tips to provide the best possible care.


  • Step 1: Prepare the housing Prepare the crab's housing. Using a glass or plastic aquarium with a lid, recreate the crab's native tropical climate. Use a heater to keep the temperature between 70 and 80 degrees and the environment very moist -- no less than a 50 percent relative humidity.
  • TIP: If you are going to use an under-the-tank heater, you must use a glass aquarium to prevent melting.
  • Step 2: Choose a substrate Choose a substrate for your crab's home. There are many to choose from, including sand, gravel, and river pebbles.
  • Step 3: Give your crab water Give your crab clean, filtered water. Chlorine is harmful to hermit crabs, so use a process to remove the chlorine or purchase filtered water for your crab.
  • Step 4: Feed the crab Feed your crab fruits and vegetables, unsalted popcorn, nuts, raisins, fresh fish, peanut butter, washed leaves and grass, or trail mix. Hermit crabs are omnivores, and like a diverse diet. You can also purchase commercial crab food.
  • TIP: Use seashells to hold the crab's food and water. Do not use metal or dishes that are big, wobbly, or shaky. Your crab could get trapped and drown in their water dish.
  • Step 5: Clean the tank Clean the tank with a kitchen strainer to strain the crab's waste from the substrate. Some scientists think that crabs like their surroundings changed every now and again, so periodically give your crab's home a new look and sit back and enjoy your new friend.
  • FACT: Crabs are invertebrates. Instead of a backbone, they have an exoskeleton or a carapace that provides support.

You Will Need

  • Housing
  • Heater
  • Substrate
  • Filtered water
  • Food
  • Kitchen strainer
  • Seashells (optional)

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