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Hermit Crabs


Hermit Crabs make great low maintenance pets! They are also very entertaining animals; they can climb, dig, hold on to your shirt with their claws as you walk. All you need to keep a crab is a crabarium (old fish tank), some gravel, extra shells in different sizes, and water and food dishes (make sure the dishes are shallow enough for the crab to easily climb out of) and you are all ready for your crabs!

Care of the tree crab includes daily feeding and watering. A commercial food from a pet store is sufficient, however you may supplement the diet with fresh fruits and veggies, but you should make sure not to leave un-eaten fruits or veggies in the tank for more than 24 hours. In addition to drinking water, hermit crabs also need to be sprinkled daily with luke warm water to keep them from drying out. Mist from a spray bottle filled with lukewarm water works well. Keep the tank temperature between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. About once a month you should remove all the gravel from the crabarium, rinse it well without soap and let dry before returning it back to the crabarium; this will remove non eaten food, and waste.

Hermit Crabs need to change homes when they grow, so you will need to provide your crab with extra shells that are 1/3 bigger than it's current shell, because your crab will grow. Hermit Crabs have a hard exoskeleton that does not grow as the crab grows. The crab will shed its exoskeleton and grow a small amount very quickly, until the new exoskeleton hardens; this is called molting. This kewl way of growing allows the hermit crab to replace lost eyes, or appendages!

There is no way to tell when your hermit crab is about to start molting. You may notice that your crab will become inactive, or may bury himself for up to 2 weeks. Many hermit crab owners may fear that their crabs have died. But if you look carefully you will see a pink undergrowth. In 10 days or so your crab will be fine. It is especially important to keep misting your crabs during the molting period. Small crabs may molt every month or so, but larger crabs only molt 1 time every 18 months.

Taming your crab is pretty easy...hold your hand open and let it crawl; the more they are played with, the better. Hermit Crabs cannot pinch you if you pick them up by the back part of the shell. If you do happen to get pinched by a crab and he doesn't let go, run quickly to a lukewarm tap water faucet and run a small amount of water over him, he will let go.
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