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Do Hermit Crabs Carry Diseases? (Can They Make You Sick?)

Do Hermit Crabs Carry Diseases? (Can They Make You Sick?)

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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.

Buying hermit crabs might sound like a fun idea. You might think that these little pets are intriguing.

They certainly can be entertaining in many ways. Also, they’re pets that don’t take up a lot of space.

For some, they will seem like ideal pets. If you’ve been holding off on buying hermit crabs, you might be worried about whether they carry disease.

Do hermit crabs carry disease or is that not something you need to be worried about? Keep reading to get all of the important details on this topic.

Hermit Crabs Can’t Transmit Diseases to Humans

You don’t have to worry about hermit crabs transmitting diseases to humans. There aren’t any known diseases that can be transmitted from hermit crabs to humans.

Hermit crabs can carry diseases in the sense that they can pass them to other hermit crabs. A sick hermit crab can easily pass a disease to another hermit crab that’s in the same tank.

So hermit crabs can carry diseases in the same way that humans can. A human can get sick and pass the sickness on to another human that comes into close contact.

The same holds true for hermit crabs. A sick hermit crab can potentially make other hermit crabs sick.

If your concerns about hermit crabs are related to them carrying diseases that can impact humans, there’s no need to worry. If you’re concerned about catching a disease from owning a pet hermit crab, you shouldn’t be.

Can Hermit Crabs Make You Sick?

No, hermit crabs cannot make you sick. Hermit crabs don’t carry diseases that they can pass on to humans.

So you don’t need to be concerned about hermit crabs getting you sick in any way. These pets are safe to own and they’re also easy to take care of overall.

Don’t let yourself be deterred from buying a hermit crab due to a lack of familiarity. They’re really good pets that are appropriate for many people.

They take up much less space than many other pets. Also, they’re low-maintenance when compared to other small pets.

Do Hermit Crabs Carry Salmonella?

Salmonella isn’t something that you need to worry about either. Hermit crabs are not carriers of salmonella bacteria.

You’ll find that salmonella bacteria isn’t something that hermit crabs can carry at all. They also can’t be affected by salmonella in any way.

If someone told you that hermit crabs carry salmonella, they were mistaken. There might be some false information out there about hermit crabs.

They aren’t carriers of salmonella. You don’t need to worry about getting sick due to handling hermit crabs.

Most experts still recommend washing your hands thoroughly after handling hermit crabs, though. It’s just best to be clean and not to take any risks.

Do Hermit Crabs Get Sick Often?

It’s not too common for hermit crabs to get sick. They’re actually creatures that stay healthy so long as they’re living in optimal conditions.

These are clean creatures that don’t get sick easily. However, they can deal with health issues due to becoming stressed.

Stress Can Lead to Sickness

Stress is a major problem for hermit crabs. When hermit crabs become stressed it makes it tough for them to function normally.

There are many things that can cause hermit crabs to become stressed. Below, you’ll learn a bit about sources of stress that you should try to avoid.

Excessive Noise

Too much noise is going to make your hermit crabs feel stressed. You shouldn’t put the hermit crab’s habitat in a noisy room.

If you put them in a room where you play the television loudly, it’s not going to be good. It’s also not wise to keep them in the same room as loud speakers.

Do your best to find a quiet room for the hermit crab’s tank. This will allow them to feel more at ease in your home.

Sometimes it’s better to take some time to think about where the hermit crab habitat should be located. You’ll also likely want to keep it far away from other pets such as dogs and cats.

Dogs and cats are known to scare hermit crabs. You want to make your crabs feel comfortable in your home.

Too Much Light

Hermit crabs are nocturnal and they don’t like being exposed to bright lights. If you’re keeping the room where the habitat is kept too bright, it might bother the hermit crabs.

Many people recommend giving hermit crabs a natural day/night cycle. This will allow them to hide a bit during the day, and then they can be more active when the lights turn off.

You might need to adjust the way that you’re doing things. Even just making an effort not to expose the hermit crabs to bright lights will help.

Now that you know that hermit crabs are nocturnal, you can alter things accordingly. You might not see the hermit crabs move around a lot during the day, but they’re rather active during the evening and nighttime hours.

Not Enough Sand in the Tank

Is there enough sand in the tank for your hermit crabs? Sand is very important to these pets because they use it for various things.

Hermit crabs need to be able to bury their entire bodies in the sand. If they cannot do this, it’s going to cause them so much stress.

Make sure that the sand is deep enough in the tank. If it’s not, you might need to make some changes for the sake of the hermit crabs.

It would be better to have a little more sand than you need in the tank than not enough. Hermit crabs love digging in the sand and you’ll likely see them doing it quite often.

Of course, sand is important for molting purposes. Hermit crabs that don’t have access to enough sand won’t be able to molt, and they’ll likely die due to stress.

Too Much Handling

Handling hermit crabs is something that you might do here and there. You should limit the number of times you handle the crab, though.

Hermit crabs don’t like being handled at all. Usually, they’ll try to pinch you when you attempt to handle them.

They can get used to being handled to an extent, but it’s still not something they enjoy. Excessive handling is known to stress hermit crabs.

You can make hermit crabs experience health issues by handling them too often. Be careful so you don’t put your pet in a bad spot.


Mites are pests that are known to bother hermit crabs. They’re attracted to hermit crab habitats that aren’t cleaned regularly.

Leftover food is generally what causes mites to come around. They will wind up bothering your hermit crabs so much that they might make them sick.

You can get rid of crab mites by cleaning the tank thoroughly and bathing the crabs. Submerging the crabs in water for a while is usually enough to get rid of the mites.

It’s recommended to replace the sand in the tank to be safe. Avoid issues with mites by cleaning the tank a bit each day.

Do daily spot cleaning where you remove fecal matter and leftover food. Then do a larger cleaning each week to keep everything looking good.

Temperature and Humidity Issues in the Tank

Monitoring the humidity and the temperature in the hermit crab habitat is of the utmost importance. You must make sure that the conditions in the tank are right for hermit crabs.

The humidity level is important for ensuring that the crab is able to breathe normally. This is why you need to use a humidifier or a fogger in a hermit crab tank.

You’re supposed to keep the humidity near 80%. This should be monitored by installing a hygrometer in the tank.

The temperature should stay between 72 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Hermit crabs that get exposed to temperatures that are too cold or too hot will experience health issues.

Do your best to keep an eye on the temperature and humidity level. If you do a good job of keeping things in the right range your crab will have a much better shot at staying healthy.


It’s good to put toys in the tank for your hermit crab to play with. They can get stressed when they’re bored in their habitat.

Providing the hermit crab with things to do is always the best route to take. They love to climb, and this means that it’s best to buy them climbing toys.

You can buy logs and place them at an angle in the habitat. This allows them to climb on them to enjoy a different view.

It’s also common to give hermit crabs ropes and attach suction cups to them. You can stick them right on the tank.

Hermit crabs will feel happier when they have toys to play with. It’s easy to find hermit crab toys at pet stores, too.


You might not realize this, but hermit crabs are actually social creatures. Since these creatures have the word “hermit” right in their names, many people assume that they enjoy solitude.

This isn’t the case at all. Hermit crabs can be found living in large communities in the wild. When keeping pet hermit crabs, it’s best to have at least two of them in one tank.

If you only own one hermit crab, it might become stressed due to loneliness. Being alone makes hermit crabs depressed and they might start acting funny.

It’s even possible that hermit crabs might die due to loneliness. If you want to keep your hermit crab happy and healthy, it’s best to keep it in a small group.

Go buy more hermit crabs of the same species. Ensure that you have enough room in the tank for all of the crabs, too.

Not Enough Hiding Spots in the Tank

Hermit crabs really like to be able to hide. Hiding is something that hermit crabs do a lot.

This is especially true during the daytime. They like hiding during the day because they’re nocturnal creatures.

If your tank is far too open and doesn’t have hiding spots, this could wind up making the hermit crabs feel stressed. They might feel as if there’s no choice but to burrow into the sand.

You should have various rocks, caves, plants, and logs in the tank for the hermit crabs to use. They’ll use these things to hide and it’ll help them to feel much more comfortable overall.

Hermit Crabs Are Sensitive to Chemicals

It should also be noted that hermit crabs are very sensitive to chemicals. They’re far more sensitive to chemicals than most pets that you’re likely used to.

You have to be very careful not to expose hermit crabs to chemicals. When you clean the hermit crab habitat, it’s best to avoid using chemical cleaners.

Also, you must be mindful of the water that you’re giving the hermit crabs. Using tap water is a recipe for disaster when it comes to caring for these pets.

Tap water typically contains a bit of chlorine, and chlorine is deadly to hermit crabs. When hermit crabs are exposed to chlorine it causes them to suffocate.

Always be mindful of the harm that chemicals can do to your crabs. It’ll help you to make good choices to keep your pets safe.

Can Hermit Crabs Get Ich?

Aside from land hermit crabs, people sometimes buy marine hermit crabs for their fish tanks. It can be fun to own marine hermit crabs and care for them.

If you know anything about fish, you likely know that a disease known as ich is problematic. It’s also referred to as “white spot disease” by many people.

It’s a type of parasitic infection that causes fish to become very uncomfortable. You’ll see white spots appear all over the fish, and it’ll make them lethargic.

If fish in the tank have ich, will the marine hermit crabs wind up getting ich as well? No, marine hermit crabs cannot contract ich.

However, they are capable of carrying the ich on their shells. They just can’t be infected by it because they don’t have the necessary biological components.

Final Thoughts

Learning about hermit crabs should put your mind at ease. They don’t carry diseases that can be passed on to humans.

They’re safe pets that you’ll likely enjoy a lot. Hermit crabs can get sick, but it’s more likely that they’ll suffer from health problems due to becoming stressed.

Do your best to avoid the sources of stress that you learned about above. So long as you keep this information in mind, you’ll have a simple time caring for these interesting pets.

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