What Do Hermit Crab Eat?

What do hermit crab eat? Hermit crabs eat Plankton, Insects, Fish, Worms, Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts, Eggs, Seaweed, and Shrimp. Hermit Crab are omnivores, eating both plant and animal debris when it comes to food.

what do hermit crabs eat?

What Are Hermit Crabs?

In reality, hermit crabs are not crabs at all. The rear of these crab does not develop the standard hard shell that protects them from predators, even though they have ten legs like other crab. To protect themselves, hermit crabs depend on shells from other animals.

Hermit crabs are known because they constantly change their shells as they develop. They can travel easily because they carry their mobile houses on their backs. For a hermit crab, the ideal shell is large enough to fit all its appendages inside and light enough to carry about without rapidly becoming tired.

Moulting is when a hermit crab loses its outer layer of skin to create room for a giant shell. Shedding their old skin occurs every 18 months for most healthy hermit crabs; however, this may vary widely among various size hermit crabs and certain environmental factors.

At night, they’re more active than they are during the day. They also like crawling, scurrying, hiding, and burrowing in their shells. A hermit crab can perform all of these tasks simultaneously.

Characteristics of Hermit Crab

The exoskeleton or hard shell that hermit crabs inhabit is the exoskeleton. They grow by shedding (moulting) their outer skin and developing a soft outer skeleton that hardens as they mature. For their safety, they live in shells created by other species (typically snails). They expand their present shell as they grow in size. At this time, they consume and drink heavily and dig through their habitat’s soil to prepare for the moult.

When one hermit crab moults and discards its old shell, another is constantly moulting simultaneously, which ensures that fresh shells are always available for moulting hermit crab to relocate into. When maintained as pets, they perform best in groups of at least two people each.

A hermit crab’s moult might take weeks to complete because of the stress it experiences throughout the process. While hermit crabs are in the process of moulting, avoid handling them and don’t try to dig up an already embedded hermit crab.

Characteristics Explanation
Name Hermit Crab
Care Difficulty Beginner
Life Span With proper care, most species can live for more than ten years.
Adult Size In general, adults grow to be between 2 and 6 inches long.
Diet Omnivores
Habitat Size A 10-gallon glass tank is the minimum size for two hermit crabs.

Where Do Hermit Crabs Live?

Hermit crabs may be found in and near the oceans of tropical places. Although brackish water is their preferred habitat, they can survive in fresh and saltwater because of the abundance of food supplies, abandoned shells, and safe havens.

Despite their “hermit” appellation, they prefer to live in groups rather than by themselves. Most hermit crabs in captivity prefer to live in two or more groups. For this reason, many hermit crab specialists recommend a minimum of three crabs in a group for optimal social interaction.

They can thrive in a tank with proper care, but you’ll probably never see them reproduce outside their native environment since they return to the ocean to lay their eggs.

Keeping Hermit Crab at Home

The first six stages are here if you believe you’re ready to take care of a hermit crab.

Make a Crabitat

A crabitat is where hermit crabs may live. Three hermit crabs may live well in a 10-gallon aquarium. For every three crabs, aim for a volume of 10 gallons. However, the larger the crab, the more difficult it is to clean and maintain its health. You’ll also need some base material, coconut fiber or sand, to work with.

The tank’s most crucial feature is a burrowing substrate. Please keep it clean and ensure it’s at least six inches deep enough for them to dig in. Unless the crab can burrow, it will not be able to survive long. For further information, look into the subject matter.

Make sure to provide a Playful Environment.

To keep healthy, hermit crabs must be kept in a damp environment. Crabs may benefit from both Salt and freshwater bath. Keep them joyful and stress-free by providing a variety of things to climb on.

Control the Temperature and Humidity

Heat light and sometimes a humidifier should be provided in the tank for a hermit crab, like a temperature of 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. They are very vulnerable to temperature extremes—too cold or too hot- and perish. A hydrometer can measure the humidity in the tank, which should be between 80 and 90 percent. Locking in the humidity will need a lid for the tank.

Purchase Hermit Crab

Don’t buy crab until you’ve set up your tank and dealt with any complications. They will have an easier time adapting to the new environment. Find other shells in different sizes: In addition to purchasing shells, you may be able to discover shells in nature. If you do, sanitize them first by boiling them in saltwater.

Make Sure You Feed Your Crab

Many stores sell hermit crab food in wholesale and large quantities.

Play with your Pet Hermit Crab

It is possible to let your hermit crab run on your arms or the floor outside their cages since they like this activity. Please make sure you don’t walk on or drop them.


Hermit crabs need to be kept in groups of two or more since they are friendly creatures. Hermit crabs should be allowed to leave their saltwater dish at any time. To prevent being bitten or pinched by a claw, always pick up a hermit crab by the rear of the shell. When scared or hungry, hermit crabs are more inclined to pinch. The best approach to keep hermit crabs safe is to handle them on a soft surface like a sofa or bed so that they don’t hurt themselves if you drop them. Adults with proper training and supervision of children should only handle hermit crabs.

Hermit Crab Diet

Omnivorous hermit crab may be fed both animal and plant-based cuisine. It’s essential to provide varied food for your hermit crab. Providing a wide selection of delicacies for your hermit crab will ensure it doesn’t grow bored!

Animal-Based Diet

A hermit crab’s diet would be incomplete without protein. Meat and fish are both sources of protein, and scrambled, or hard-cooked eggs are also an excellent source of protein and may be fed to pets.

  • Beef

  • Chicken

  • Turkey

  • Salmon

  • Tuna

  • Eggs

Plant-Based Diet

For a hermit crab, plant-based diets are also essential. Organic fruits and veggies are the best options to guarantee that your hermit crab isn’t consuming anything that might hurt them. To maintain a healthy diet, consuming a limited quantity of fruits and vegetables daily is advised. In addition, sea veggies may be fed as well!

  • Mango

  • Papaya

  • Banana

  • Apple

  • Melon

  • Berries

  • Cucumber

  • Cauliflower

  • Carrots

  • Zucchini

  • Algae

  • Seaweed

Alternative Plant-Based Diet

In addition to fruits and vegetables, hermit crab may benefit from various other diets. If your hermit crab isn’t eating, try substituting flowers, leaves, or grasses.

Carbohydrate, fat, vitamin, and mineral content are all present in various grains and seeds. You might provide your pet with rice or cereals and seeds like sunflower or chia. Olive and coconut oil, for example, are excellent suppliers of the nutrients above and may be given occasionally.

Plant-based proteins, such as broccoli, soybeans, spinach, and kale, may also be provided in addition to the meats.

Calcium-Based Diet

Hermit crabs need a large quantity of calcium in their diet to sustain their exoskeleton during moulting, which is particularly critical. If you’re looking for calcium-rich foods, try these. Remember that your crab will eat them if they’re tiny enough.

  • Oyster shells

  • Coral

  • Cuttlebone sand

  • Calcium vitamin supplements

  • Crushed eggshells

  • Flakes of fish

Commercial Diets

Commercial diets should be avoided because of the possibility of harmful chemicals and non-nutritious substances harming your hermit crab. If you decide to buy commercial food for your hermit crab, ensure it’s of the highest quality from your local pet shop.


It is healthy knowledge that land hermit crabs are omnivores, eating plant and animal materials in their natural habitat. When kept in a zoo, their diet should consist of a commercially prepared, nutritionally complete meal and a range of fresh, tasty snacks.

How often do Hermit Crab Eat?

There is no need to feed your crab more than once a day since it is such a tiny creature, and crabs need to be fed to keep their food fresh. Change the wood if it becomes slimy, old, or otherwise yucky since foods like wood will remain far longer.

In addition to pellet meal, hermit crabs often consume vegetables and fruit:

  • Hermit crabs eat very slowly, usually at night, and take small bites.

  • Claws on small crabs may not be large enough to grasp pellet food. Hermit crab food powder or pellets crushed into powder can be fed to small crustaceans.

  • Chopped dark, leafy vegetables like kale and broccoli and chopped fruit like apples, grapes, and bananas can be added to your hermit crab’s diet. It is best to feed your crab with fruit or vegetables at night and remove any excess in the morning.

  • Metal irritates hermit crabs to the point of death. Ceramic or another non-porous material should be used for their food and water bowls.

  • Fresh, clean water and saltwater of marine grade should be available to your hermit crab. Before putting tap water in your crab’s water dish, ensure it has been dechlorinated.

How Long do Hermit Crabs Live?

Hermit crabs can live more than 30 years in their native home on tropical seashores; however, most only survive for a few months or less after being acquired.

Hermit crabs may live to be 40 years old! Jonathan Livingston, a hermit crab in a retirement facility in Florida, died in 2021 at 44. When hermit crabs become older, the energy needed to moult is so significant that it is a primary cause of mortality.

Hermit crabs kept in captivity die at a high rate when handled carelessly. After a few weeks, we don’t realize that the crab has died. Unfortunately, this is the standard operating procedure.

Several elements determine the lifespan of a hermit crab as a pet, and understanding them can help you grasp the hazards of keeping one.

  • A variety of factors may cause hermit crab fatalities in captivity. Because they can be prevented, they are excellent news.

  • Rehoming hermit crabs may be lethal for them because of the stress and anxiety it causes.

  • Inability to exit a bathtub

  • Paint flaking smells or tainted tap water may pose a health hazard.

  • There is a lack of dampness around.

  • Unhygienic living conditions are ideal for the growth of bacteria and germs.

  • The object ascends and lowers in a climb or while being handled.

  • A crab or other similar animal attacking you while you’re in motion

  • They are maimed by their owners, who incorrectly assume that the hermit crab has died.

  • It is by no means an exhaustive list. If cared for correctly, captive hermit crabs may live as long as their wild counterparts. An incredible 44-year-old hermit crab was found in captivity!

What do Hermit Crabs Need?

Hermit crabs need the following things:

  • During the day, the terrarium should be kept between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (23 and 29 degrees Celsius), and at night, between 65 and 75 degrees F (18 and 24 degrees Celsius). To keep tabs on the temperature, a thermometer is a need.

  • To keep your crab from being overheated, use an under-tank heater with at least an inch of bedding.

  • At humidity levels between 70 and 80 per cent, hermit crab flourish. Use a hygrometer to monitor the humidity in their terrarium and mist it as needed.

  • For 8 to 12 hours a day, place a fluorescent or LED bulb in the hood of the terrarium. Hermit crabs should not be exposed to high-intensity UVB lights.

What do Hermit Crab Drink?

To thrive, fresh water and saltwater must always be in a hermit crab’s cage. Purchasing two litres of distilled water and labelling one Fresh and the other Salt is the most straightforward option (mix saltwater according to directions).

Your giant crab should be able to squeeze into each dish. Tiny natural sea sponges may be put in each dish as a safety bridge to avoid drowning if the smaller crab in the cage has difficulty getting in and out of the water dishes.

Hermit crabs use the water for drinking, washing, and rehydrating (extra water they carry within the back of their shell). You allow the crab to decide their needs by offering them fresh saltwater.

Freshwater is best obtained from bottled or dechlorinated tap sources, and Hermit crabs are poisoned by chlorine in tap water. Remove chlorine from tap water by using de-chlorination drops. Adding de-chlorination drops is more complex and expensive than bottled or distilled water.

Saltwater may be made by combining distilled water with aquarium salt, such as Oceanic Salt. Iodine, which may be hazardous to crabs, is in table salt.

Even if you have a well, I suggest using distilled water for your crab. Minerals and Salt softening systems may be found in certain wells. A potentially lethal combination of Salt and minerals might be created when aquarium salt is combined with other salts. You may start with distilled water since you know it contains nothing else.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some FAQs related to the hermit crab diet:

1. What do hermit crabs eat in the wild?

It is not uncommon for hermit crabs to consume macroalgae and tiny mussels, clams, and expire animals. For two reasons, these crustaceans have been erroneously referred to be crabs. Aside from that, they don’t have a consistently hard exoskeleton and can’t produce their shells.

2. What does a hermit crab eat in the ocean?

In terms of diet, hermit crabs are pretty lenient. When it comes to their food supply, they’ll feast on almost everything they can find in the water around them, including worms, plankton, and other invertebrates.

3. What do hermit crabs eat at home?

Since they are omnivores, hermit crabs may have vegetables, meat, fish, nuts, and fruit in their daily diet.

4. What does a hermit crab eat in a saltwater tank?

Based on the size of your saltwater crab, feed them the correct amount of food. Algae, plants, and uneaten fish food may sustain smaller crabs, while more giant hermit crabs need crab pellets, lettuce, dried seaweed, chicken bits, and other foods.

5. What does hermit crab eat in reef tanks?

Green hair algae and cyanobacteria are only two of the many forms of algae it consumes as food waste and other trash. A giant hermit crab might threaten corals in a reef tank since it can grow considerably.

6. What fruits do hermit crabs eat?

  • Mango

  • Papaya

  • Coconut

  • Apple

  • Banana

  • Grapes

  • Pineapple

  • Strawberry

7. What vegetables do hermit crabs eat?

Hermit crabs need various nutrients, provided by a daily meal of high-quality, commercially available hermit crab chow. Fruits and vegetables other than citrus (such as kale, romaine lettuce, swiss chard, and papaya) in moderation. Nuts, seaweed, brine shrimp, and fish flakes reward good behaviour.

8. What kind of nuts do hermit crabs eat?

High-protein snacks such as almond butter, chestnut, or walnut brittle are ideal for crabs that are molting or otherwise disturbed. Since many kinds of PB include additives, it is preferable to choose organic PB.)

9. What meat do hermit crabs eat?

Hermit crabs need a constant supply of high-protein meals. You may feed lean beef, chicken or turkey, salmon, tuna, shrimp, eggs, and lean beef, chicken, or turkey.

10. What fish do hermit crabs eat?

Predators of hermit crabs include fish like pricklebacks, gunnels, clingfish, snailfish, sea stars, and more giant crabs such as seagulls and crows. It’s a common misconception that hermit crab prey on the snails they live in; however, this is not true.


Even though hermit crabs may eat just about everything, it’s still crucial to provide them with a well-rounded diet. By experimenting with various feeds, you might discover what your hermit is crab-like. Because hermit crab is nocturnal, they may be more hungry at night than during the day. Your hermit crab’s happiness depends on the quality of your food. Make sure you prepare and offer them balanced meals every day!

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