Hermit crabs occupy empty mollusc shells to provide them with a home. This practice has helped them survive for millions of years.
When hermit crabs encounter problems like a bad-fitting shell, stress, or other issues, they may leave their old shell. This is a normal process called molting.
Whether it’s because the crab is getting bored, wants to get rid of a smell, or feels uncomfortable inside a shell, hermit crabs will sometimes escape from their shells. It’s not always a good sign though and could be an indication of something else going wrong with the hermit crab.
Hermit crabs need their shell for protection and to help them maintain a healthy humidity level in their environment. Without a shell, hermit crabs can become exposed to sunlight and heat, which can quickly cause them to die.
Molting, the process during which a hermit crab sheds its exoskeleton and becomes soft again, is one of the most common reasons for hermit crabs to abandon their shells. During molting, hermit crabs are vulnerable and they need protection and insulation, which they obtain by burying themselves underground for a short time.
Some hermit crabs will also abandon their shells if they feel the need to escape from their surroundings or tank mates. They may be trying to find a new place to live, or they may have gotten injured.
In either case, they can’t go back into their old shell and will have to search for another one. This can be a stressful and difficult situation for both the hermit crab and you, so it’s important to make sure that your hermit crab is safe before attempting to put it back into its shell.
To do this, gently pick up the hermit crab behind its back legs or scoop them with a spoon or other scoop. This will allow you to examine the hermit crab thoroughly and ensure that there are no external wounds or abnormalities.
If everything looks okay, it’s time to put the hermit crab back in its shell. Hermit crabs are incredibly delicate animals, and handling them correctly can save their lives.
The shell of hermit crabs is made of a soft, squishy substance called a “soft inner body.” It contains tiny hair-like structures that help the crab to hold its body firmly affixed to the shell. The soft inner body also helps to keep the hermit crab’s abdomen protected.
When your hermit crab has abandoned its shell, it may be a sign of illness or stress. It could also be a symptom of molting, which is a natural process that helps them grow bigger and stronger (reference).
Hermit crabs do not make their own shells naturally; they instead rely on shells from other animals to protect their vulnerable inner body. Hermit crabs are also ectothermic, meaning they need a temperature gradient of both warm and cool temperatures in their habitat.
If your hermit crab has abandoned its shell, you can help it by providing a new one. However, it is important to provide them with a shell that is suitable for their size and weight. It is also recommended to boil the shell in dechlorinated water for a few minutes, as this can remove bacteria and other debris from it.
Depending on the type of hermit crab, they may prefer certain shells over others. Ecuadorian crabs are known to prefer shells with D-shaped openings, for example.
Caribbean crabs tend to change shells more often. They may also select shells with narrower thoraxes.
Another factor that affects hermit crab shell selection is plastic pollution. Crabs are attracted to discarded shells by the presence of microplastic particles, which can be found in many areas.
Once your hermit crab has been evacuated from its shell, you must give it the time and resources it needs to find a new home. It might take a few hours or days for it to fully adjust to its new environment.
You can assist the hermit crab in finding a new home by changing their food and water daily, as well as keeping a hygrometer on their cage to ensure proper levels of airflow and humidity. You can also spray the crab with a solution of warm distilled water and re-apply it to its body regularly to keep their gills moist.
A hermit crab without shell can be difficult to track down, so it is best to have a professional examine the shell and its hermit crab. This will allow them to determine the cause and treatment of the problem.
The shell is the hermit crab’s barrier of protection over its delicate exoskeleton. Without it, the hermit crab’s body would be vulnerable to the outside environment, which can lead to stress and health problems.
Hermit crabs can be stressed by overcrowding, living alone, bullying from other hermit crabs, extreme temperatures (either too hot or too cold), fungus, and even by being dropped on their shells. These factors can cause hermit crabs to molt, which is their normal process of trading up their housing and exoskeleton for the larger one they need to survive.
If you notice your hermit crab is molting, make sure to provide them with the proper temperature (85 degrees F), substrate, water, and food. They will need all these to molt properly and to help them get through the transition.
A crab that is molting will often be lethargic and inactive. It may be hard to find them and they will eat less.
They will also have a pale beige color to their skin. Their eyes will be facing outwards and their antennae may stop working.
Another reason why a hermit crab might abandon their shell is if they find it too big or too heavy. They may also have a friend who has a different shell that they want to share.
In such cases, it is important to provide them with a new home that will allow them to live their lives normally. This can be achieved by providing them with a new shell.
Once you have given them a shell, you need to give them time to get used to it and feel comfortable in it. This can take hours to days.
It is also important to sterilize their new shells, as well as their sand and toys. To do this, boil all of these items for a few minutes in dechlorinated water. This will help to ensure that there is no fungus or bacteria present and that the shells don’t mold.
If you don’t do these steps, your hermit crab might not be able to get back into their shells and they will be at risk of getting a fungal or bacterial infection. If this is the case, your crab will likely die.
If your hermit crab suddenly appears without its shell, it may be experiencing some form of distress. This can be caused by a number of factors, including stress and dramatic changes in temperature or humidity.
The best way to help your hermit crab recover is to put it back in its shell IMMEDIATELY. Do not let the crab go outside its shell; this will only cause it more harm and eventually kill it.
You can find replacement shells at most pet supply stores and online retailers. You should choose natural, non-painted shells that are free of holes and other nasties.
Make sure the shell you choose is large enough for your hermit crab to climb in and out of comfortably, but not too big so that it is hard to get out. The hermit crab will also need time to adjust to the new shell; it can take hours or even days for a hermit crab to change its shell.
Once you have a suitable shell for your hermit crab, you can put it in its tank. Be sure to use dechlorinated water; hermit crabs cannot tolerate contaminated water.
While waiting for your hermit crab to molt, provide it with food. This will help it to gain the strength it needs to shed its exoskeleton.
During this time, the hermit crab will also store salts that will be needed to dissolve during molting. It may also begin to shed its old legs and claws in preparation for moulting.
If the hermit crab fails to molt, it will likely die of dehydration. This is especially true if the crab failed to move into a new shell or engaged in some type of struggle with its former shell.
The hermit crab will also be unable to eat properly. Hermit crabs need both their claws to eat. If one claw is missing, they will need to be fed soft foods that do not require tearing or breaking.
In addition, shemit crabs need to be provided with shelter and a sense of security. Fortunately, shemit crabs can be very adaptable. They often learn how to wriggle out of their shells when they are distressed or when it is time for a new shell.