For people looking for an exotic and interesting pet, a Hermit Crab is a good choice. When properly cared for, the crabs have the potential to live for up to 80 years. The crabs are relatively easy to take care of, but there are a couple of important care tips that all Hermit Crab owners should know.
They require very little in the way of food and water and can be kept in moderate sized groups of up to 100. The crabs do the best when they have a sandy area to crawl around in—usually a terrarium or a dry aquarium will work. The crabs do best when the temperature is between 73 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit and the relative humidity is between 75 and 85%. It is important to keep the humidity above 70%. Any lower and the crab will slowly die. However, most homes are kept at around 70% or better humidity anyway, and this is easy to monitor and control. Some crabs, such as the Ecuadorian crab are much more active than the other types of species, and if the humidity falls too low, they become lethargic. Some crab owners will find small humidifiers to attach to the inside of the aquarium’s walls; others will simply set a larger humidifier next to the aquarium to regulate the humidity. Depending on the climate you live in, a heat lamp in the winter months might be appropriate to keep the aquarium’s temperature from falling too low.
Despite their name, Hermit Crabs seem to do better when they are in groups. They live in groups of around 100 in the wild, and seem to do much better in groups of at least 6 to 9 while kept as a pet. Hermit crabs have to have access to freshwater and saltwater, deep enough to submerge in, so whatever enclosure they are in must have two water dishes. The crabs also like to climb, so there should be rocks and sticks in the enclosure for them to climb on. Essentially, the best way to keep the crabs happy and healthy is to re-create their natural environment as closely as possible in their aquarium or terrarium.
Hermit crabs eat whatever they come across in the wild, so you are able to feed them almost anything as long as it does not have preservatives in it or is spicy. The crabs will eat fruits, vegetables, meats, bread and even egg shells. Although they can eat almost anything, it is a mistake to feed them random table scraps. A diet of vegetables, some fish and bread works pretty well. Most pet stores that sell the crabs will also sell some specially formulated crab food sticks that provide a balanced diet.
These are general care tips that will work for most crabs, but you should be aware that some of the more exotic species of crabs have different care requirements. Make sure you are aware of what species you are getting and what their care needs are.