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How (And What) Do Hermit Crabs Drink?

How (And What) Do Hermit Crabs Drink?

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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 know that hermit crabs are common pets that can be a lot of fun. However, you might not know a lot about how they live.

They’re such interesting creatures that can be fascinating to watch. Have you ever wondered how these pets drink?

How do hermit crabs consume water? Do they need special types of water to be able to drink?

Below, you’ll learn a lot about hermit crabs and how they drink. You’ll also get answers to common questions that are related to this topic.

After reading everything, you’ll feel like you have a greater understanding of hermit crabs. It should give you a greater appreciation for them.

Hermit Crabs Drink By Scooping Up Water

If you take the time to observe hermit crabs, you’ll likely see them scooping water with their claws from time to time. When hermit crabs need to drink, they do so by scooping up water with one of their claws.

Both the larger claw and the smaller claw are capable of scooping up water. Often, hermit crabs will sit in a pool of water and then scoop some of the water with the claw to take a drink.

The water will typically be scooped toward the mouth. Sometimes the water might be brought directly toward the gills, but this isn’t for drinking purposes.

Hermit crabs need to have constant access to water. If you want your hermit crabs to stay healthy and happy, you’re supposed to give them access to both freshwater and saltwater.

There should be at least two shallow dishes in the hermit crab’s habitat. These dishes should contain two different types of water.

One dish will contain freshwater. The other dish will contain saltwater.

The hermit crab will decide which type of water it wants to use. It’s important to ensure that the hermit crab has access to both.

What Do Hermit Crabs Drink?

As you’d expect, hermit crabs drink water. Your pet hermit crab is going to drink freshwater most of the time.

The shallow dish of freshwater that you put in the habitat will be the primary source of drinking water for the hermit crab. It will go there when it needs to take a drink.

You should always make sure that the hermit crab has enough water in the shallow dishes. These creatures need water to be able to live.

A hermit crab can technically live for a while without water under ideal conditions, but there’s no reason to withhold water. To keep the hermit crab in good health, it’ll need drinking water as well as saltwater.

Do Hermit Crabs Drink Saltwater?

Occasionally, you might notice your hermit crab take a swig of some saltwater. Why would a hermit crab scoop up saltwater and drink it, though?

This is simply something that a hermit crab might choose to do. Taking a few drinks of saltwater won’t do any harm to the hermit crab.

However, saltwater isn’t what hermit crabs typically drink. These land hermit crabs will normally drink freshwater.

You want to make sure that the crab has access to both types of water. This is why it’s crucial to have two shallow dishes in the habitat.

Can Hermit Crabs Drink Bottled Water?

If you have bottled water, is it going to be fine to give that to your hermit crabs? Can hermit crabs safely drink bottled water or is that a poor idea?

Bottled water or distilled water will be safe to use for your hermit crabs. Hermit crabs can safely drink bottled water because it should be purified.

Distilled water is also a common choice and it can be purchased in large jugs. For many, buying bottled water is going to be a convenient choice.

You’ll need quite a bit of water for hermit crabs. The hermit crabs need to be able to submerge their bodies in the water, after all.

Can Hermit Crabs Drink Tap Water?

You shouldn’t give hermit crabs tap water without treating it. Tap water contains various chemicals such as chlorine and fluoride.

Before you can use tap water for your hermit crab’s water dishes, it’s necessary to treat it. Thankfully, the treatment process is rather simple.

You can buy a dechlorinator from the store and use it on tap water. This is a simple tablet that gets rid of the chlorine that’s present in the tap water.

If you try to give the water to the hermit crabs without dechlorinating it first, the crabs might die. Chlorine is deadly to hermit crabs and this is why you must be careful to treat the water properly before utilizing it.

How to Safely Make Saltwater for Hermit Crabs

You know that your hermit crab needs access to saltwater as well as freshwater. It’s easy enough to buy bottled water or treat tap water so the hermit crab can have access to freshwater, but what should you do about saltwater?

Making your own saltwater for the hermit crab to utilize is simple enough. However, you need to do things the right way to avoid problems.

Under no circumstances should you use iodized salt to make saltwater for hermit crabs. Iodine is bad for hermit crabs and can cause them to experience health issues.

To make saltwater, you should use ocean salt to get the best results. Follow the instructions to make saltwater that is perfect for hermit crabs.

Hermit Crabs Need Shell Water

Did you know that hermit crabs keep water in their shells? They do this because they need to keep their gills hydrated.

Land hermit crabs possess modified gills that are designed to breathe oxygen. They’re only able to do so when the gills remain moist.

Hermit crabs will take water into their shells and mix it up. A hermit crab might take a little bit of freshwater and a bit of saltwater to create a custom mixture.

It’ll then use this water to hydrate its gills. Hermit crabs can dry out if they’re exposed to too much heat, and dryness can also be an issue.

This is why humidity levels matter so much in hermit crab tanks. Keeping the environment humid for the hermit crabs helps them to be able to breathe properly.

You have to use a humidifier or take other steps to raise the humidity level in the tank. Either way, it’s important to monitor the humidity conditions in the tank for the sake of your pet hermit crab.

Keeping enough water in the water dishes is also imperative. The water dishes need to be filled with water so the hermit crabs can replenish their stocks of shell water.

When you see a hermit crab sitting in the water, it’s likely that it’s taking water into its shell. This is something that will be done regularly.

Why Do Hermit Crabs Need Shallow Dishes of Water?

Are you wondering why hermit crabs specifically need shallow dishes of water? This is because hermit crabs can drown.

Land hermit crabs have adapted to live on the land. They cannot live underwater because they don’t have gills that can breathe water.

These hermit crabs need their gills to stay moist, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t drown. If a hermit crab gets stuck underwater, it’s going to drown and die.

This is why you must use shallow dishes for the water. Hermit crabs need to be able to get out of the water easily.

If you use dishes that are too deep, the hermit crabs might have a hard time getting out. In some cases, hermit crabs might die because they will drown before they’re able to get out of the dish.

Shallow dishes must be deep enough so the hermit crabs can submerge themselves, though. They simply cannot be too deep or the crabs will be in danger.

Do your best to buy recommended shallow dishes for your hermit crabs. This will ensure that everything goes smoothly so you won’t need to worry about your hermit crab accidentally drowning.

How Often Should You Change the Water Dishes?

Changing the water dishes regularly is the best route to take. It wouldn’t be wise to wait a long time to change out the water in the dishes.

Firstly, it’s possible that the hermit crab will run out of water if you don’t pay attention. Secondly, you might allow the water to get too dirty if you don’t change it out, and that would be bad for your pet hermit crab.

The water in the shallow dishes is going to get dirty over time. There isn’t anything that you can do to prevent the water from getting dirty.

Hermit crabs will be getting in and out of the shallow dishes of water. They’ll track debris into the water as they do so.

Eventually, there will be quite a bit of sand and dirt in the water. If you don’t change it out, the water is going to get rather cloudy.

Your hermit crabs need clean water that they can drink and utilize as shell water. Dirty water is also going to start getting stinky after a while.

Check the condition of the water in the shallow water dishes frequently. This will allow you to see when it’s time to change the water out.

Stick to a daily schedule and everything is likely going to be fine. You’ll get used to doing daily hermit crab habitat maintenance anyway.

How Long Can Hermit Crabs Go Without Water?

You might take a little vacation sometimes and you’ll be away from home for several days. Will your hermit crabs die if they don’t have access to water?

It’s possible that they could. As you likely know, hermit crabs need to have access to water regularly.

They need water to keep their gills moist, and they also need to have drinking water. However, these creatures do keep an amount of water in their shells.

Under ideal conditions, hermit crabs can go without water for up to two weeks. This is because they carry water in their shells and can use it as necessary to stay alive.

However, if the conditions are dry and hot, it’s not going to be good. Hermit crabs will die within days when they don’t have access to water under such conditions.

It’s not smart to go on a trip without setting up some method to care for your hermit crabs. Ideally, you’d want to ask someone that you trust to change out their water dishes and feed them while you’re away.

Doing so will lessen the likelihood that something bad will happen. Of course, you’ll have to train the person that you ask for help so they will know to give the hermit crabs the right kind of water.

Otherwise, the crabs could be in danger due to being given chlorinated tap water. Keep this in mind before you make plans to take a trip away from home.

Keeping Multiple Hermit Crabs

Remember that hermit crabs are social creatures. They do better when kept in small groups.

It’s recommended to keep three or four hermit crabs in one habitat. This ensures that they can interact with others of their own kind and have fun.

When you keep more than one hermit crab in a habitat, it’s wise to have more shallow water dishes. This ensures that the crabs won’t have to fight over the water.

You don’t want to have only two dishes because it could keep crabs from being able to utilize water when they need it.

Simply be sure to have more shallow water dishes in the habitat when you have more crabs. So long as you make logical choices, it should be easy to keep your pet hermit crabs happy.

Final Thoughts

You now know that hermit crabs drink water by scooping it up with their claws. They can use either claw to scoop up the water.

Sometimes they scoop water up and it goes directly toward their mouths for drinking. Hermit crabs might also take water into their shells for later consumption or to keep their gills wet.

You have to do your best to provide land hermit crabs with both saltwater and freshwater. They usually drink freshwater, but they might also drink saltwater from time to time.

Never give hermit crabs tap water without dechlorinating it first. When making saltwater, you must use ocean salt and you have to avoid using iodized salt since it’s harmful to hermit crabs.

Keep all of this in mind and you’ll have an easy time caring for your crabs. Always ensure that your pet hermit crabs have enough water because it’s a crucial aspect of life for these creatures.

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