Hermit crabs are among the most interesting exotic pets that you can buy. Lots of people are starting to get interested in these fun creatures.
They are so intriguing that many people love observing them. If you choose to buy hermit crabs as pets, it’ll be fun to watch them interact with each other.
You can buy hermit crabs at most pet stores these days. If you’re not sure whether they’re right for you yet, perhaps learning some interesting facts about them will pique your interest.
Keep reading to learn about many hermit crab facts. This information should make you appreciate hermit crabs that much more.
How Many Legs Do Hermit Crabs Have?
When you picture hermit crabs in your mind, one of the first things that you’ll think about will be the legs. You can easily see the hermit crab’s legs sticking out of its shell.
How many legs do hermit crabs have, exactly? They actually have ten legs.
The legs serve different purposes. The first set of legs will be very easy to notice because this set contains claws.
Hermit crabs use their claws to defend themselves and also for climbing. The left claw is noticeably bigger than the right claw.
These crabs use their second and third pairs of legs to walk and get around. Interestingly, the fourth pair of legs is entirely dedicated to holding onto the shell and maneuvering it as necessary.
The fifth and final pair of legs is used for shell maintenance. As you can tell, each set of legs serves an important purpose.
Can Hermit Crabs Regrow Legs?
Sometimes hermit crabs will lose limbs while fighting. Hermit crabs might fight each other over shells, and sometimes, this will result in one crab losing a leg.
When this occurs, the hermit crab isn’t doomed to live out the rest of its days without some of its legs. It can regrow the legs over time.
Hermit crabs molt every once in a while. This is something that happens when the hermit crabs are growing.
During this time, the crabs will grow a new exoskeleton. They can also regrow legs, but it might take several molting periods to fully regrow a leg.
Claws can also be regrown if they have been lost. If your pet hermit crab ever loses a leg, take it seriously because this can happen due to stress.
You don’t want your hermit crab to be stressed. Even if these creatures can regrow their legs, it’s not a good sign to see them in such a state.
Do Hermit Crabs Pee and Poop?
Yes, hermit crabs do, indeed, pee and poop. The way that hermit crabs pee is sort of unusual.
The pee comes from behind the antenna area. They use their antennal glands to pee, and those are located rather close to the eyes.
Pooping is a lot more normal by comparison. Hermit crabs poop out of their anus, which is known as the telson.
They poop inside their shells, but the poop doesn’t stay there. The hermit crabs will use their legs to push the poop out of the shell.
So you’ll generally see hermit crab feces on the sand somewhere in the tank. They remove fecal waste from their shells every day or so.
You don’t have to worry about the hermit crabs getting their shells too dirty. They regularly submerge themselves in water to clean their shells.
Typically, hermit crab poop will be either dark brown or black. It’ll be shaped like a sausage, and sometimes it’ll be curled.
Surprisingly, hermit crab excrement doesn’t have much of a smell. Even so, you should clean it up when you see it in the tank so that everything stays tidy.
Are Hermit Crabs Nocturnal?
Hermit crabs are nocturnal creatures. They are more active during the evening and nighttime hours.
During the day, hermit crabs will sleep or hide. It’s common for hermit crabs to sleep for around eight hours per day.
These creatures have a good reason not to stay out during the day. They need to stay moist so they can breathe properly.
The sunlight dries them out, and it makes sense that they would want to stay out of direct sunlight. Plus, hermit crabs live in tropical areas near beaches, and those spots can get very bright during the peak hours of the day.
In a tank setting, you should try to maintain a normal day and night cycle for the crabs. It’s said that this is the healthiest choice to make.
Can Hermit Crabs See in the Dark?
Since hermit crabs have compound eyes, they’re very good at seeing in the dark. They can get around just fine in the dark.
The types of eyes that these creatures possess are made up of tiny individual eyes. There are thousands of these tiny eyes, known as ommatidia, and they’re able to make the most use of any available light, even in places where it’s very dark.
So hermit crabs see very well in the dark. It makes sense that they would be able to since they’re nocturnal.
You’ll find hermit crabs combing beaches and looking for food during the nighttime hours. They can see so well that they can even detect predator threats easily.
Hermit crabs don’t have great vision in a traditional sense, though. They just have good eyesight based on their needs.
They can’t make out fine details with the type of sight that they possess. Their sight is designed to work best at night and help them to detect incoming threats from predators.
Are Hermit Crabs Reptiles?
No, hermit crabs are not reptiles. These pets are often kept in terrariums, and sometimes you might buy the same type of equipment that you would for reptiles when caring for them.
For instance, it’s common for people to buy humidifiers and foggers that are also used for reptile terrariums. Hermit crabs aren’t reptiles, though.
Are Hermit Crabs Amphibians?
No, hermit crabs aren’t classified as amphibians either. Some people mistakenly think that they might be since some hermit crabs can live in the water while others live on land.
Hermit crabs aren’t amphibians. They’re a completely different species.
Are Hermit Crabs Crustaceans?
Yes, hermit crabs are considered to be crustaceans. They’re classified as crustaceans because they have segmented bodies, and they also have exoskeletons.
Are Hermit Crabs Invertebrates?
Hermit crabs are also considered to be invertebrates. This is a classification of animals that do not possess a backbone.
These creatures don’t have traditional backbones or spines. They have exoskeletons that can support their bodies, but this only gives hermit crabs limited protection.
Are Hermit Crabs Mollusks?
No, hermit crabs are not classified as mollusks. They do utilize shells that have been left behind by mollusks, though.
Hermit crabs occupy shells that have been left behind by dead mollusks. For example, it’s common for hermit crabs to occupy shells that used to belong to sea snails.
These creatures need the protection of these shells, but they cannot grow their own shells. They rely on finding shells that have been discarded by mollusks.
Without the protection of a shell, hermit crabs would be vulnerable to predators. A hermit crab’s exoskeleton provides only limited protection.
The exoskeleton isn’t so hard that it can truly protect the hermit crab. Using the shell makes up for this weakness and allows the hermit crab to evade predators in many interesting ways.
Are Hermit Crabs Mammals?
No, as mentioned earlier, hermit crabs are classified as crustaceans. The fact that they can live on land doesn’t make them mammals.
Why Are Hermit Crabs Called Hermit Crabs?
If you think that hermit crabs are called hermit crabs because they enjoy solitude, you’d be wrong. Hermit crabs are actually social creatures who interact with each other and live in communities.
You aren’t even supposed to keep hermit crabs by themselves. Hermit crabs can die of loneliness if they’re forced to live in a tank alone.
So you’re meant to keep hermit crabs in pairs or small groups. The hermit part of the name isn’t really that accurate.
It does make sense why they were named hermit crabs, though. You see, hermit crabs received their name because they spend their lives inside of shells.
Hermit crabs find shells that have been left behind by dead mollusks. They will also hide inside the shells when they’re threatened.
The hermit crab’s tendency to retreat inside its shell is the reason for the name. It doesn’t have anything to do with the hermit crabs not being social.
Where Do Hermit Crabs Come From?
There are so many different types of hermit crabs. As of now, there are over 500 different known hermit crab species.
Many hermit crabs are considered to be marine hermit crabs. These are hermit crabs that can breathe underwater.
They spend their days in the ocean. Land hermit crabs are a bit different.
Land hermit crabs can breathe on land, and they can be found in tropical regions of the world. They live in places such as the Caribbean, Australia, South America, and Africa.
Some hermit crabs can even be found in Asia. Generally, hermit crabs live in warm places with beaches.
They never stray too far from the shore. This is because both water and sand are important for hermit crabs.
Can Hermit Crabs Hear?
Yes, hermit crabs can hear, but they don’t have an amazing sense of hearing. Scientists have proven that hermit crabs can hear low to mid-range sound frequencies when they’re close enough.
They can detect sounds and vibrations, though. Hermit crabs don’t hear audible sounds in the same way that humans do.
For hermit crabs, hearing is something that they use to detect threats, get around, and do other practical things. They simply don’t have advanced hearing like humans.
Do Hermit Crabs Have Ears?
No, hermit crabs don’t have ears. The way that they are able to perceive sound is different.
Hermit crabs use their antennae and legs to perceive sound. They can pick up sounds via vibrations.
Do Hermit Crabs Like Music?
Sadly, hermit crabs likely won’t appreciate the music that you’re playing in your home. There isn’t any evidence to support the claim that hermit crabs like music.
Some people have noted that hermit crabs seem to dislike loud noises, though. So there’s a greater chance that hermit crabs would hate music than there is that they would enjoy it.
Very loud sounds seem to cause hermit crabs stress. Stress can cause hermit crabs to feel unwell, and it might cause them to lose their legs in extreme circumstances.
There’s no reason to play music for your pet hermit crabs. They aren’t going to enjoy it, and they don’t have fantastic hearing anyway.
Can Hermit Crabs Smell?
Yes, hermit crabs have a great sense of smell. The sense of smell is actually one of the most important senses for hermit crabs.
They use their ability to smell to detect food. It also helps them to recognize threats that might be close.
Hermit crabs can smell by using their inner antennae. The inner antennae are covered by many different hairs that allow them to smell.
The crabs can flick the antennae to smell the air. They can also touch them to the ground to smell the dirt.
Can Hermit Crabs Recognize Faces?
When you buy hermit crabs as pets, are they going to learn to recognize your face? These creatures don’t have sight that’s good enough to make out small details.
So they won’t be able to recognize their owners based on how they look. This doesn’t mean that they can’t recognize people at all, though.
Hermit crabs can learn to recognize their owners. There are a few ways that they can learn to recognize you over time.
It’s said that hermit crabs can recognize their owners based on the cadence of their voice. So when you speak, the hermit crab can learn to recognize that it’s you.
Hermit crabs are also capable of detecting your scent. A hermit crab will commit your scent to memory and learn to recognize you via your scent when you walk into the room.
How Far Can a Hermit Crab Travel in a Day?
Wild hermit crabs can get around pretty well. Sometimes wild hermit crabs will travel looking for food and other things that it needs to survive.
A wild hermit crab could travel as far as four miles in just one day. It shouldn’t be able to travel too much further than that during one day, though.
Keep in mind that hermit crabs are nocturnal. They’re active at night, and they sleep during the day.
So the hermit crab would be traveling during the night. The fact that hermit crabs can travel this far during the day doesn’t mean that they will travel that far.
How Often Do Hermit Crabs Molt?
Molting is something that hermit crabs have to do every so often. As hermit crabs grow, they’re going to need to molt.
They molt so that they can grow new exoskeletons. The exoskeleton does not grow along with the rest of the hermit crab’s body.
So the hermit crab has to shed the exoskeleton and grow a new one. This happens during the molting process.
An adult hermit crab will molt every twelve to eighteen months. Juvenile hermit crabs will molt a bit more frequently until they have reached adulthood.
When Do Hermit Crabs Leave Their Shells?
It’s not normal for hermit crabs to leave their shells. They usually stay inside their shells because that’s how they stay safe.
There are only a few reasons why a hermit crab will leave its shell. It might leave its shell if it gets very hot and it needs to cool off.
Getting too hot is dangerous for hermit crabs. It can cause them to dry out, and that will prevent them from breathing normally.
Hermit crabs will leave their shells when they’re moving to a new shell. They quickly scurry to the new shell and try it out to see if it’s a good fit.
Even during mating, hermit crabs only partially leave their shells. Both hermit crabs will leave their shells just enough to be able to mate.
How Long Do Hermit Crabs Live?
Hermit crabs can live for quite a long time. Granted, there are differences based on the types of hermit crabs that you’re talking about.
Many types of wild hermit crabs can live to be up to thirty years old. Some even live to be forty years old.
These creatures don’t live nearly that long in captivity. Some can live for decades in captivity, but many will die much sooner than that.
If you care for hermit crabs very well, they can live for a long time. A pet hermit crab might live for fifteen years under some circumstances.
There are hermit crabs that have shorter lives as well. Some may only live between five and seven years, so it’s best to look up information based on the hermit crabs that you’re interested in.
Do Hermit Crabs Fight?
Sometimes hermit crabs will fight each other. Usually, hermit crabs fight each other over shells.
If you have two hermit crabs in a tank and they’re fighting, there’s a good chance that it involves a dispute over shell ownership. Hermit crabs see shells as a precious commodity.
To keep fighting to a minimum, it’s best to have many replacement shells in the tank. Also, you should have multiple shells of each size.
This makes it so the hermit crabs don’t really have a reason to fight. It should help to keep the peace in the tank.
Why Do Hermit Crabs Chirp?
Chirping is something that you’ll hear hermit crabs do sometimes. The chirping noises that they make can be seen as a form of communication.
You might hear the hermit crabs chirping at each other. It’s surmised that hermit crabs chirp to tell each other things.
Chirping is sometimes an aggressive way of communicating, too. For example, a hermit crab might chirp to indicate its displeasure with another hermit crab if it is bothering it.
These creatures might chirp toward you as well. This usually happens when the hermit crab feels threatened by something that you’re doing.
How Often Do Hermit Crabs Need to Eat?
In captivity, you only need to feed hermit crabs once per day. Since they’re nocturnal, they like to eat at night.
Once per night, you should give your hermit crab some food. Most people feed hermit crabs special pellets that can be purchased from the pet store.
You need to supplement their diet and give them other stuff as well. They get bored if they just eat pellets all the time.
It’s common for people to feed hermit crabs veggies and fruits. You just need to wash them first using distilled water.
Are Hermit Crabs Sensitive to Chemicals?
Hermit crabs are incredibly sensitive to chemicals. Exposure to chemicals has the potential to kill these little pets.
This is why you cannot use standard cleaners to clean a hermit crab’s tank. The chemicals in the cleaning solutions might kill your crabs.
Even tap water is dangerous to hermit crabs. Tap water contains chlorine and other chemicals.
So you have to use distilled water for hermit crabs, or you need to dechlorinate the tap water. Chlorine will suffocate your hermit crab, and you certainly don’t want that.
Knowing all of these hermit crab facts should help you out. You know much more about hermit crabs now.
These creatures are popular pets for a reason. They’re endlessly fascinating, and they can also be great fun to care for.
If you want to buy hermit crabs as pets, it’s best to look into the various types of land hermit crabs. Try to get hermit crabs that will be appealing to you and won’t break the bank.
You can easily find hermit crabs being sold at local pet stores. Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need advice about what to get for your new hermit crab tank.
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.