Hermit Crabs are well known for being gregarious partiers who will keep a crab-party going through to the wee hours of the morning. It’s also widley believed that they are easy to care and ideal pets for children. Neither of these beliefs are true. Unfortunately, hermit crabs are somewhat difficult to care for and keep healthy, and they should be kept in groups for companionship.
It’s extremely important to maintain a sufficient humidly level in the hermit crab enclosure. Hermit crabs breath air through small modified gills. They will easily drown in water, and they have no lungs. If they gills ever dry out, the Hermit Crab will be some serious trouble. So, don’t keep your pet in a clear plastic critter-carrier or a one gallon fish tank – these are not safe environments. In fact, if the critter carrier has a standard “berry-basket” top for ventilation, the crab is probably already dying a slow and painful death.
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Petware House is here to provide you with both healthy Hermit Crabs, but all the hardware you will need to ensure that your Hermit Crab is sustained in health, clean and safe environment. We’ compiled a list below of some essential items you will need to ensure a long lasting, happy pet ownership experience for you and your Crab.
1. Heater for one end of the tank: most hermit crab species like a temperature of 75-80F/24-27C on the warm end of the tank.
2. Extra sponge and moss for soaking which will help keep the humidity above seventy-five percent.
3. A variety of rocks and branches to climb on.
4. Thermometers for the sand and hygrometers for the main tank and the quarantine tank;
5. A sufficient number of shells of the correct sizes and shapes and at a minimum of three per crab.
6. Hidey-huts for the crabs to relax in, during the day;
7. Quarantine tank, which is basically the full set-up in miniature, for safe moulting;
8. Food dishes, sea sponges, water dishes and a slotted scoop to remove uneaten food from the sand.
9. Safe sea salt, of the kind sold for marine fish and crustaceans.
10. Water-conditioning fluid, to neutralize chlorine and its by-products in the water
11. An aquarium tank, marine terrarium, or large covered enclosure strong enough to contain wet sand. Be sure the cover is tight enough to prevent the crabs from pushing their way out, that some air can get in, and that it keeps moisture inside the tank
Let’s face it, the Hermit Crab is a cute little crustaceans and will keep themselves fit, assuming they their living quarters are large enough. They love to climb, craw and pull. If you use care, you can walk them across your hands held low over a soft surface. As the crab moves across on hand, bring the other one around in front. To accomplish this your hands need to be positioned side-by-side, and not fingertip-to-fingertip. Otherwise, the surface will be too narrow and the tiny crab will become frightened.
Hermit Crabs are notorious beachcombing partiers. As omnivores, they will need some meat and plant-matter as part of their diets. However, crab foods do not make a good diet for hermit crabs. They tend to contain preservatives although you might be able to find some which are not and safe enough, so be sure to read the ingredient lablel. The real issue however is that most commercial foods are boring. Your Hermit Crab will be happiest if every meal is a little different, so be sure to keep it fresh and new.
Any fruits and vegetables should be washed and rinsed with de-chlorinated water. Always do everything you can to keep your crabs away from chlorine. Meat can be raw or cooked, or even freeze dried, but avoid a preservatives. Stock a wide assortment of jars of baby foods, keep some freeze-dried daphnia, bloodworms and shrimp on hand.
Your pet Hermit Crab will also require calcium. This is easily accomplished by introducing some cuttlebones into the Hermit Crabs environment, onto the floor should suffice. Cuttlebone is a sold in the pet-bird section here at Petware House.
Most pet’s don’t require a second water bowl but your Hermit Crab will require two: one containing fresh water and the other with salt water. The salt water cannot be made with regular table salt as it contains iodine. Both bowls will have to be large enough for your pet crab to submerge themselves and easy to crawl out of so the crabs don’t drown. A piece of sea sponge in each bowl makes a convenient safety raft.
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With your particular type of crab, you will also need to provide a conditioned water bowl and a conditioned saltwater bowl.
In addition to the water that these crabs will use for grooming, they must also be provided with an assortment of appropriate shells. The shapes will very, again according to your species of Hermit Crab. Be sure to provide a good assortment of shells, perhaps three or four shells, per crab. The size of the shell should be either slightly smaller than, equal to, or slightly larger than the crabs current shell. Do not use painted shells as they may contain toxins that are not safe for your pet.
Hermit Crabs require very little training. They are true actors to their nature and will entertain your for hours and hours on end. While you will need to rescue them from time-to-time, especially during moults, and provide appropriate shells for them to choose from, they will act enlighten and entertainment for your to enjoy.
As we’ve mentioned before, the Hermit Crab is a nocturnal party animal and enjoy exploring their home and re-arranging things. They’ll sit on a perch before it falls over and you’ll hear them cracking away with their claws during the night, so be sure to keep them out of your bedroom, if you do most of your sleeping during the night.
As a precautionary note, keep in mind that the hermit crabs are invertebrates who area subject to the same kinds of poisons that used to kill insects and spiders. If you live in a place where lawn spraying is common, or if you use bug sprays to chase down spiders, bringing a hermit crab into the environment isn’t a good idea.
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Petware House is pleased to see many out-of-state visitors in our show room and we welcome you regardless of where you are traveling from. There’s lot’s to see here at Petware House, so if your looking for that perfect family pet, don’t hesitate to drop by. Bring the entire family with you and make it a day long trip to Fort Wayne. We have lots of parking here, some great sight-seeing and lots of fun activates in and around the Fort Wayne community.