Keeping hermit crabs as pets is starting to become more commonplace. Many people see these fun little pets as ideal.
They don’t take up a lot of space and they’re not that hard to care for overall. Of course, they do still have care needs.
To keep your hermit crabs alive and healthy, it’s important to make sure that the tank stays humid. Also, the tank needs to be warm enough.
If the hermit crab habitat gets too cool it won’t be good for the crab. Does this mean that you need a heater in order to keep hermit crabs in your home?
Can you keep hermit crabs warm without a heater? Read on to learn more about this topic.
Are Hermit Crabs Cold-Blooded?
Yes, hermit crabs are invertebrates that are cold-blooded. This means that they rely on the temperature around them to stay warm.
They can’t regulate their body temperature in the same way that warm-blooded creatures can. This is why it’s so important for hermit crabs to be kept in warm environments.
In the wild, these creatures live in warm places. They live near beaches and they never stray far from the shore.
If the hermit crab habitat is too cold, they’re going to have a hard time staying alive. This can be very problematic in the winter if you’re not using some type of heater.
How Cold Can Hermit Crabs Get?
Hermit crabs need to stay pretty warm to remain in good health. As mentioned above, they live in warm places when found in the wild.
To keep a hermit crab healthy, the temperature must stay between 72 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If things get cooler than this, it’ll be bad for the crab.
When hermit crabs are exposed to cool temperatures they experience many problems. If the temperature is just a bit too cool, you might not notice anything right away.
However, you’ll start to see that the hermit crab will become weak over time. It’ll become stressed and it’ll start to get sick.
Such problems will be more pronounced if the temperature is way too cold. It’s possible that the hermit crab might die if you expose it to very cold temperatures.
If the temperature ever dips below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, the hermit crab will likely die. Keep this in mind and do your best to keep the temperature slightly above 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Can Hermit Crabs Get Too Hot?
Yes, hermit crabs can indeed get too hot. Above, you learned that the appropriate temperature range for hermit crabs is between 72 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
There’s a reason why the temperature isn’t supposed to go above 80. You see, hermit crabs can dry out when they’re exposed to hot weather.
Temperatures in the mid-80s or low-90s will be dangerous for hermit crabs. They can easily dry out in such hot weather, and this is why you need to protect your pet crabs.
Generally, your home isn’t going to get that hot. Most people keep their homes between 68 degrees Fahrenheit and 75 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer.
However, you do need to be mindful of the position of the tank. If the hermit crab’s habitat is placed in direct sunlight, it might get too hot for the crab.
There are other reasons why direct sunlight will be bad, but just focus on the temperature. Your crabs can get too hot, and it won’t be good for them if they do.
Hermit crabs have modified gills that can breathe oxygen. These gills must stay moist so the crabs can breathe.
Hot weather dries them out, and it makes it so that they will have a tough time breathing. It’s just another reason to carefully monitor the temperature in the hermit crab’s habitat.
How to Keep Hermit Crabs Warm in Winter
It makes sense that you’d need to take steps to keep hermit crabs warm during the winter. What can you do to protect your pets?
You have some options even if you don’t want to use a heater. Depending on how cold it is, you might find some options to be better than others.
1 – Use a Heat Lamp
Using a heat lamp is honestly not that different from using a heater. It’s easy to warm the entire hermit crab habitat using heat lamps, but you do need to be careful.
You can easily make things too hot in the habitat if you don’t mount the heat lamp properly. The heat lamp needs to be far enough away from the tank so that it won’t be detrimental.
It’s best to use a heat lamp in conjunction with a thermometer. This should allow you to easily keep an eye on the temperature in the tank.
If your home gets cool in the winter, it’s best to use something like a heat lamp or a heater. There are other options to consider, but this might be the easiest one.
2 – Spray Warm Water
Simply spraying warm water can help to raise the temperature in the tank. Many people mist hermit crab tanks in an effort to raise the humidity.
Spraying warm water is a way that you can raise the humidity and the temperature at the same time. Appropriate humidity levels in the tank should help to keep things relatively warm, too.
This can be something that you do regularly to keep the temperature warm enough. If you don’t have a heater, you might need to do this fairly often.
3 – Use a Humidifier
Using a humidifier is pretty much a requirement when caring for hermit crabs. Hermit crabs cannot survive unless the environment is humid enough.
Most people use humidifiers or foggers to keep hermit crab tanks nice and humid. Running a humidifier in the tank will also help to keep it warm.
You can use a warm air humidifier in the hermit crab habitat. This should do a solid job of keeping the tank warm.
Some humidifiers heat water so they can create humidity. It’ll help your crab to stay safe even if you’re not using a traditional heater.
4 – Try Moving the Tank to a Better Spot
Moving the tank to a better spot in the house might be necessary. Perhaps the hermit crab habitat is located in a part of your house that is far too cool.
For instance, the tank might be close to a drafty window. If you put it in an area where the house stays warmer, it’ll be easier to keep the habitat in the right temperature range.
You might need to play around with the position of the tank for a little bit. Take the time to figure it out so you can get good results.
It’s better to have the tank in a position that stays warmer. It simply makes your job of keeping the hermit crabs warm a lot easier.
This would be true even if you were using a heater of some sort. It’s never wise to put your hermit crab tank in a spot that’s drafty or cold.
5 – Insulating the Tank
Insulating the tank is another thing that can be done to keep it warm. You’ll need to wrap towels around the tank so you can trap the heat inside.
It should allow the temperature in the tank to remain steady. You might wish to pair this with other methods such as misting the tank with warm water.
Of course, it’d be better to use something like a heat lamp. If you don’t have that luxury right now, you can try using this insulation method to the fullest.
6 – Make Use of Hand Warmers
Many people say that using hand warmers can help to keep hermit crabs warm. In the absence of a heater, this can be a helpful little trick.
Use the hand warmers and make them start to warm up. Once they’re warming, you can place them in the tank.
The warmers will begin to warm the habitat for you. It might be good to combine this method with the insulation idea mentioned above.
It’ll make the hand warmers much more effective if you place them in an insulated tank. You should be able to keep the crabs warm with this.
7 – Try Putting More Sand in the Tank
Giving the hermit crabs more sand can help them to stay warm, too. Hermit crabs can dig into the sand and bury themselves to stay warm.
So adding an extra inch or two of sand might be beneficial. This might not be something that will completely solve things for you, though.
It’s just something that can help the hermit crabs to stay a little warmer. You must keep a certain amount of sand in the tank for hermit crabs no matter what, but a bit extra can also be good.
Are Heating Rocks Safe?
You might have heard some people recommending heating rocks as an option. Are heating rocks safe to use in hermit crab tanks?
No, they’re not going to be appropriate for hermit crab habitats. These heating rocks can do a good job of heating some animal habitats, but they’re a bit dangerous for hermit crabs.
They heat up one area quite a bit, and hermit crabs might get hurt if they get close to the heating rocks. There have been situations where hermit crabs have burned their legs by walking near them or in the areas that have been heated by them.
So you should look for better options to keep things safe. You don’t need to use heating rocks in a hermit crab tank.
Buying a Heater Is Wise
Buying a heater for the hermit crab habitat is wise. There really isn’t a good reason to avoid buying a heater for the tank.
You need to keep the habitat safe for the hermit crabs. Without a heater, it’ll be hard to maintain a consistent temperature.
A heating lamp is a suitable substitute, but outside of that, simply relying on the methods mentioned above will be somewhat dangerous. You might have a tough time consistently keeping the temperature above 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Using a heater allows you to keep the temperature in the right range. You can set the temperature where it needs to be without it being an issue.
There are many types of heaters that you can use, too. Some heaters will cling to the side of the tank while others are meant to attach to the underside of the tank.
You can purchase a hermit crab heater without breaking the bank. It’s easy to get what you need at a local pet store, but you can also buy heaters online.
You should have a much better idea of how to keep your hermit crabs warm now. Not having a heater has the potential to be a dangerous situation for your pet hermit crabs.
It’s imperative to keep the tank warm enough for them. These crabs will get sick if the temperature dips below 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
They can even die when exposed to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The easiest thing to do is to use a heater to keep your hermit crabs safe, but if this isn’t an option, you can try keeping them warm in other ways.
You could use a heat lamp to keep the tank warm. It’s easy to go overboard when using a heat lamp and fry your crabs, but you can get good results by positioning the heat lamp far enough away.
Some might prefer misting the tank with warm water. This can raise the humidity and help to keep the tank fairly warm.
Using a warm mist humidifier can help, too. It’ll help to keep the habitat much warmer and it’ll solve humidity issues.
Insulating the tank is an option when you’re in a pinch. You could warm the crabs by throwing hand warmers in the tank, too.
What is going to work best will come down to your situation. Do your best to use a heater if you can, and use other methods to keep the crabs warm until you can procure a proper heater or a heat lamp.
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.