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Can Saltwater Hermit Crabs Live On Land? (Land vs. Marine Hermit Crabs)

Can Saltwater Hermit Crabs Live On Land? (Land vs. Marine Hermit Crabs)

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This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addition, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

You might know that there are many different types of hermit crabs. Hermit crabs are popular pets, but some people have trouble understanding the differences between the various types.

For example, you might not know much about saltwater crabs. Perhaps you only know about the most common crabs that are sold in pet stores.

If you buy a saltwater crab, is it going to be able to live on land? Or is that something that these crabs simply cannot do?

Read on to learn everything that you need to know about keeping saltwater crabs as pets. This will ensure that you can do things right and get good results.

Some Saltwater Hermit Crabs Can Live On Land

Some saltwater hermit crabs are fully capable of living on land. However, there are many saltwater hermit crabs that can only live in the water.

Using terms like “saltwater hermit crab” won’t be a good way to tell which crabs can live on land. There are many types of hermit crabs, but most of them can only live in the water.

Thus, there are better terms to tell you which types of hermit crabs can live on land. There are land hermit crabs and marine hermit crabs.

Continue reading to learn more about the different types of hermit crabs. This should help you out if you’re trying to look into pet hermit crab options.

Land Hermit Crabs

Land hermit crabs are all capable of living on dry land. These crabs will often go in the water for periods of time, but they can’t remain in the water.

These types of crabs aren’t capable of breathing underwater. They have to breathe oxygen on the land to be able to survive.

Interestingly, land hermit crabs all possess gills. However, these gills don’t work the same way that normal gills do.

A land hermit crab’s gills have been modified so the hermit crabs can breathe oxygen. These creatures breathe like normal land creatures, but they don’t have lungs.

The gills must remain moist or else the land hermit crab won’t be able to breathe. This means that land hermit crabs need to live in places that have high humidity or they won’t be able to survive.

Typically, you’ll find land hermit crabs near beaches and other such areas. They live near areas where they will have access to water and sand.

Many types of land hermit crabs are saltwater hermit crabs. Terms such as saltwater hermit crab and freshwater hermit crab simply don’t matter as much as you would think.

Some hermit crabs will live in areas where they will only have access to saltwater. Others might live in an area where they have access to freshwater.

The thing to focus on is the distinction between land hermit crabs and marine hermit crabs. Land hermit crabs can be kept as pets in a terrarium with sand while marine hermit crabs must be kept in water.

Marine Hermit Crabs

Marine hermit crabs make up the majority of the hermit crab types. Most hermit crabs are marine hermit crabs that live their lives in the water.

It’s common for these hermit crabs to be kept in fish tanks. You can put them in reef tanks since hermit crabs are reef safe.

Note that there are many different types of marine hermit crabs. Each type of crab is going to have different water requirements.

Some crabs might prefer certain water temperatures and parameters. When keeping these crabs in a home fish tank, it’s important to think about compatibility issues.

You don’t want to put marine crabs in a tank with fish that have different requirements. It’s necessary to keep the water parameters pretty much spot on to avoid complications.

Can Marine Crabs Survive on the Surface at All?

Yes, marine crabs are capable of surviving on land for brief periods of time. However, they can’t live on land.

A marine hermit crab will spend the vast majority of its life in the water. There might be brief times when the crab will get out of the water.

Since these crabs can’t breathe on land, they won’t be able to stay out of the water for long. They need their gills to be damp to survive, and this means that they have only brief periods of time where they can go on land.

Land hermit crabs can survive on land permanently. They also need their gills to remain moist, but they’ve adapted to the land much better than marine hermit crabs have.

A marine hermit crab will die in a short amount of time on land. A land hermit crab will live on land normally since it cannot survive underwater.

So you can’t take your marine hermit crab out of the tank for fun. It’s supposed to remain in the water even if it can technically survive for short periods of time outside of water.

Advice for Keeping Land Hermit Crabs as Pets

Keeping land hermit crabs as pets can be so much fun. However, you need to focus on providing the hermit crabs with the best care.

As noted earlier, land hermit crabs possess modified gills that need to stay moist. Without enough moisture in the air, the hermit crabs won’t be able to breathe.

To keep these crabs safe in your home, it’ll be necessary to provide them with a humidifier. The humidifier will ensure that the humidity level in the tank is sufficient so the crabs will always be able to breathe.

Aside from a humidifier, land hermit crabs will also need shallow dishes of water. You must keep at least two shallow dishes of water in the habitat.

One shallow dish should have saltwater and another should have freshwater. You will fill the dishes with water for the hermit crabs as necessary.

The dishes need to be shallow because land hermit crabs can drown. You don’t want them to get stuck in the water and die due to not being able to get out.

These dishes still need to be deep enough for the hermit crabs to submerge their bodies. Make sure that you use shallow dishes that are just right for hermit crabs to get the best results.

Do Hermit Crabs Make Good Pets?

Many people feel that hermit crabs make excellent pets. You might want to consider what types of pets you’re interested in before buying hermit crabs, though.

You won’t be interacting with hermit crabs the same way that you would dogs or cats. That doesn’t mean that they can’t be fun, though.

Hermit crabs have interesting personalities that make them fun to watch. They like to play with toys in their habitats and they’re rather smart in certain ways.

It can be satisfying to watch hermit crabs climb and interact with each other. You can also hold hermit crabs if you want to.

Holding hermit crabs can be somewhat bothersome since they might pinch you. If you choose to do this, you’ll want to be careful how you approach things.

Some hermit crab owners choose to keep handling to a minimum. Truly, handling can be a stressful process for the hermit crabs, and it might make sense to avoid it.

Hermit crabs are very easy to take care of, though. They don’t eat a lot of food and it doesn’t take a lot of time to keep them healthy and safe.

Cleaning the hermit crab tank sometimes will be necessary. Otherwise, it’ll start to get rather stinky.

If you want a low-maintenance pet that won’t take up much space, getting a hermit crab is well worth considering. Those who want more traditional pets might be better off sticking with cats and dogs.

How Long Do Hermit Crabs Live?

Hermit crabs have the potential to live for quite some time. There are many types of land hermit crabs that can live for twenty years or longer.

Some might even live for thirty years in the wild. Since many hermit crabs can live for decades, the potential is there to enjoy a pet hermit crab for a long time.

Not all land hermit crabs will live that long, though. Many people don’t care for these creatures properly, and they wind up dying within a few years.

If you’re not prepared to provide the hermit crabs with the right environment, you likely shouldn’t buy one. It’ll only lead to bad results if you aren’t willing to buy the necessary equipment.

You need to buy an appropriate habitat, a humidifier, and other essentials. This will give the hermit crab the best chance of surviving for a long time.

Keep a Small Group of Hermit Crabs

You should also know that hermit crabs are social creatures. They prefer to live in groups rather than living alone.

Some keep hermit crabs by themselves, but they can get lonely when you do this. If you aren’t home very often, it’s possible that your hermit crab could die of loneliness.

It’s truly best to keep hermit crabs in groups of three or four. Be sure to give your hermit crab a tank that’s large enough for a few friends.

Keep multiple sizes of each shell in the tank to avoid issues with fighting. If you do this, it should be easier to keep the hermit crabs happy.

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