My pet Hermit Crab is called Shellby. He likes to climb the branch in his Crabitat and is an extremely adventurous fellow. This picture isn’t actually Shellby but it’s close enough. It’s actually of a Hermit Crab found on a beach at Mackay, Queensland.
Shellby’s extremely happy with his shell and couldn’t be happier in a different shell. For now! We have two other Hermit Crabs, but they aren’t mine. Their names are Hermie and Digger. Digger is weird! When he gets a fright he jumps off the branch and lands upside down in their pool of salt water.
If you’re thinking of getting a pet Hermit Crab, make sure they have both fresh water and salt water. It’s important because they need to balance out the salt themselves. They’re very active and will need quite a bit of space. Obviously not the biggest terrarium in the world, but fairly big. Ours is around 45cm long, 25cm wide and 45cm high for 3 Hermit Crabs. Fill it half up with sand because they’ll dig really deep – trust me!
Hermit Crabs are highly social creatures and love to have a buddy or two to play with. Three is a happy number, but if you can’t get 3, two is good.
Don’t be fooled by the small amount of substrate that some pet shops have in their terrariums as they really do like to burrow. Also, most sand sold as Hermit Crab sand is really not suitable because it sticks to their abdomens and clogs up their gills (yes, even Land Hermit Crabs have gills!). We used beach sand after some research, and although we weren’t 100% sure that this was OK, they seem happy. The concern with beach sand is that it can contain some parts that may be sharp and hurt the crabbies. You can also use washed finely ground sand – just be careful to make sure it doesn’t contain any chemicals.
Hermit Crabs are very easy to look after, eat whatever your doctor would recommend to you as a healthy diet, don’t take up much room and are very fun to watch playing around. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, they’ll make a burrow down the side of the wall that you can see into.
If they stay under the ground for a long period of time, don’t worry, they’re absolutely fine. One of ours stayed under ground for about 3 weeks, and now it’s the only one we can see! I would only worry if it starts to smell like dead fish, but then again it, it could be just dead seaweed – if you have any in your terrarium!