If you have a hermit crab in your home, you may occasionally see it without its shell. It’s a natural thing for hermit crabs to do, and it’s okay.
It might be because they’re molting, which takes about a month. Or maybe there’s something stuck in their shell, like mites, sand, or fungus.
How to care for a hermit crab without a shell
Hermit crabs do not naturally have shells, but rather rely on the hard exoskeleton of other aquatic animals. Hermit crabs can survive without a shell, but they may become very uncomfortable and even die if exposed to cold temperatures or sunlight.
Hermit crabs can be very social creatures and will thrive in a group of at least three or more. Hermit crabs are not natural predators, but they can become aggressive if they feel threatened or lonely.
If you’re planning to buy a hermit crab, be sure to look for one that is well cared for and has been handled properly. It should have a smooth carapace and be free of scratches or bite marks.
You should also examine the shell carefully, looking for signs of stress such as missing legs or claws and worn down toes. These signs are usually easy to see, but if you are not sure then contact your local hermit crab specialist for help.
Another important sign of stress is a slow and inactive crab. This can be a sign of bullying or a problem with their environment such as too much heat or lack of food.
In addition to these issues, hermit crabs can develop health problems such as fungal or bacterial infections that need to be treated. Crabs that are healthy will be active and move around easily.
If your hermit crab is not moving around or acting strangely, it could be a sign that they need to molt. They need to molt twice per year, so be prepared with spare shells in various sizes for them to choose from.
The molting process can be very stressful for your hermit crab, so make sure it has enough space to complete this process safely and that it is comfortable in its new shell. It can take a month to complete the molting process.
Hermit crabs can be extremely sensitive to hot and cold weather, so you should keep them away from direct sun exposure. This will help them avoid extreme temperatures and discomfort that can lead to a molt.
What to feed a hermit crab without a shell
Hermit crabs are decapod crustaceans that don’t actually have a hard shell like their name suggests. Instead, they depend on the shells of other animals to protect them from predators and eat the waste from those shells (and from fruits and vegetables, too).
Hermits are nocturnal, which means they are more active at night than during the day. They’re also more social than solitary, so they thrive when they have companions to scurry around with.
For these reasons, hermits often live in pairs or groups of a dozen or more. You can help your hermits find companionship by providing a variety of things to climb on and hide in, including branches and rocks and coral.
They also enjoy hiding under things, so provide lots of objects that are low enough to allow your hermits to crawl inside. They may also benefit from a hidey-hut or two, so you should have a few ready for them to retreat to.
Keeping your hermits happy and healthy is key. You’ll need to provide them with plenty of fresh water and saltwater, so each crab should have its own bowl. This will enable them to hydrate and regulate their salinity as they prepare for molting, which can cause dehydration or lethargy.
You can offer your hermits a wide range of food to keep them satisfied, from commercial feeds and dried fruits to hand-fed treats like peanut butter or washed grass. Just remember to wash everything you serve your hermits carefully before feeding them, so that you avoid pesticides or herbicides.
The foods you feed your hermits should include a mix of meat and plant food sources to supply them with all the nutrients they need. You can also add a few extra items, such as cuttlebones, eggshells or oyster shells, for added calcium.
A balanced diet will ensure your hermit crabs are happy and healthy. You can supplement their diet with high-quality commercial hermit crab feeds, or mix in fresh fruits and vegetables. You should also try experimenting with a variety of new foods to see what your hermit crabs prefer.
How to get a hermit crab to change shells
When hermit crabs grow, they often need to change shells. This is commonly known as molting. Junior hermit crabs may molt several times in the first 12-18 months of life, and adult hermit crabs only molt once or twice.
Hermit crabs use their shells to protect their soft abdomens and help regulate the humidity levels in their homes. Hermit crabs also benefit from these shells by allowing them to move around easily and to explore new environments, which is essential for their survival.
If hermit crabs don’t have the right size and shape of shell for their needs, they can become uncomfortable, dehydrated, and even sick. It is important to provide hermit crabs with a variety of shell options, including both natural and painted shells.
When selecting hermit crab shells, you should consider the shape and thickness of the opening. You should also look for shells that are a little bigger than the shell your hermit crab is wearing.
A hermit crab will typically reach down into a prospective shell and test out its opening before making the final decision to change shells. They will then position themselves inside the shell to make sure that their abdomen is exposed as little as possible.
Hermit crabs are very sensitive to temperature changes. It is recommended that you keep the temperature in the tank at a minimum of 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping the temperature higher than this can increase the risk of stress.
Many hermit crabs will refuse to change shells when they are too cold, so make sure that you have an area in your tank where you can place a heating pad and heat lamps to help warm up the environment. You should also place a layer of sand in the tank to help with humidity levels.
In addition, be sure to provide plenty of water in the tank. Hermit crabs need a large amount of water to maintain their health and growth.
Hermit crabs are great pets that are easy to care for and a lot of fun to watch. They’re also highly intelligent and require a lot of attention from their owners.
How to get a hermit crab to molt
If you have a hermit crab that isn’t using its shell, there are several things you can do to help it get back into it. First, you should check its habitat to see if it’s molting.
The molting process is the most stressful time for your hermit crab. It’s a time when it doesn’t have any control over its body, and it’s also the most vulnerable to predators. The crab will bury itself underground to molt, and it needs extended darkness to secrete the molting hormone and stay safe from predators.
During molting, your hermit crab will store water and food reserves in its shell that will be used to survive the molt. If you notice a gray-black bubble appearing on your hermit crab’s abdomen, this is a sign that it is storing water to use during the molt.
In addition to storing water, your hermit crab will also be trying to find a source of calcium that can help its new exoskeleton harden. You can provide them with a variety of calcium sources, like ground up egg shells mixed into their food.
This is a natural part of the molting process, and it’s important for hermit crabs to have enough calcium during this time. It is also important to keep their environment as quiet and dark as possible during this time, as molting hermit crabs will be less likely to come out of their shell if they are in a place that isn’t as quiet or dark.
Once a hermit crab is finished molting, it’s usually ready to move into its new shell. During this time, it will also want to make sure that its shell fits properly so that it doesn’t feel uncomfortable or have trouble moving.
Some hermit crabs will not change their shell when they molt, but others will seek out a smaller shell to fit into before they molt. They will then change into a larger shell once they’ve shed their old exoskeleton and the new one has hardened.
If you can’t provide your hermit crab with a shell, you can try to change the shell of another hermit crab in your cage to see if that changes its behavior. If it doesn’t, you can try placing a small piece of paper inside its shell to see if that helps.