Taking care of hermit crabs should be something that will bring you a lot of joy. Many people find these pets to be great fun.
Keeping hermit crabs happy and healthy in your home takes a bit of effort. You need to look after them and make sure that they have a safe environment.
Sometimes hermit crabs might have to deal with problems. For example, mites could infest the hermit crab tank and get on your crab.
Mites can cause serious problems for hermit crabs. If you notice them, you need to get rid of them as soon as you can.
How can you get rid of mites on hermit crabs? Read on to learn exactly what you need to do.
Can Hermit Crab Mites Spread to Humans?
You might have heard that mites can negatively impact humans. This is true, and mites have the potential to pass diseases to animals and humans.
In countries such as the United States, human illnesses that are related to mites are very unusual. It’s not a common thing that people have to deal with.
Even so, mites can be rather annoying. They can cause you to itch, and you might even notice tiny bites on your body.
So when your hermit crab is dealing with mites, can those mites become problematic for you? Can hermit crabs mites spread to humans?
Yes, hermit crab mites can spread to humans. However, it’s not really a danger to you.
These types of mites are dangerous to hermit crabs, but they’re too small to do anything to you. They shouldn’t be able to bite you, and this means that they can’t spread diseases to humans.
They can attach themselves to your skin or your clothes, though. So you will want to take care of the hermit crab mite problem as soon as you can.
What Are Hermit Crab Mites?
Hermit crabs are known to attract mites. This can be a bit of a problem, but you can make things easier by keeping the tank clean.
You’ll learn a bit more about that later. For now, it’s important to know what the hermit crab mites are so you can have an easier time dealing with them.
Hermit crab habitats attract several different types of mites. So it’s not always going to be one specific type of mite.
A hermit crab habitat could deal with mites known as booklice. It’s also very common for food mites to bother hermit crabs.
Soil mites, moss mites, and antenna mites can be a problem. There are also mites that are specifically known as hermit crab mites.
Hermit crab mites are among the most dangerous for your crabs. They can live on hermit crabs and hermit crab shells.
Mites such as this can spread from crab to crab. You’re going to need to deal with this problem fast so your hermit crabs can stay safe.
Not All Mites Are Harmful
Many mites can cause significant problems for hermit crabs. Hermit crab mites are particularly harmful to hermit crabs.
However, there are some mites that aren’t that dangerous. Some are even completely harmless.
Wood mites and moss mites are not going to cause any harm to your crabs. So you can ignore mites such as this.
It’s understandable that you wouldn’t want to deal with these mites either. However, it’s good to know that they aren’t going to hurt your crab.
You can still take steps to reduce problems with mites. Cleaning the tank and trying to limit the likelihood that mites will be attracted to the habitat will make a difference.
What Causes Hermit Crab Mite Infestations?
Mites are naturally attracted to hermit crab habitats. Hermit crab habitats have high humidity and they’re also rather warm.
This alone is enough to make a hermit crab tank appealing to mites. When you add in the fact that hermit crab tanks contain food, they’re good spots for mites to thrive.
If you want to keep hermit crab mites from being a big issue, it’s important to keep the tank clean. If you do a better job of keeping the tank clean, it’ll be less likely that mites will become a serious issue.
This means doing some spot cleaning on a daily basis. You should remove fecal matter from the tank as well as any leftover food.
Leaving uneaten food in the tank is simply not a good idea. The high humidity levels in the tank make it easy for the food to spoil fast.
Many types of mites like to burrow inside spoiled food. Foods that are wet and have strong scents will attract mites more than dry food.
Removing the food from the tank and not letting it spoil will be for the best. You also need to make sure that you’re changing the water in the shallow water dishes often enough.
The water will get dirty and cloudy when you don’t change it. So changing the water and keeping the water dishes clean will be another aspect of deterring mites.
Getting Rid of Hermit Crab Mites
Getting rid of hermit crab mites isn’t that difficult. There are some things you should do to get started.
Take the hermit crabs out of your tank, and put them in a temporary habitat. You need to clean the hermit crab tank thoroughly.
Remove all of the substrate materials from the tank. Take any decorations or toys out of the tank, too.
Throw the sand away because you can just replace it later. You can boil gravel, rocks, decorations, and other such things.
Get rid of the sand by putting it in a plastic bag and tying it. Take it out of your home and put it in the trash can.
Now wipe the hermit crab habitat down using dechlorinated water. Don’t use cleaners because hermit crabs are very sensitive to chemicals.
You must use dechlorinated water and not standard tap water. Distilled water from the store will work fine as well.
Wipe the tank down thoroughly, and then vacuum the tank out. The vacuum is something that can suck up the mites and remove them from the tank.
Rinse the tank with dechlorinated water again, and then wipe things down with a dry cloth. Allow the tank to dry in the sun.
Boil the decorations, rocks, and gravel. Put new sand in the tank and then arrange everything as necessary.
Any replacement shells that were in the tank can also be boiled. Those can go back in the tank with the rocks and decorations.
Now you need to bathe the hermit crabs to get rid of the mites. Submerging the hermit crabs in a bowl of dechlorinated water should get rid of the mites.
You’re going to wash the crab as thoroughly as you can. Turning the crab over to get rid of air bubbles in the shell is for the best.
Room temperature dechlorinated water should get the job done. It might take a few dips for you to get rid of all of the mites.
Pour the water down your drain when you’re done. The hermit crabs should be okay now.
If necessary, you can get anti-mite medication from an exotic veterinarian. This medication can treat the hermit crabs and kill the mites if you’re still having issues.
This option works well when using dechlorinated water alone isn’t taking care of the mites. Sometimes this will be necessary, but usually just bathing the crabs is enough.
You should continue to check your crabs for mites. Use a magnifying glass to spot any mites.
Hopefully, there won’t be any more mites after you’ve bathed the crabs. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the vet if you need assistance.
Preventing Hermit Crab Mite Issues
Preventing hermit crab mite issues will really be about regular tank maintenance. You still might have issues with mites from time to time even if you’re doing everything right, though.
So you have to be alert and ready to react when mites appear. To start, you should put some effort into cleaning the tank.
Keep the hermit crab habitat as clean as you possibly can. Do your best to clean the tank a little bit each day.
If you can at least make an effort to clean the tank daily, it’ll help a lot. Remove leftover food as well as fecal matter.
Check the shallow water dishes each day to keep them clean. You need to replace the water every so often since it’ll get dirty and cloudy.
You should do bigger cleaning sessions each week in which you thoroughly clean the tank. Doing this should help to keep the tank as clean as possible.
It’s also wise to monitor your crabs and look for mites every so often. You might want to keep a magnifying glass near the hermit crab tank.
When you get a chance, use the magnifying glass to check the hermit crab’s body now and then. You can easily spot mites with a magnifying glass, but they can be tough to see with the naked eye.
Can Mites Kill Hermit Crabs?
You’ve learned that mites can be very annoying for hermit crabs. They make them uncomfortable, and it’s certainly not good for a hermit crab’s health.
Can mites actually kill hermit crabs if you don’t do anything to remove them? Or will it simply bother the hermit crabs?
Sadly, hermit crabs can indeed die if mite infestations go unchecked. If you do nothing and allow the mites to continue to bother the crabs, they’ll suffer.
It’s common for hermit crabs to become very stressed when dealing with mites. They might become so stressed that they will begin losing their legs.
Hermit crabs lose their legs when they’re dealing with very stressful situations. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the crab will die, but it could pass away if things aren’t taken care of.
Stress issues can kill hermit crabs over time. When you see a hermit crab lose a leg, it’s important to take the matter seriously.
You can’t ignore things, or your crab might wind up passing away. As soon as you notice mites, it’s best to start treatment.
Try to clean the tank and give the crab a dip in a bowl of dechlorinated water. You should never wait to treat the crab.
Do Hermit Crab Legs Grow Back?
If your hermit crab loses a leg due to dealing with mites, you’re going to be worried. This is especially true if you’re new to caring for these pets.
You might be worried that the leg will never come back. It can take some time for hermit crab legs to regrow, but they will indeed come back.
Hermit crabs are capable of regrowing both legs and claws. If a hermit crab loses a leg due to stress, it’ll regrow the leg so long as it gets healthy again.
If you can solve the mite issues, the hermit crab should be able to regrow its leg. It won’t happen right away, but it’ll regrow over a period of time.
These pets regrow limbs during molting sessions. It can take several molts for a hermit crab to regrow a leg or claw.
You’ve learned all that you need to know about hermit crab mites now. Issues with mites can be serious, and they might even kill your crab.
Hermit crab mites cause hermit crabs to go through a lot of stress. Stress can make hermit crabs lose their legs.
When you notice mites on your hermit crab’s body, it’s imperative to take action fast. You want to clean the tank and bathe your hermit crab to get rid of the mites.
In some cases, you might need to get anti-mite medication from an exotic veterinarian. Reach out if you’re having trouble getting rid of the mites.
Doing your best to keep the hermit crab tank clean can prevent issues with mites. At the very least, it’ll be less likely that mites will become a serious problem.
Knowing all of this will help you to do a better job as a hermit crab owner. You can take the right actions to protect your pet.
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.