Is A Hermit Crab An Omnivore Or A Carnivore?


by Simon Griffiths


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Hermit crabs are a species of crab found all over the world, popularly known for using shells of other crustaceans because they do not have their own. They switch shells whenever they become too big for them and leave them for another hermit crab to benefit.

Amongst all the other crabs, hermit crabs are the ones most preferred as pets by people.


What is a hermit crabs’ diet?

Hermit crabs are omnivorous scavengers. This means they love to eat meat and plant matter, as well as dead and decaying animals. Their two front claws are called chelipeds, and one of them is bigger than the other. They use chelipeds to tear apart the food and the smaller one is used to guide the food into their mouths. They do not have teeth but use their several mouthparts to grind their food.

Their diet mostly consists of calcium rich foods, proteins, some carbohydrates, saltwater, freshwater, fruits and nuts. 

Some examples of protein include eggs, tuna and beef. Some fruits and plant based foods  they enjoy include bananas, apples, papaya, carrots, zucchini, kale, seaweed and algae.

In the wild they love to prey on fish, worms and plankton. They are not safe from predators too, since they are fed on by fellow sea creatures and birds. Some of their predators include sharks, larger crabs, cuttlefish,clingfish, snailfish, gunnels, crows and gunnels.

Fun Fact!
Interestingly enough, some hermit crabs have been found to have cannibalistic tendencies. A zoologist from Michigan State University and a hermit crab expert from University of Michigan noticed that some species of hermit crab do not mind eating their own when they die. He also noticed that some of them would shy away from eating their own species, but would not mind eating other closely related species.,the%20flesh%20of%20former%20neighbors


Are all hermit crabs omnivorous?

Some hermit crab species are carnivorous while others are strictly herbivores. Most of them however, have been found to be omnivorous.

Are jellyfish omnivores?

Jellyfish are mostly carnivorous eating smaller fish, fish larvae and eggs and other small crustaceans. In the early stages of life they will mostly feed on plant material in the ocean. They do not eat these organisms when they are dead. They catch their prey and kill them by stinging them before eating.

Is commercial food harmful for hermit crabs?

Commercial food is widely discouraged for pet hermit crabs because there is suspected high levels of chemicals in the food. Before buying commercial food for them, make sure you do a lot of research but it is better to stick to natural foods for them. Some great examples in the market include FMR Hermit Crab Food, Flukers, HBH Pisces Pro and TetraFauna.

Can a hermit crab bite?

Hermit crabs do not have teeth, so they cannot bite you. However, they will pinch you with their claws if you agitate them. They are not aggressive in nature, so the likelihood that they will pinch you is very low.

When they happen to pinch you make sure you put your hands over a soft surface so that if they happen to fall they do not get hurt.


Hermit crabs are omnivorous scavengers, which means they eat meat, plants and decaying crustacean carcasses. They can also eat their own if need arises. There is a debate on whether or not they eat and kill animals they take their shells from. Some claim that they can eat the animals before taking their shells, while some claim that they do not.

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.

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