Are Hermit Crabs Nocturnal? Do They Sleep All Day?


by Simon Griffiths


If you are going to keep hermit crabs as pets, you need to understand their behavior. Knowing what time they are active and when they prefer to be left alone will help create a lasting bond with your crab. Keep in mind that pet hermit crabs once lived in the wild and their bodily reactions to various stimuli should be respected. Knowing when your crab is active will help you know the right time to observe them.

So, are hermit crabs nocturnal? Absolutely! Hermit crabs are naturally nocturnal creatures regardless of their species. Even if you keep these crabs as pets, their day and night cycle won’t change. Most hermit crabs will be more active at night as opposed to during the day.

People who don’t understand that hermit crabs are nocturnal will often disturb these little creatures during the day. This is unacceptable as it will stress out the animal and deprive it of enough time to rest and sleep.

Let’s now address other questions that are related to the nocturnal nature of hermit crabs.


Are Hermit Crabs Nocturnal?

Hermit crabs are nocturnal animals, meaning they are not active during the night.  They are also crepuscular, which means they are most active during the twilight hours of dawn and dusk. Hermit crabs tend to be more active when it is cooler and less active when it is hot, so they may be more active during the cooler evening hours.

In the wild, hermit crabs are often found foraging for food, exploring their surroundings, and interacting with other hermit crabs during the day and early evening.

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Do Hermit Crabs Sleep?

Yes, hermit crabs also need to take a rest as is the case with most pets. Unlike us humans, hermit crabs will prefer to sleep or rest during the day. So if you are keen enough, you are more likely to catch your little crabs resting or taking a nap.

For your information, hermit crabs won’t have much going on during the day. They prefer hiding in their favorite spot which can either be on the hammock, hides, on the Cholla wood, or pretty much anywhere they feel safe.

How do you know if a hermit crab is sleeping? Lol! That’s an interesting question. First off, you can’t tell if your crab is sleeping by checking their eyes. What they do is retract into their shells and hide. Some crabs will even sleep as they hang from a hammock, branch, or another tank décor.

Each crab has its own way of sleeping, but what is common in all of them is that they won’t move a single inch. Hermit crabs will remain inactive until the light goes out.

How Many Hours Does A Hermit Crab Sleep?

Honestly, it is hard to tell how long a hermit crab sleeps. Some will tell you that they can sleep for up to 8 hours, but it is not true. For starters, some hermit crabs can stay hidden in their shells, but they are not necessarily sleeping. Other crabs will prefer to stay in their hides until it gets dark. My point is hermit crabs do not sleep all day! Being inactive does not mean they are asleep.

In fact, it is completely normal to find your hermit crabs doing a bit of climbing and exploring during the day. They might not do it a lot, but it is not strange for them to engage in some activities during the day.

Do Hermit Crabs Need Lights at Night?

Although hermit crabs are more active at night, they do not require any lights in their cages. Lights should be switched off at night in order to maintain a normal night and day cycle. If you leave the lights on, you will risk interrupting the cycle and even causing stress to your hermit crab.

Mind you, these special crabs can see perfectly even when the light are off. Just leave your hermit crabs to do their thing without disturbing them with unnecessary lighting. Our article on what hermit crabs need has covered everything about their requirements.

What Do Hermit Crabs Do At Night?

Now that hermit crabs tend to go crazy at night, what exactly do they do? Well, they will do everything except take a nap. Most hermit crabs will spend their nighttime foraging and scavenging for food. Once they are full, they will explore their habitat, climb on toys, play with each other, clean themselves, drink water, check out new shells, and burrow.

So, before you retire to bed, make sure you’ve replenished their water reserves and placed fresh food in their dish. This way, your hermit crabs will have everything they need to survive the night.

Related Do Hermit Crabs Hibernate When It’s Cold or Do They Brumate?

Wrapping up

There you have it guys! You now know why your hermit crabs are always hiding during the day. The best time to bond with them is at night when they are most active. I know it doesn’t sound good for a pet, but that’s just how hermit crabs are.



Simon Griffiths

Hi guys, my name is Simon, a fellow pet lover. I love everything about traditional and exotic pets so I am here to help you create a better home for your pets.