I don’t normally go into HoneyHill Pet Center at the Eastern Hills mall very often, but this past experience has left a bitter after taste. At this store you will find Purple Pincher hermit crabs for sale, like you would at most pet stores. However, there is a drastic difference between this establishment and others.
For those of you who are unaware, hermit crab husbandry is not necessarily for the beginner. They require at minimum:
-A ten gallon glass tank (any more than five small to medium crabs, and they need more room)
-Moisture retaining substrate (bedding) such as Eco Earth or an Eco Earth/ play sand (never calcium or reptile sand, as it is much too harsh on he heir sensitive bodies) that is at least 3” deep or more
-Multiple climbing toys such as crab safe branches
-DECHLORINATED fresh water
-DECHLORINATED salt water (never table salt)
-Heat lamp OR Under the tank heater attached to the side of the tank, not the bottom
-Heat AND Humidity gauges
-A partially covered lid (not a screen)
-A proper and varied diet
-MUST be kept in groups
With all of these things in mind, a properly taken care of hermit crab can live 30+ years! They are active, social, and interesting animals to keep, however they are very sensitive.
At HoneyHill Pet Center, their tank showed the following:
-Bone dry, pelleted substrate that was not even an inch deep, they cannot burrow in it, can lead to dropped walking legs, and would certainly cause cave-ins on molting hermit crabs.
-A water dish that was much to large, much to large, bacteria ridden sponges, algae, and mold.
-NO saltwater for drinking/soaking
-Much too large food dish that was covered in mold, and clearly had not been changed in days, or longer
-NO heat source (they are ectothermic)
-NO temperature gauge
-NO humidity gauge
-A single hide
-NO fake plants
-Dormant, Cold, and Suffocating hermit crabs littering the surface of the bedding.
Now let me list some facts about hermit crabs, no matter the breed:
-They are ectothermic, meaning they rely completely on their environment to regulate their temperature.
-They have modified gills, meaning they cannot breath air that has less than 60% humidity.
-They can be cannibalistic, meaning that any crabs that are forced into an above ground molt are at risk of being killed
-They build underground caves when they are preparing to molt for protection, as well as complete darkness to solicit their MH hormone. If they cannot tunnel, their MIH hormone kicks in, stopping the pre-molt phase until conditions become safer. Prolonged MIH exposure leads to death.
-Nicknamed the “Tree Crab,” these animals are active and strong climbers that can ascend feet above ground into the trees!
-They are nocturnal, and require a 12hr light and dark cycle.
-They can have shell fights where one crab will literally shake another crab out of its shell so it can have it!
-They are known to actually run, and are quite quick too!
-They require a varied diet, and eat most of the same things we do, including meat, fish, shrimp, fruits, veggies, and grains.
-They are incredibly social beings and in the wild can be found in groups of hundreds!! They will actually die if kept by themselves!
HoneyHill Pet Center is doing a terrible injustice to these animals, and when confronted by the public are nasty, defensive, and refuse suggestions to better their care. Please recognize that small animal abuse is still animal abuse.
(There are tons and tons of bad information out there about the care and keeping of these tropical invertebrates. Resources like hermitcrabpatch.com and hermitcrabworld.com provide accurate and excellent information on hermit crab husbandry of the various different breeds as well.)
Anything to add, hermit crab community?