A hermit crab without shell can be very vulnerable. Its molting process leaves its exoskeleton exposed to outside elements and other hermit crabs competing for a vacant shell.
It is best to lower the hermit crab into a cup that is just big enough for it and add a bit of dechlorinated water to help keep it moist. This will encourage it to re-shell.
Hermit crabs are known to be quite picky when it comes to choosing their next homes. They will often try on several shells until they find one that fits snugly and comfortably. The right shell can make all the difference in a hermit’s quality of life, as it helps regulate body temperature and maintain proper moisture levels. If a hermit chooses a shell that is too small or too big, it can cause discomfort and even death.
In the wild, hermit crabs have been known to engage in frenzied shell-sharing behaviors when they discover a suitable dwelling. In the case of a pristine, empty carapace, the hermit crabs will form a frenzied conga line with each other, fighting for the opportunity to move in. Some of these occurrences even lead to “house-sharing wars”, with the largest hermit crabs forcing their way into a shell before the smaller ones can move in.
While hermit crabs are extremely resourceful and will use just about anything to keep them safe, this method does not provide the best long-term solution for these squatters of the seabed. This is particularly true if they are left without a shell for an extended period of time. This is a dangerous situation for hermits, as their soft bodies are easily preyed upon and they can dry out quickly.
As such, pet hermit crab owners are encouraged to give their crabs man-made housing alternatives. Hermit crabs can be housed in a variety of materials, including empty plastic water bottles and even old butter tubs and yogurt containers. These items are not only a great alternative to the traditional glass aquarium, they are also easy to clean and can help reduce the amount of waste that is deposited in the tank.
Hermit crabs can also be housed in cardboard boxes, cut out holes for the legs and a water dish, then covered with a layer of sand. It is important to note that the sand should be free of debris and toxins, as it can be harmful to hermit crabs. This is especially important if the sand is placed in a container that will be used as a hiding place, such as a terrarium.
Cork Bark Hideouts
Hermit crabs are fascinating creatures that have captured the imagination of many for years. They are most famous for the practice of carrying a shell on their backs, but not all hermit crabs require shells for survival. In fact, hermit crabs who abandon their shells often develop unique adaptations that allow them to thrive without a hard exoskeleton.
Shells provide hermit crabs with shelter, a place to hide, and a way to regulate their body temperature and moisture levels. When a hermit crab loses its shell, it is exposed to predators and harsh environments. The hermit crab may also experience dehydration and other health problems. This is why it is critical for hermit crabs to find and occupy the right-sized shell as they grow.
If a hermit crab loses its shell, the crab will attempt to occupy other objects that are the right size and shape for it. For example, a hermit crab may use discarded snail shells or even plastic items as temporary housing until it can find an appropriate shell.
In addition to sand, soil, and coconut fiber, a hermit crab’s habitat should be filled with cork bark, leaf litter, and other natural materials to create an ideal environment. These natural materials can help with humidity and make the terrarium more appealing to hermit crabs. They can also provide a place for hermit crabs to dig when they are molting.
Another great natural material to add to a hermit crab’s habitat is pecan wood. Pecans are one of the hermit crab’s favorite foods, and the wood can be used to create toys and obstacles. The wood can also provide shade and a cooler temperature for hermit crabs in warm climates.
Hermit crabs are most active at night, and they will usually wake up around sunset to eat and drink water. In order to ensure that hermit crabs are eating their food, it is a good idea to put a fragrant treat in the crabitat before they go to sleep at night. The smell of the treat will wake up the hermit crabs and encourage them to head to their food dish.
Hermit crabs are fascinating creatures that have captured the imagination of many people for years. Their unique behavior of occupying empty shells to protect themselves from predators and harsh environmental conditions underscores their incredible resourcefulness. While the majority of hermit crabs rely on their shells for protection, there are some interesting species that have evolved beyond this traditional defense mechanism.
These hermit crabs, including the coconut hermit crab and the land hermit crab (Pylopaguropsis mollymullerae), have developed a special form of shedding that allows them to grow without the need for a new exoskeleton. They do this by growing a soft, flexible membrane inside their existing exoskeleton that they shed when the need arises. Hermit crabs that are without shells do not have the ability to regulate their body temperature or maintain proper moisture levels and will quickly die from dehydration if left unprotected.
If you decide to adopt a hermit crab, be sure to set up a clean and roomy ‘crabitat’ for them. A 10-gallon glass aquarium or plastic critter carrier should be large enough for a young hermit crab, but a larger tank will need to be used as the crab grows. Fill the tank with substrate to keep it moist-preferably silica-based children’s play sand or cocofiber. If you use sand, make sure it is sterilized and free of any contaminants, such as wood shavings or potting soil. A dish of water should be included in the tank to provide hermit crabs with a source of fresh, clean water and a place to drink when they are thirsty.
When a hermit crab outgrows its shell it will search for a new portable home. In the wild, hermit crabs will often use their sense of smell to locate an unoccupied shell that fits them well. They will then transfer themselves into the new shell, evicting any other hermit crabs from the home and claiming it as their own. Occasionally, hermit crabs will be forced out of their shells by natural disasters or even by other hermit crabs. If a hermit crab is ejected from its shell by other animals or by accident, it may become the victim of a ferocious battle between competing crabs for the right to live in the newly vacated shell.
A hermit crab’s shell is more than just a decoration, it helps protect him from predators and harsh environments. Without it, they would be left vulnerable to these dangers as well as being unable to regulate their body temperature and moisture levels.
While hermit crabs can be very resourceful creatures, they need a safe and comfortable home for themselves. To provide this, we recommend offering a variety of natural hideouts to the hermit crabs in your care. These can include sand, dirt, moss, or even logs and rocks, just make sure that they are all sterilized by boiling them in dechlorinated water before using.
Some popular man-made options for hermit crab hideouts are a PVC pipe, cork bark, and clay. The first two are ideal because they offer plenty of nooks and crannies for hermit crabs to explore, as well as providing protection from potential predators. They also are relatively lightweight, making them easy to move around the tank when needed.
Alternatively, you can use an aquarium gravel substrate that contains a lot of small rocks and other items for hermit crabs to hide underneath. A coconut shell cut in half, a ceramic flower pot with the bottom removed, or any other item from the pet store will also work just fine. As hermit crabs are scavengers, they will most likely find and bury food in these hiding places, so be sure to sift through the substrate every couple of days to make sure that there is no mold or other harmful bacteria present.
For a more natural look, you can try adding a few pieces of choya wood or cholla wood to the habitat. These are natural woods that hermit crabs encounter in their natural environment and can provide both shaded shelter and climbing surfaces. They are also a good source of minerals for hermit crabs to ingest.
If your hermit crab acts a bit sick or lets out a foul odor, this is usually because they are about to molt. This can take several weeks, during which time they need to be left alone. To prepare for this, you can give them an isolation tank in a closet with substrate that is deep enough and moist for them to bury under completely, as well as extra correctly sized shells that they can move into once the old one has been shed.