WELCOME TO HERMIT CRAB CARE
The Hermit Crab Care staff would like to welcome you to our website. This website is dedicated to the education of new hermit crab owners as well as the discussion of advanced hermit crab care techniques. We also cover topics such as hermit crab conservation, hermit crab species and do it yourself hermit crab habitats (also known as crabitats).
If you are thinking about getting a pet hermit crab, please make sure to read all about these amazing creatures BEFORE you buy a hermit crab. While having a pet hermit crab is a great deal of fun, please be aware that hermit crabs have very specific care needs and can live several decades. Buying a pet hermit crab is a commitment that you should not make on the spur of the moment.
There are many kinds of hermit crabs, both land and aquatic ones. This page is about the land hermit crab (aka the tree crab, soldier crab, or purple clawed hermit crab). The scientific name is Coenibita clypeatus. This is probably the most common of the pet hermit crabs.
Hermit crabs have 4 antennae, 2 claws, 4 visable ambulatory legs, and 4 small legs kept inside the shell. The antennae are used for sensing. A healthy crab will move its antennae about continuously. The hermit crab's larger purple claw is mainly used for defense, and the smaller claw is for climbing and carrying food to the mouth. The four visable legs are used for walking and climbing. The other four legs are kept inside the shell and are used to hold on to and maneuver the shell and for removing sand and waste from the shell. If any of the hermit crab's legs have broken off, they will regenerate when the hermit crab molts. Land hermit crabs occupy snail shells in order to protect their soft abdomens and to retain moisture. They have gills which need to be kept moist so the crab can breathe.
Aquatic Hermit Crabs
This site focuses on land hermit crabs, but there are many different kinds of both land and aquatic hermit crabs. Sometimes people have found hermit crabs on the beach and wondered whether they were land crabs or aquatic (in the wild, land hermit crabs usually stay pretty near the shore; they are born in the ocean and the females must return to the sea to deposit their eggs). Here are a few things that may help you if you find a hermit crab on a beach:
Land hermit crabs have red or purple (solid) colored legs and claws; Aquatic hermit crabs may have different colored limbs (i.e. they may be striped)
Land hermit crabs have black eyes; aquatic crabs may have eyes of another color
Aquatic crabs can live out of water for a little while (which explains why they are sometimes found washed up on the sand), but they need an aquatic environment to survive; land crabs may be able to stay in the water for a very short period time, but after that they will drown
One thing you may notice about an aquatic hermit crab is that it might have things such as barnicles living on its shell.
If you think you may have found aquatic crab but aren't sure, I'd recommend taking it to a knowledgeable vet to ask.
Hermit Crab Handling
Handle hermit crabs with care. In the beginning, the easiest way to hold a hermit crab is by its shell to avoid getting pinched. After the crab begins to trust you more you can try putting it in the palm of your hand. Make sure to keep your hand flat. The crab might pinch you if it thinks it will fall. If a hermit crab pinches you, try not to panic, and hold it under running warm water to make it let go. Be careful never to drop the crab, which could kill it, and never attempt to take a hermit crab out of its shell. A hermit crab would rather be torn apart than be seperated from its shell.