hermit crabs

Fun fact: hermit crabs are expert climbers. The general rule of thumb is if it’s there, it will be climbed, no exceptions. Only issue is they aren’t nearly as good getting down as they are getting up! Seeing where Cavey got up there explains a lot of loud thunks I’ve been hearing lately, haha.


Home Sweet Home

Usually plastic and the environment do not go hand in hand, but artist Aki Inomata uses plastic to create an environment for her little pet hermit crabs in “Why Not Hand Over a “Shelter” to Hermit Crabs?” (2009, 2010-2013).

With the help of CT scanning to render a three-dimensional model of an empty shell, Inomata creates her base and then builds houses atop these shell renderings. These architectural wonders mimic the style of popular dwellings, from Tokyo house-style to Paris apartments. 

With these plastic hermit crab habitats, Inomata wanted to explore not only the hermit crab’s adaptability to new surroundings, but how we adapt as well. Immigration, relocation, even acquiring a new identity or nationality is more or less the human version of growing out of a shell, and finding a new one to call ‘home’.

Not only is this series an amazing symbolic representation of our will to adapt, but also a fun way to learn more about the life and physiology of the hermit crab, as the dwellings are completely see-through. Have you ever wondered what a hermit crab’s body looks like inside its shell?

A video of both the hermit crabs in action and how the artist came about designing the shells can be found here.

-Anna Paluch


Friendly reminder that this is the same crab. I got Nora a year ago at the end of this month, and this is how much she’s grown. I tried to do similar poses and views so that the comparison was easier. Amazing how much these guys can grow and change. It never ceases to amaze me!

Small animal abuse is still animal abuse

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 hides

-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 climbs

-NO fake plants

-Pungent Oder

-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?