Hermit crabs are highly social animals that make for a great family or class pet. They can easily be handled and would be fun to watch as they explore their habitat and interact with other hermit crabs. The nocturnal animals require little maintenance, are non-aggressive and hypoallergenic.
About the Hermit Crab
Hermit crabs, just like snakes, will shed their skin from time to time. This process is called molting. During this time, they will have to burrow underground which can take between 4 and 8 weeks.
Hermit crabs have very soft and fragile abdomens. This is why they will need to live inside shells for protection. As they grow, they will have to move from their former shells onto bigger and spacious ones. These animals can be very finicky when the time comes that they will have to choose a new shell to move in to. Of course, they would have to make sure that the opening and the size of the shell will be a good fit for them. There are those that will still hang on to their old shell as they try out the new one while there are those that will immediately move in. There are even hermit crabs that will fight with another over the shell.
These animals thrive well when they are made to live with other hermit crabs. Both the male and female may assert their dominance in a group and they very rarely reproduce in captivity. It might not be popular knowledge but hermit crabs emit sounds that sound like a chirp or croak.
Care of a Hermit Crab
Hermit crabs are omnivorous. Their diet may contain a mix of commercial hermit crab food, fruits, and vegetables. They can also be fed with calcium supplements in the form of crushed oyster shell and cuttlebones. These animals will need an abundant supply of de-chlorinated water to drink, bathe in, play with, and to fill their shells in. Their food and water bowls should be non-porous and non-metallic because they are highly sensitive to metal.
Because they are nocturnal, it should be ensured that their habitat light are turned on in the morning and then off at night. They will mostly feed and drink at night so they should have adequate supply on their bowls.
The more hermit crabs are handled, the more comfortable they will become. This is why it is recommended that they be held from time to time. Picking them up should be done slowly since these animals can easily detect movement and might trigger them to pinch their holder with they claws. If you want a hermit crab as a pet, look for pet stores or ones that have reptiles for sale as they have carry these crustaceans as well.
Hermit crab owners should have a good relationship with a veterinarian so the owner can easily contact the doctor if the owner notices anything unusual about the animal. Some of the health warning signs that should be watched out for include decreased appetite, decreased activity, excessive skin shedding, claw or limb loss, strong odor from inside the shell, and staying out of the shell.
About the Author:
Amy C. takes a fancy in blogging about the treatment and care of animals. She is especially interested in writing about reptiles like snakes and lizards. When she is not writing about these, she does administrative work and blogging activities for Greyside Group, a maritime security and executive protection company. Check out her next blog post for her next featured animal.