When taking care of hermit crabs it is probably good to know that as far as pet care goes, it is relatively inexpensive and doesn’t take up too much of your time. This has got to be good news right! After all, what better way to own a pet than to have one that virtually looks after itself! Well, just before you dive headlong into the world of “crabbing,” here are some common mistakes that you should avoid to enable your hermie companion to live a long and happy life.
Buying only one!
Okay, so first things first! You have decided on a pet hermie and spot the very one in the pet store for you! You buy it and walk out, happy in the knowledge that you are going to give your new pet the care and attention it deserves. Well guess what! You have just made your first mistake! You see, when you want to keep your hermie happy and healthy, it is fundamentally important to try to recreate their behaviour in the wild. Hermies are actually very social creatures that live in small groups of colonies and are really not happy being on their own. So rule number one, go and buy your friend a buddy!
Incorrect temperature and humidity
Hermies live in tropical areas and have adapted to high temperatures and high humidity levels. Therefore you will need to recreate this in captivity. Try to regulate the temperature in the aquarium to around 70-72o F. and a humidity level of around 70%. Hermies are pretty good at letting you know that there is a problem. If they are too hot they will give off a musty smell and excrete a dark brown liquid. If they are too cold they will become very docile and eventually die.
Incorrect dietary requirements
A pet hermie is certainly not a picky eater and will eat just about anything you put in front of it. However don’t make the mistake of feeding it junk or high sugary foods as they do need a certain amount of nutrients in their diets, ie calcium, carotene and antioxidants. In this case, when you are caring for your hermies as pets it is always best to observe them closely. If they are in need of calcium their shells start to turn white. If they are lacking in carotene then the crab will start to turn a slightly grey color.
Thinking the crab has died or is ill
This is a very common mistake to make when you own a hermie. You see, hermies need to molt up to six times a year (depending on size and age)! When they are preparing for molting they will become lethargic and indeed lifeless for long periods of time. They will also burrow into the substrate. At this point it is an easy mistake to think that the crab is dead or gravely ill. If you move it when it is molting then you could damage the very soft new exoskeleton and you could kill the crab. So just observe and leave well alone for a few days.
If you can avoid these pitfalls then taking care of hermit crabs should be a trouble free and fun experience for you and these lovable critters.