Interesting Hermit Crab Facts
Hermit crabs are interesting and unique animals that can make good pets. More and more people across the United States and in other countries are discovering Hermit crabs. The Hermit Crab is a relatively easy animal to care for and to feed, but there are a few facts that you need to be aware of to have a healthy and happy crab.
There are two main types of crabs that are sold in pet stores in America: the purple pincer crab and the Ecuadorian crab. The purple pincer crabs are easy to identify by their large purple pincers and legs. They tend to live further inland than other Hermit crabs and have adapted to not need saltwater. The Ecuadorian crabs live close to the ocean in tidal pools and have adapted to be able to metabolize saltwater. They have to have saltwater and freshwater to survive.
The crabs are best kept in an aquarium filled 5 to 8 inches deep with a fine sand. It is most likely that if you buy your crabs at a pet store, you will end up with a mix of purple pincer and Ecuadorian crabs, so you will need to have dishes of both fresh and saltwater in the aquarium.
The aquarium should be placed in a room where the temperature and humidity can be closely controlled. The crabs need to have a temperature range of 70F to 85F and a relative humidity of no lower than 70%. A relative humidify of below 70% will cause the crabs to slowly die. Many crab owners use heat lamps over the aquarium, heating pads under the aquarium and humidifiers to regulate the temperature and humidity.
Crabs are used to normal light in the wild. It is best to place them in a room where they have alternating sunlight and shade as the day progresses. Be careful of placing the aquarium in direct sunlight in the summer as this can cause the temperature in the aquarium to get too high.
Hermit crabs generally eat whatever they can catch in the wild. As omnivores, they eat a wide range of foods, but it is a mistake to feed them random table scraps. They need a balanced diet, just like we do. The crabs can thrive on a diet of raw vegetables, breads and some fish. Most pet stores will sell food sticks or food balls that are specifically engineered for Hermit crabs.
Hermit crabs will molt periodically. Molting is a process by which the crab sheds its outer shell and grows a new one to accommodate its growth. This process is much like a snake shedding its skin. During molting, the crab might appear to be dead. It will change color, stop eating and many times will stop moving about. Do not handle the crab during this process. After the crab is done molting it will become active again, but will have a very soft shell for about a week as the new shell hardens.
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