Hermit crabs are adorable and entertaining low-maintenance animals that make good pets when properly cared for. However, to keep your hermies happy and healthy, you must provide them with a balanced diet. Here is some basic information you need to know about properly feeding your hermit crabs.
To keep your hermit crabs healthy, you should provide them with a variety of healthy foods. This ensures that they are being given the many vitamins and minerals they need. There's a large list of foods to choose from: many fruits and veggies, fish food, and meat (without seasoning) are examples of what you can feed your crabs. However, make sure you know what your hermit crab can eat before you feed something to him/her. Also, feeding a hermit crab a diet made up exclusively of pet store food isn't very healthy. Make sure to offer them fresh foods as well.
Hermit crabs need calcium in their diet to keep their exoskeleton healthy, and there are a number of ways to keep them in tip-top order, including:
- Adding cuttlebone to their food dish. You can find this in the bird section of a pet store.
- Feeding them crushed egg shells. Boil, dry, and crush some eggs and incorporate this into their meals.
- Feeding them calcium vitamin supplements. You can buy this in many pet stores that sell reptile supplies.
Carotene is needed to keep your hermit crab healthy. One sign of a hermit crab that is lacking enough carotene is a light gray exoskeleton, lacking the purple, red, or brown most hermit crabs have. You can give your hermit crabs carotene though pieces of rich vegetables, including shredded carrots.
Hermit crabs also need to be given protein, and many foods you give your crab have some. For example:
- Commercial hermit crab food
- Fish flakes for carnivorous fish
- Boiled chicken
In your crabitat, you should provide two dishes of water; one with freshwater, the other with saltwater. Hermit crabs needs to drink freshwater just like many animals, but also need to be able to drink and bathe in a saltwater dish. Aquarium stores sell salt that is used in saltwater tanks, and this is what you should use for a saltwater dish. Do NOT use table salt. It contains iodine which is harmful to hermit crabs. Also, when filling your water dishes, be sure that there is no chlorine in the water. You can find dechlorinater drops at a pet store, which will remove harmful substances in the water, including heavy metals and chlorine. The dishes should be deep enough for the crab to dunk him/herself in, but you need to make sure the crabs have a way to escape the dish, or they might drown.
Hermit crabs don't require a lot of care, but an owner should know what their responsibilities are to ensure their hermit crabs are happy and healthy, including feeding. Not giving a hermit crab a correct diet is harmful to the crab. Luckily, it's easy to keep hermit crabs if you know what you're doing. Good luck!
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Rosalind Skye from USA on November 05, 2012:
This hub is an excellent source of information on nutrition for (land) hermit crab owners. I hope more people read this! Very useful!