Having pet hermit crabs in your home is very satisfying. Many people love caring for these pets, and they’re becoming more popular all the time.
If you’ve recently bought a pet hermit crab, you might have noticed it making sounds. Have you heard the hermit crab chirp recently?
What does hermit crab chirping mean? Is this normal or is it something to be concerned with?
Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about hermit crabs and chirping. You’ll have a much clearer understanding of what chirping means once you have all of the necessary information.
Why Do Hermit Crabs Chirp?
There’s actually some disagreement about why hermit crabs chirp. For the most part, there isn’t any concrete evidence to support hermit crabs chirping for specific reasons.
The only information that you can use to answer this question comes from owners. Pet hermit crab owners have a lot of anecdotal evidence that suggests certain reasons for hermit crab chirping.
So there appears to be many potential reasons why hermit crabs will start chirping. It’s best to examine the possibilities so you can gauge what might be going on in your situation.
Once you’ve gone over the different reasons, you should have a better idea of what’s happening. Then you can react accordingly based on what you think is going on with your pet.
1 – Chirping Could Be a Form of Communication
It’s surmised that chirping is some form of communication for hermit crabs. People have seen hermit crabs make chirping noises when trying to communicate with each other.
Keeping hermit crabs in groups is a very common practice. Hermit crabs are social creatures and they will get lonely if kept by themselves in captivity.
You might hear your hermit crabs chirp at each other sometimes. Many owners assume that chirping is just the hermit crabs talking to each other.
Even if you don’t understand their communication methods or intentions, it’s easy to think that they might be able to communicate in this fashion. So if you hear hermit crabs chirping at each other, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
2 – Asking for Help
Some owners have determined that chirping might sometimes be a cry for help. For example, a hermit crab might make a chirping noise if it gets stuck.
There have been situations where hermit crabs have become stuck between two objects. They might make a mistake and try to walk between two rocks and then find out that they won’t fit.
If a hermit crab’s shell gets stuck, it’s not going to want to abandon the shell. A chirp could be a cry for help.
You can check the habitat when you hear a chirp and see what’s going on. Some owners might choose to move the crab into a better position by moving the rocks out of the way.
If two hermit crabs are fighting, you might choose to separate them. Sometimes crabs will fight over shells.
This is why it’s imperative to have shells of multiple sizes in the tank. You should have multiples of each shell size so the hermit crabs will never feel a need to fight.
3 – Aggression and Chirping
Occasionally, aggression might be the intention behind the chirping noises. As mentioned above, hermit crabs sometimes fight with each other.
This typically only happens when hermit crabs are fighting over shells. A hermit crab might covet the shell of another hermit crab and will try to fight for it.
Aggressive chirping could simply be a sign that a squabble is occurring in the tank. It’s best to solve this issue by ensuring that all hermit crabs have access to shells of the appropriate size.
Having more than enough shells in the tank will remedy the situation. You don’t want to have your pet hermit crabs fighting over shells.
Also, you should be sure to pick hermit crabs of the same species for the habitat. Hermit crabs that don’t belong to the same species might not get along.
4 – Trying to Deter Fights
Trying to deter fights might be a reason for chirping, too. Sometimes hermit crabs will challenge each other to fights.
This usually happens for a few reasons. They might fight over shells and they might fight over mates.
In captivity, it’s pretty much always going to involve fighting over shells. Hermit crabs will serve the challenge by walking up and knocking on the shell of another crab.
The crab that’s inside its shell might chirp at the offender. It’ll start vibrating and making a chirping noise.
You could say that this response is an attempt at intimidation. It’s basically saying “don’t even think about it.”
The strong chirping noise is meant to be an indication that the crab is a powerful fighter. So it might work to scare the other crab off or make it give up in its attempt to steal the shell.
Since not a lot is truly known about chirping, this is all speculation. It cannot be proven that chirping is used this way, but there’s anecdotal evidence to back up these claims.
5 – The Hermit Crab Could Be Uncomfortable
Could it be that the hermit crab is chirping because it’s uncomfortable? Some owners say that they’ve seen signs that chirping will occur when crabs are uncomfortable in some way.
There are many reasons why hermit crabs might start feeling uncomfortable. It could be as simple as being bothered by another crab.
A hermit crab might walk on top of another hermit crab and make it feel uncomfortable. There could also be a problem with the environment that you’ll need to look into.
Loud music is something that hermit crabs don’t like. They also don’t like other loud noises such as televisions that are turned up too loud.
Consider whether something could be bothering your hermit crab and then make necessary changes. This will ensure that the hermit crab is okay so you won’t have to worry.
6 – The Hermit Crab Might Be Afraid
Chirping is commonly heard during situations that cause hermit crabs to feel fear. For example, a hermit crab that is being handled might start chirping.
Picking a hermit crab up causes it to experience stress. This is a scary situation for the hermit crab.
Often, hermit crabs will try to pinch their owners when they attempt to pick them up. This is why it’s imperative to learn how to handle hermit crabs properly.
Picking hermit crabs up the right way can lessen feelings of stress. However, it can still be scary for the hermit crab.
This is why many people say you should keep handling to a minimum when caring for hermit crabs. Other things can cause hermit crabs to experience fear as well.
Animals in the house might make the hermit crabs feel a deep sense of fear. Cats seem to be particularly scary for pet hermit crabs.
It’s best to keep cats away from hermit crabs so they won’t become stressed. Dogs can be scary as well due to how loud they can be when barking.
Environmental issues might cause the hermit crabs to experience fear. For instance, you might have problems with the humidity being too low, and this will cause the hermit crab to be afraid that it will not be able to breathe.
Solve whatever issues might be happening in the tank to make the hermit crab feel at ease. You should be able to determine what’s wrong by paying attention to the tank.
Is Hermit Crab Chirping Bad?
A hermit crab chirping isn’t necessarily bad. It could be a bad sign, but it depends on the situation.
To be safe, you likely shouldn’t ignore hermit crab chirping. If you hear the hermit crabs chirping, it might be wise to peek at the habitat and see what’s going on.
You can confirm whether the hermit crabs are fighting or not. It can also give you a chance to check the humidity levels and make sure that all is well in the tank.
Chirping could be nothing worth noting. It could simply be that the hermit crabs are communicating with each other.
One hermit crab might even have bothered another by walking on top of it. It could be such a simple thing that it doesn’t matter much at all.
In case it is something more significant, it’s good to regularly check on your hermit crabs. Earlier, you learned that you can avoid issues with fighting by planning ahead.
Keep shells in the tank so the hermit crabs will have plenty to choose from. You should have multiple shells of each size so they won’t feel the need to fight.
It’s also wise to have several shallow water dishes in the tank. This will keep the hermit crabs from getting grumpy over other crabs using the water dishes.
Typically, hermit crabs learn to get along really well when kept as pets. So long as you’re caring for hermit crabs of the same type, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Keep the Tank Clean
Keeping the hermit crab tank is clean when you want the hermit crabs to be happy. Sometimes hermit crabs will get stressed or uncomfortable if the tank is too dirty.
Generally, you should be trying to keep the tank very clean. If you don’t clean the tank, it’s going to start smelling quite bad.
With the humidity level being kept near 80%, you’ll want to clean regularly. Ensure that you do some spot cleaning daily and clean the tank thoroughly once per week.
When cleaning the tank thoroughly, you’ll need to move the hermit crabs to a holding tank temporarily. It doesn’t take too much effort to keep the habitat clean, but you do need to focus on being consistent.
Feed the Hermit Crabs Well
To put your hermit crabs in a position to thrive, make sure that you feed them high-quality foods. Make sure that all of the crabs are getting the nutrients that they need.
Crabs aren’t hard to feed in any way. They’re omnivores and they aren’t picky eaters.
Make sure to pick up leftover food, though. Food rots rather fast in hermit crab habitats.
The high humidity in the habitat will make leftover bits of food rot faster than you might think. This is why it’s not good to leave leftover food debris in the tank.
Failure to keep the tank clear of organic debris can make it very stinky. Know this ahead of time so you can keep the tank nice for the hermit crabs.
Monitor the Temperature and Humidity
Monitor the temperature and humidity in the hermit crab habitat. If you don’t, you could wind up endangering the crabs.
Keeping the humidity in the right range is imperative when you wish to keep hermit crabs alive. Hermit crabs need the humidity to stay around 80% to be able to breathe properly.
The temperature needs to be hot enough in the tank, too. Typically, you’ll need to set the heater to around 80 degrees Fahrenheit to get good results.
Monitoring the temperature and humidity is easy. You should have a thermometer in the tank as well as a hygrometer.
Just check things now and then to ensure that everything is in working order. Make changes if necessary since hermit crabs can die if they start to dry out.
You’ve learned a lot about hermit crabs and chirping now. Hermit crabs chirp sometimes and it isn’t always clear why they chirp.
Researchers don’t have any official reasons why hermit crabs are known to chirp. Hermit crab owners have anecdotal evidence that supports many different possibilities.
It’s thought that hermit crabs chirp as a form of communication. Sometimes crabs might talk to each other by chirping.
Chirping can also be an indication of aggression or fear. It truly depends on the situation.
You might want to pay attention when you hear chirping to see if your hermit crab needs help. It might not be anything that is worthy of attention, but sometimes a hermit crab could be crying out for help if it’s stuck or being attacked by another hermit crab.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.