Do Hermit Crabs Poop? How Do They Do It?


by Simon Griffiths


A hermit crab is always in its shell. And this makes people wonder – Do hermit crabs poop?

That’s what this post is about.


Do hermit crabs poop?

Yes! Any living organism that feeds must excrete one way or another. The same thing can be said for hermit crabs. I know you might not have witnessed a hermit crab defecate, but they do poop

As you well know, the abdomen and tail of a hermit crab is always tucked away in the shell. This means it’s difficult to see a hermit crab poop. Besides, a hermit crab’s poop is small and cannot be seen until the crab flicks the waste out of the shell.

Sometimes it is hard to see your crab’s poop because its color allows it to blend in with the substrate. Anyway, your hermit crab should poop often as long as it is healthy and feeding well.

Related  List of Foods That Hermit Crabs Can Eat

Yes, we’ve mentioned that hermit crabs poop, but how do they do it? This is a common question among crab owners and people who are fascinated by these small creatures.

How Do Hermit Crabs Poop?

Well, a hermit crab has its anus located at the end of its tail. Unfortunately, you can’t see it as the tail is always tucked in the shell. The crab will comfortably defecate in the shell as it rarely gets out unless it finds a better shell. The poop will remain in the shell until the hermit crab pushes it out with the help of its pereopods. Its poop can also be washed away from the shell as the crab is taking a swim.

There is no way you’ll see your crab pooping as its anus is always hidden in the shell. So, don’t expect the crab to leave its shell in order to “chop a log”. It will always poop in the shell and find a way to get rid of the feces.

Related How Do You Remove A Hermit Crab From Its Shell and Is It Safe?

What Does Hermit Crab Poop Look Like?

If you don’t have an idea of how hermit crab poop looks like, then you assume that they don’t defecate.

In most cases, hermit crab poop has a sausage shape and it tends to be tiny. Besides, the crab’s poop is black or brown in color. The size of the droppings will differ depending on the size of your hermit crab. Large hermit crabs might have big droppings as compared to small crabs.

Also, note that the color of your hermit crab’s poop might change depending on what he or she ate last. If she eats carrots, then the poop might have an orange color.

You can find your crab’s droppings in specific spots. They like to leave their poop in the water dish, food dish, or under their hides. At least hermit crabs are clean and they don’t leave their droppings everywhere.

Some hermit crabs will prefer to empty their poop in empty shells or in moss pits. These little guys are intelligent and will always choose a specific spot to empty their poop.

Related What Are Safe Fruits That A Hermit Crab Can Eat

Cleaning Your Hermit Crab’s Poop

Everyone wants their pet hermit crabs to be happy and that is why you should clean their tanks often. You should not leave their poop lying around the tank. No animal wants to stay where they poop.

If you can see where your hermit crab leaves his or her poop, why not scoop it? You just need to pick the dropping with a spoon or with your fingers.

Unfortunately, spot cleaning is only possible when the poop is visible. If you are using Eco Earth substrate, spot cleaning won’t be an option.

I would recommend you to spot-clean your crab’s tank once a week. During this time your crab will have accumulated enough poop in his favorite spot.

Related Do Hermit Crabs Smell Bad and What Causes Odor In The Tank?  

For those whose crabs like emptying their poop in shells, you will have an easy time cleaning after them. All you have to do is pick up the empty shells and clean them. You can simply shake the poop out over a trash can and then dip the shells in boiling water.

In case you are using an Eco Earth substrate, you’ll have to replace it after three months. Hermit crab poop blends in so well with this sub, meaning it’s difficult to spot the poop. Fortunately, EE does a good job when it comes to breaking down poop.

Replacing substrate requires some bit of planning because you’ll have to move the crabs and the décor as well. Remember to clean the inside of your tank after you get rid of the old substrate.

Once this is done, pour the new substrate and set up the tank with the dishes, plants, décor, and shells.

Related The Best Substrates For A Hermit Crab Tank

Wrapping Up

Now you know that hermit crabs also poop, but they have to do it inside their shells. Sounds gross but that’s how these small critters are. Anyway, you won’t have to worry about them as they have a mechanism for getting rid of the poop from the shell.

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.