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Hermit Crab Diet

Updated on September 26, 2015

Hermit crabs are omnivorous scavengers who like variety in their diet. You should never stick with feeding them the same thing day in and day out. Hermit crabs need a wide variety in their diet.

In order to be healthy, the best foods to feed hermit crabs are foods you would eat - fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, nuts, seeds, etc. Offer vitamins and supplements, too.

You can offer a staple that composes the bulk of the diet, like a homemade rice recipe or even a commercial pellet diet, but you should add fresh fruits and vegetables, proteins and other grains to the meal plan.

And, don't forget fresh water!

Fresh Fruits

A fresh diet is always healthier than a freeze-dried can diet. Fresh foods just hold their nutrients better, which in turn keeps your hermit crab healthy.

When finding the best diet for your pet, add a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables to the diet.


  • carrots
  • spinach
  • watercress
  • leafy green lettuces (not iceberg)
  • broccoli
  • squash
  • zucchini
  • sweet potato (no eyes or green parts)
  • cabbage
  • seaweed
  • green beans
  • parsley
  • pumpkin
  • corn
  • beets


  • mango
  • papaya
  • coconut (fresh or dried)
  • apples
  • applesauce
  • bananas
  • grapes
  • pineapple
  • strawberries
  • blueberries
  • melons
  • raisins
  • kiwi
  • plums
  • watermelon


  • nuts (unsalted nuts)
  • peanut butter (occasionally)
  • seaweed
  • cooked eggs (in moderation)
  • freeze dried shrimp and plankton
  • brine shrimp
  • fish food flakes
  • cooked and unseasoned chicken


  • plain oatmeal (not instant)
  • flax seed
  • rice (cooked or rinsed; not instant)
  • millet
  • whole grain cereal (within sugary additives)
  • wheat germ

Snacks and Treats

Once in a while, give your hermit crab a treat... You don't want to offer candy or chocolate, but try plain popcorn or rice cakes. Baby food is also a nice treat to offer once in a while.

Mix it up to see what treats your hermit crab likes the best.

  • crackers (no or low salt)
  • plain rice cakes
  • popcorn (plain, air popped, can be given occasionally)
  • baby food

Commercial Diet

You can use a commercial hermit crab food as a staple diet for your pet crabs, but instead of offering a commercial diet as the staple food, try the following recipe as a staple diet.

  • 2 large cuttlebones
  • 1 cup dried rice
  • 1 cup unflavored oatmeal
  • 1 tsp. sea salt. (NO table salt!)
  • ΒΌ cup dried plankton, krill or any other very stinky dried sealife
  • 2 tablespoons spirulina powder


Hermit crabs need a lot of calcium to support their exoskeleton. You can provide calcium by placing a cuttlebone in the enclosure, dusting foods with a calcium vitamin supplement or adding crushed egg shells to the food plate.


Provide a bowl of unsalted water and one bowl of salted water in the tank. It's important that they have access to both fresh and salt water at all times.

The bowls should be shallow enough for the crabs to climb into, but large enough for the crabs to sit and soak in. For smaller hermit crabs, place a sea sponge in the bowl to help them getting in and out of the dish.

The water is important to drink and bathe in. Hermit crabs even carry some water in their shell to hydrate their gills and regulating their salinity.

Use dechlorinator drops to remove the chlorine in tap water, or use bottled water to skip the dechlorinating step. Do not use table salt to make the salt water; use an aquarium salt like Instant Ocean or Hermit Crab Soaking Salt.

Hermit crabs preparing to molt will spend a lot of time soaking in both water dishes, storing water which will be used to enable them to build up hydrostatic pressure to swell and break open their exoskeleton during molting and also to survive on while buried.


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