Want an interesting, low maintenance pet that’s a little out of the ordinary? Hermit crabs might be the answer.
They can live for ten to twenty years if looked after properly, so check out our five tips for care before you buy.
1. Hermit crabs don’t breed in captivity so all sold in pet stores have been taken from the wild; ensure you choose an active crab (lethargy can indicate illness) that has no missing legs or claws.
2. Keep them in a glass terrarium or aquarium (often known as a ‘crabitat’) with a lid that prevents escape but allows air circulation and helps hold in heat and humidity. It should be at least 40 litres.
3. Heat and humidity are essential for hermit crabs. A heat mat under the tank should ensure 28 degrees at one end and 21 degrees at the other, with humidity levels kept at 72-82 per cent to allow them to breathe through their gills.
4. As hermit crabs grow they shed their exoskeleton and need to fully bury themselves in their bedding to do so, so bedding should be at least double the height of the largest hermit crab in the tank. Use coconut fibre or reptile moss as bedding as anything else can be harmful.
5. Hermit crabs like to climb and hide so ensure branches and caves are available in the crabitat. When playing with them, hermit crabs will enjoy climbing over your hands and shirt, so make sure you pay attention not to drop them or get pinched!