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How Long Can Hermit Crabs Go Without Water? (Land and Marine Hermit Crabs)

How Long Can Hermit Crabs Go Without Water? (Land and 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.

Have you recently started caring for a pet hermit crab? Overall, these pets aren’t too difficult to care for.

They still have care needs, though. You’ll have to ensure that your new pet has everything it needs to thrive so it can stay in good health.

You might be curious about how much water your hermit crab needs. Does it need lots of drinking water?

How long can hermit crabs go without water anyway? Continue reading to get this question answered and more.

Can Hermit Crabs Live Out of Water?

There are many different types of hermit crabs out there that you might be interested in. In case you don’t know, not all hermit crabs live in the water.

You’ll find that there are land hermit crabs and marine hermit crabs. Marine hermit crabs are the ones that spend their lives in the water.

Land hermit crabs have modified gills that allow them to live on land. They can’t live in the water because they would drown.

It is the land hermit crabs that are commonly kept as pets in terrariums. Marine hermit crabs are commonly kept in aquariums with certain types of fish.

You can see many land hermit crabs being sold in pet stores. They’ve become ubiquitous in North American pet stores over the last decade.

Marine Hermit Crabs Can’t Go Without Water

Marine hermit crabs spend their whole lives underwater. They won’t be able to survive for long outside of the water.

It’s technically possible for marine hermit crabs to live outside of water for a little bit of time. Much like land hermit crabs, they can breathe a bit so long as their gills remain moist.

However, these hermit crabs haven’t adapted to life on land in the same way that land hermit crabs have. The amount of time that a marine hermit crab can live outside the water is very short.

So these hermit crabs cannot live outside the water permanently. They can’t even stay alive for very long once they leave the water.

Never try to take a marine hermit crab out of the tank to see what happens. Doing that would be cruel.

Land Hermit Crabs Also Need Water

Of course, land hermit crabs also need water. As you’ve heard, land hermit crabs have modified gills that allow them to breathe oxygen.

They live on land, but they can only breathe in environments that have enough humidity. The moisture in the air keeps land hermit crabs’ gills moist, and this allows them to breathe properly.

Therefore, these creatures require humid environments that will help them to survive. It’s why they live in areas that are rather humid in the wild.

These creatures also have the ability to store water in their shells. They use this water to help keep their gills hydrated.

As you can tell, water is very important to hermit crabs. Without water, hermit crabs wouldn’t be able to survive.

How Long Will Land Hermit Crabs Live Without Access to Water?

Land hermit crabs will live for longer than you might expect without access to water. They do indeed need water to breathe and keep their gills wet.

If a hermit crab has water stored in its shell, it should be able to last for a while if it runs out of water. In some cases, a hermit crab might stay alive for two weeks without access to water.

This is assuming that the hermit crab is living in a humid environment that has the right temperature. If the conditions are less than ideal, the hermit crab won’t likely live this long.

For example, if the weather is extremely hot, it’s likely that the hermit crab would only survive for a few days at best. In a hermit crab habitat where the conditions are monitored, the hermit crab would do a lot better.

How Long Can Marine Hermit Crabs Survive Outside of Water?

Marine hermit crabs can survive outside of water for only a little bit. They can’t store water in their shells to hydrate their gills like land hermit crabs can.

As such, their gills will dry out within a matter of minutes. Typically, marine hermit crabs will only live for a few minutes outside of water.

In some ways, it’s similar to a human diving into a body of water. Humans cannot breathe underwater and can only last for so many minutes without breathing.

Think of a marine hermit crab going onto land the same way you do a human going underwater. It’s like the hermit crab is holding its breath and it’s not going to be able to keep doing that for too long.

Land Hermit Crabs Should Have Constant Access to Water

When caring for land hermit crabs, you should give them constant access to water. These pets need to have access to both freshwater and saltwater.

There should be two shallow dishes of water in the habitat that the hermit crab can utilize. One dish of water will contain freshwater and the other will contain saltwater.

Hermit crabs need to be able to fully submerge themselves in the water. However, the water dishes should be too deep because land hermit crabs can drown.

Shallow dishes are safest because hermit crabs should be able to easily step out and back onto the sand. Make sure that you use appropriate water dishes to keep your hermit crabs safe.

When land hermit crabs have access to water, they can use it as necessary. They’ll drink the water, store water in their shells, and generally do whatever else is necessary.

How Do You Transport Marine Hermit Crabs?

Since marine hermit crabs can’t live outside of the water for very long, you might be wondering how you transport them. When you buy one of these hermit crabs from the store, how do you get them home?

Marine hermit crabs are actually treated like fish. You’ll often be given a plastic bag full of water that contains the marine hermit crab.

This bag of water will be fine for the crab until you can get it back to your home. Once you’re home, you’ll be able to open the bag of water and place the hermit crab in a proper fish tank.

Generally, marine hermit crabs are meant to be kept in 10-gallon fish tanks or something larger. You should have a good time keeping marine hermit crabs in your tank so long as you get the water parameters right.

Before buying a marine hermit crab, make sure that it’s compatible with whatever fish you already own. Many people put marine hermit crabs in community tanks, but you don’t want to put them in aquariums with incompatible fish.

Final Thoughts

Hermit crabs shouldn’t have to go for a long time without water. Whether you’re talking about land hermit crabs or marine hermit crabs, it’s clear that water is important to them.

Both types of hermit crabs need water to keep on living. Land hermit crabs need access to water so they can keep their gills moist.

Without water, the hermit crab wouldn’t be able to breathe properly. It can go for up to two weeks without access to water under ideal conditions.

Marine hermit crabs live in the water and they can only survive for a few minutes outside of water. You shouldn’t take marine hermit crabs out of the water at all.

Now that you know this, you should better understand the need to give pet hermit crabs constant access to water. Land hermit crabs should have shallow dishes of water that they can utilize as necessary.

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