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A guide to setting up a Hermit Crab Crabitat

Updated on May 3, 2013

Our Hermit Crabs

#hermit crabs
#hermit crabs
#peace out
#peace out
#Triple H
#Triple H

Hermit Crabs


Several years ago my children decided they wanted to get Hermit Crabs for pets. We went to our local pet store and bought a basic starters kit. This kit included a small plastic habitat, sand, food and water dish and a little log for them to climb on. We used this set up for quite some time but we were not very successful in keeping the crabs for any length of time. After losing a few crabs to either not liking the other shells we had for them or not making it through the molting process.

We decided that if we are going to have Hermit Crabs we need to learn more about them and get a better Habitat for them.

We went to Pet Supermarket and told them about the problems we were having with the hermit crabs and that we really want a nice set up that they will thrive in. We purchased the Exo-Terra Rainforest kit. This kit includes a Full Glass Terrarium, Dual front doors, Includes all necessary decoration items • Unique front window ventilation • Full metal screen for top ventilation, Natural-looking rock terrarium background, Compact Top Lighting system. This also includes: Care guide, Substrate, Water Dish, Jungle Vines and Jungle Plants.. The Exo Terra Rainforest Habitat Kit is the ideal set-up for the beginning herpetoculturist!

Right now we have 5 Hermit Crabs living in this Terrarium and they seem to be doing great. Sometimes they hid so good in there that we can even find them.

Setting up your Crabitat

First you will want to get a big pot or bucket and fill with about 2 liters of water and add about 1/2 brick of substrate. Let this sit for about 30 minutes and it will break apart very easily. Once all the water is absorbed you will need to put all the substrate(soil) into the bottom of the Terrarium. On the upper corners of the Terrarium on the opposite side of the light place your humidity meter and thermometer. This will let you know when you need to add more water to the substrate as the hermit crabs need to be in about 76% humidity for them to thrive. Then you can add your decorations, the Plants and vines. Make sure you have a Fresh water dish with a sponge so they don't drown. A saltwater dish also with a sponge and a food dish. I buy the hermit crab food from the pet store. Once this is all complete just add your hermit crabs. If you are going to use a light please don't buy a bulb any higher than 20 watt. That way it won't make too much heat and harm your hermit crabs.

Our Hermit Crabs

We have 5 hermit crabs In the photos you are able to see the big green guy his name is Triple H we have had him the longest and he is the biggest and most active crab in our crabitat. Then the little Black shell with the peace sign on his back is named Peace-out. Then we have a light purple crab that was appropriately named Prince. We have a little yellow shell with a green smiley face named Smiley Cyrus and then our littlest crab is AJ who is a tiny yellow shell with a silver lightning bolt on her back. My children love WWE wrestling so that is were Triple H and AJ come from but the others were named by their characteristics. Having a bigger terrarium has allowed us to get more hermit crabs and really get to enjoy watching them interact.

Some information you may need

If you want to have healthy hermit crabs you will want to follow a few instructions. Make sure their humidity level in their habitat is around 76%. They thrive in a warm moist environment. They need to have between 1-2 inches of substrate. Hermit crabs like to go under the soil. They also need to have Food, Fresh water and Salt water. Its important to use sponges with the water dishes as the crabs could drown if you put too much water. They need fresh food and water daily. If you use sand instead of substrate you will need to clean the sand more often as it will start to look messy and smell if you do not.

Molting Crabs:

When a hermit crab is molting or shedding it's exo skelton it is a very delicate process for them. If it is possible for you to have an extra habitat you can isolate the molting crab and this will give it the privacy it needs to have a successful molt. This process actually takes about a month. You will see your crab become less and less active and then it will bury itself under the soil or sand when it comes out you will see the exo-skeleton outside of its shell. After about 2-3 days you will see your crab start eating the exo-skeleton; It will usually eat about half of it. This gives him the nutrition it needs to start hardening his own new skeleton. They usually look a little orange or pink for the first few days and then they will start getting darker and darker and you will see its skeleton getting harder and stronger. Once the crab starts eating and again and becomes more active you can return him to his regular habitat.

It is also important to make sure that you have a variety of extra shells in your terrarium as Hermit crabs like to move and if they leave their current shell it may be because they are too big for that shell or something in it bothers them. If your crabs don't like the other shells they may leave there current shell and not have another home. They will not survive if they can't find a shell they like. We have 7 different empty shells just in case they don't like the ones they have to choose from. If your crab comes out of the shell and goes back in and comes out its looking and not finding something he likes. If you are home and see this happening you can spray a drop of salt water on the crab as this will help him not dry out and he may find another shell that he likes. If you keep him moist you may get a better outcome.

So the important things to remember are keep the crabitat humid, keep fresh food, water and saltwater. Make sure that you have plenty of soil and plenty of extra shells.

Now go enjoy watching these adorable little creatures.

Please leave your comments

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    • profile image

      Andrew R. 

      3 years ago

      I'm sorry to say, that you're terribly misinformed. As a hermit crab enthusiast (I've cared for hermit crabs for the last thirty years) you have the right idea, but I cringe to hear how your crabs must


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