You might have seen hermit crabs being sold at local pet stores. These pets are still considered exotic, but they’re becoming far more common than they used to be.
Many people find hermit crabs to be very convenient pets. They don’t take up a lot of room, and they’re easy to care for overall.
If you’re thinking about buying hermit crabs soon, it’s best to look up as much information as you can. For instance, it’s likely going to be helpful to know about the different types of hermit crabs.
This will allow you to learn about which hermit crabs will appeal to you the most. Continue reading to get all of the important information about various hermit crab types.
Land Hermit Crabs
The first thing to know is that there are two distinct major categories of hermit crabs out there. Land hermit crabs are capable of living on land, and there are also hermit crabs that live their lives in the water.
You’ll learn about marine hermit crabs later. For now, it’s time to focus on land hermit crabs and what makes them special.
Land hermit crabs are the popular types of pet hermit crabs that you see being sold at stores. These hermit crabs have modified gills that allow them to breathe oxygen.
They can only breathe properly if their gills stay moist, though. So it’s imperative to keep them in warm and humid environments.
In the wild, land hermit crabs can be found living in tropical areas near beaches. They’re nocturnal creatures that scavenge for food during the night.
It’s common for these crabs to burrow into the sand. They do this to travel safely, and they also look for food in the sand.
There are many different types of land hermit crabs out there that you can buy as pets. Later, you’ll learn more about the most popular types of land hermit crabs.
Marine Hermit Crabs
Marine hermit crabs are hermit crabs that live in the water. These crabs have gills that function more like traditional gills.
They can breathe underwater and cannot survive for long periods on land. A marine hermit crab might survive for a little while on land if it can keep its gills moist, but it won’t be able to live longer than an hour or two even if the conditions are ideal.
You can buy marine hermit crabs and put them in a fish tank if you’d like to. Some people do this because they utilize the hermit crabs as a cleanup crew.
Hermit crabs will sometimes eat a bit of algae in the fish tank. They aren’t the most efficient when it comes to this, though.
Wild marine hermit crabs sometimes form symbiotic relationships with anemones. An anemone will ride on the hermit crab’s shell to get around.
It’ll sting predators that try to attack the hermit crab. The relationship between anemones and hermit crabs is truly something special.
You won’t see marine hermit crabs in peoples’ homes as often as land hermit crabs. Land hermit crabs have become popular pets while marine hermit crabs are only sometimes found in fish tanks.
It’s still interesting to note that marine hermit crabs exist. They’re an important branch of the hermit crab family that you need to know about.
Technically, there are seven different families of hermit crabs. Six of these families fall under the marine hermit crab distinction.
Types of Pet Land Hermit Crabs
As you’d expect, there are many different types of land hermit crabs that you can buy. If you’re looking into buying hermit crabs for your home, there will be many options to consider.
Below, you’ll learn about many of the most popular hermit crab types. You’ll get a bit of information about each type so that you can decide if they might be hermit crabs that you’ll want to buy.
1 – Ecuadorian Hermit Crabs
Ecuadorian hermit crabs are rather popular in the United States. They can commonly be found in pet stores, and they stand out from other hermit crabs in some interesting ways.
When looking at these crabs, you’ll notice that their eyes are shaped like commas. They’re also known to change colors quite a bit after molting.
An Ecuadorian hermit crab can go from being blue or green to having an orange or red body after molting. It’s interesting to own a hermit crab that can change its appearance so drastically.
One thing to know about these crabs is that they’re rather tiny. Typically, they only reach around half of an inch in length as adults.
They are rather active, though, and that can make them a lot of fun to observe. Ecuadorian hermit crabs can be picky eaters, so you’ll need to make sure that you give them different types of food regularly to mix things up.
2 – Caribbean Hermit Crabs
Caribbean hermit crabs are among the most popular pet hermit crabs. They’re often sold as “purple pinchers” at pet stores.
These hermit crabs are defined by their round eyes, brown bodies, and large purple claws. They look really neat, and that’s one of the reasons why they’ve become ubiquitous in pet stores.
On average, Caribbean hermit crabs will grow to be between two and six inches. They’re really good at climbing, and it’s best to give them plenty of climbing toys when keeping them as pets.
When buying replacement shells for these hermit crabs, it’s wise to buy shells with round entrances. They seem to have a preference for these types of shells.
Anyone who is looking for a good pet hermit crab will be pleased with these crabs. They’re popular for a reason, and you shouldn’t hesitate to buy these crabs if you’re interested.
3 – Passionfruit Hermit Crab
Passionfruit hermit crabs are some of the strangest ones on this list. These hermit crabs get their names because they sometimes use the hard parts of passionfruit as shells.
You can find these strange little hermit crabs in parts of China, Japan, and Africa. They aren’t as common as many of the other hermit crabs on this list, but they’re still fun to learn about.
As these hermit crabs mature, they’ll grow to be between one and four inches in size. If you ever find any of these hermit crabs for sale, they might be interesting crabs to purchase.
4 – Strawberry Hermit Crabs
Strawberry hermit crabs are noteworthy because of how they look. They really do have bodies that look a lot like strawberries.
They have bright red and orange bodies that also feature white dots. The white dots really make the crabs look like they have a strawberry pattern.
Aside from being very cute and interesting, they’re also nice because they grow to be a good average size. Adult strawberry hermit crabs often grow to be around three inches.
In some cases, these crabs might grow to be five inches, but this is far less common. When caring for these crabs, you’ll want to avoid handling them too much.
These hermit crabs really don’t enjoy being picked up and handled. If you do so, it’s best to be careful and only do it when necessary.
5 – Ruggie Hermit Crabs
Ruggie hermit crabs are another type that you can find in most pet stores. Ruggies are unique because of how their claws look.
Their front claws have stitch marks that make them easily identifiable. It’s also interesting that you can find these hermit crabs in many different colors.
They make great pets because of how active they are. A big part of owning hermit crabs is watching them play and move around in the tank.
It’s good to know that they’re agreeable little pets. Handling these hermit crabs is a lot easier than it is with many other types of crabs, but you still need to be careful.
Excessive handling can still cause stress to these crabs. Ruggies are small crabs that only grow to be around one-half of an inch in length.
6 – Blueberry Hermit Crabs
Blueberry hermit crabs look so great that they’re popular and sought after. They’re kind of rare, though, and this means that tracking some of them down to keep them as pets won’t be easy.
Originally, these hermit crabs were found living in Japan. They aren’t too big, but they’re very pretty hermit crabs that will always stand out.
Even in adulthood, these hermit crabs usually only grow to be around three inches long. So they fall somewhere in the average range as far as size goes.
Some of these hermit crabs will look purple while others will be blue. No matter what, these are gorgeous crabs to look at, and it’s easy to see why they’re popular.
7 – Indonesian Hermit Crabs
Sometimes Indonesian hermit crabs are kept as pets, but you’d need a lot of space for a big habitat. You see, these hermit crabs are a lot larger than most hermit crabs that you’ll find.
Indonesian hermit crabs can grow to be up to eight inches long. That’s pretty huge for a hermit crab, and it might make them impractical for some people.
They’re cool hermit crabs to look at, though. Indonesian hermit crabs have large front pinches that are the same color as lilacs.
One interesting fact about these crabs is that they have stronger exoskeletons than most other hermit crabs. They also like to use smaller shells than you would think given their size.
They often use small sizes because they hang out of the shells more than other crabs do. It’s interesting to observe these crabs and see how they operate.
8 – Viola Hermit Crabs
Viola hermit crabs are another crab type that is pretty rare. People do indeed keep them as pets, but it’s not common because of how rare they are.
Not as much is known about these crabs as many of the other crabs on this list. The rarity of this species makes it harder for people to study them.
It is known that they grow to be up to three inches long. Owners say that these crabs generally enjoy occupying auger shells, and they also enjoy fox shells.
If you ever see one of these crabs, you can count yourself lucky. They’re pretty, and they usually have bodies that show off darker colors, such as purple.
9 – Red Sea Hermit Crabs
Red sea hermit crabs haven’t been studied too much yet. That hasn’t stopped some people from keeping them as pets.
These are fairly small crabs that vary in size a little bit. Adults seem to grow to be between 0.4 and 0.8 inches.
They’re crabs that seem to tolerate warm temperatures really well. Many crabs become stressed when exposed to warm temperatures, but these crabs can handle temperatures that are slightly hotter than average.
In the wild, they’re known to burrow into the sand to avoid really hot temperatures. These pets are neat, but you’re not likely to find them being sold at local pet stores.
10 – Australian Land Hermit Crabs
Australian land hermit crabs are brown crabs that have vertical stripes on their claws. They look really impressive, and they sometimes have brown spots on their legs.
These crabs aren’t very picky when it comes to what types of shells they like. They will utilize most types of shells as long as they’re the right size.
You won’t see these crabs grow too big even when they reach adulthood. It’s normal for them to grow to be one inch long, but they don’t grow much more than that.
In the wild, these crabs can be found in the northern portions of Australia. They’re good crabs that many people keep as pets.
What Types of Marine Hermit Crabs Are Kept in Homes?
There are marine hermit crabs that are kept in homes, too. You might find people buying these crabs for their fish tanks from time to time.
They simply aren’t as commonly seen in homes as land hermit crabs. Even so, there are many good options if you have a fish tank and would like to put some marine hermit crabs in there.
There are many types of dwarf marine hermit crabs that you can buy. These include popular options such as blue leg hermit crabs, zebra hermit crabs, red tip hermit crabs, and yellow tip hermit crabs.
Electric blue hermit crabs might be the best ones to buy if you’re looking for cleaners. They eat algae, and they’ll also eat various types of waste.
Electric orange hermit crabs belong to the same family as the blue ones. They look really neat and can also be great additions to a fish tank.
Halloween hermit crabs can look really cool in an aquarium setting. They have red and orange stripes on their legs that help them to stand out.
Polka dot hermit crabs are also quite distinct. They have large white claws and spotty patterns on their legs.
Scarlet reef hermit crabs have proven to be popular in marine tanks. They’re small and low-maintenance marine hermit crabs that do a good job in tank cleaning roles.
Staghorn hermit crabs are worth mentioning, too. Many people think they look neat, but they’re hard to care for and not recommended for inexperienced individuals.
With so many marine hermit crab options to pick from, it’ll be easy to find crabs that appeal to you. Remember that you need to make sure that the pH balance and water temperature are right for these crabs.
You’ll be caring for them much the same way that you would fish. Look out for them and ensure that they have replacement shells in the tank so they can thrive.
Learning more about the various types of hermit crabs should make it a lot easier for you to appreciate them. There are so many distinct types of hermit crabs out there.
There are land hermit crabs and marine hermit crabs. Land hermit crabs are more commonly kept as pets, but people still keep marine hermit crabs in fish tanks sometimes.
If you’re looking for pets that are fairly easy to care for, it’s good to look into buying hermit crabs. Most land hermit crabs are very easy to take care of with just a little bit of effort.
It can be a lot of fun to care for these pets and watch them interact with each other. You don’t directly interact with hermit crabs too much, but they’re still rewarding pets to own.
If you have a fish tank, you might be interested in utilizing hermit crabs as cleaners. Some types of hermit crabs will do great when it comes to eating algae and types of waste.
You can find both land hermit crabs and marine hermit crabs being sold at certain pet stores. It’s usually easier to find land hermit crabs, but you can look into what your local stores have to offer.
Which types of hermit crabs sound interesting to you? Continue to learn more about hermit crabs, and then buy some for your home whenever you feel that you’re ready.
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.