If you are reading this post, then there is a high chance that you’ve thought of keeping hermit crabs as pets. Having at least one or two exotic pets feels pretty good, right? For me, it’s a big yes! Exotic pets do not require much space and attention as dogs or cats.
But before you even think of getting a pet hermit crab, you should first learn everything about them, their habits, care, lifespan, diet, and habitat. Moreover, hermit crabs have their own share of pros and cons that you ought to know.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, hermit crabs are fun to watch and have different characters, but the main question is whether they are good for you or not. How do you even know whether they are ideal for you? Well, that’s exactly what we’ll be discussing in this section. I’ll mention why they make good pets and why they don’t.
Let’s dive right in!
Do Hermit Crabs Make Good Pets?
Hermit crabs make good pets, especially if you are looking for a display type of pet. Imagine having a crab as a new member of your family. Sounds dope, right? But wait! Are hermits good pets? Well, hermit crabs are interesting to watch. They are lively, social creatures that love to burrow, explore, climb and chill. You can spend the entire day watching these creatures do their thing.
Why Do Hermit Crabs Make Great Pets?
Below are some of the cool reasons you might consider keeping hermit crabs as pets:
1. They need little space
Unlike guinea pigs, hamsters, cats, and dogs, hermit crabs can thrive in a small space. These crustaceans can do well in 10 to 30-gallon tanks depending on their size and number. So, if you don’t have much space for a large pet, you can invest in a pet hermit crab.
Related – How Big Do Pet Hermit Crabs Get?
2. They Are Fun To Watch
Although hermit crabs are hard to interact with, they make intelligent and exciting pets. Most keepers always find themselves sitting next to their terrariums and just watching how hermit crabs carry out their activities.
Their love for exploring, burrowing, and climbing will keep your eyes glued on their habitat. So, if you are looking for a display pet, a hermit crab can be a good choice
3. They Have a Simple Diet
Unlike reptile pets, hermit crabs can survive on pretty much anything. You do not have to source live food or anything. Land hermit crabs are omnivorous scavengers and can feed on commercial diets, vegetables, microalgae, animal poop, baby food, fruits, leaf litter, decaying wood and many more.
At least it is impossible to run out of food to provide for your pet hermit crabs. At no point will they starve unless they just don’t want to eat.
4. They Are Inexpensive
As you well know, most exotic pets tend to be priced on the higher side because they are rare to find. Luckily, hermit crabs can be acquired for less. They are plenty of crabs in pet stores and you can even adopt one from other keepers.
Their large numbers makes them easy to acquire. You won’t have to spend a ridiculous amount of money to acquire a hermit crab.
5. They Are Social
Hermit crabs make good pets because they love to be in the company of others. They prefer living in colonies, meaning you can keep several hermit crabs together. At least you won’t have to worry about your crab being lonely.
Just make sure that the hermit crabs are of the same size to avoid any form of aggression. These crustaceans are friendly in nature and they rarely fight.
Why Hermit Crabs Make Bad Pets
Although hermit crabs make awesome pets, there are several reasons why you might want to avoid them. These reasons should not be deal breakers, but it is good to highlight them just in case.
1. They molt a lot
Hermit crabs have to shed their exoskeleton at least two or three times every year. This process is known as molting and it can be very stressful for the crabs and owners as well. If you’ve read this article on why hermit crabs love to bury themselves, you’ll notice that molting is one of the main reasons.
These creatures can go under for up to two months when molting. Most people tend to freak out when their hermit crabs go MIA, but it is completely normal for them.
2. They Hate Being Handled
If you are looking to get a pet that loves being handled, then I would suggest you look elsewhere. Hermit crabs like to be left alone. They are delicate crabs and can get stressed when you handle them often. Keep in mind that these crabs are not true crabs and they have a very delicate abdomens. This is why they like to tuck their abdomen in a shell.
3. Regular Cleaning
Owning a pet hermit crab means that you’ll have to clean after them every now and then. Failure to clean their shells, dishes, bowls, and habitat will result in a foul smell.
Hermit crabs tend to poop in their shells and then empty it in a specific place. So, you’ll need to track your hermit crab’s poop and get rid of it. Sometimes these creatures love to empty their poop in the water bowl or food dish.
You will also have to clean all the empty shells regularly as some crabs will deposit their droppings in them. Keep in mind that you will also be required to change the substrate after every three months or so depending on the type of substrate you are using.
They Don’t Breed In Captivity
Breeding hermit crabs in captivity is what we call “mission impossible”. These creatures can only breed in their natural habitat and not in a cage. So, if you want a pet that you can breed, look elsewhere because you won’t achieve your goal with hermit crabs.
Most groups, organizations, and exotic pet keepers have always been against keeping hermit crabs as pets because it reduces their lifespan greatly. These crabs can live for more than 30 years in the wild, but the same cannot be said about hermit crabs in captivity.
These creatures tend to die young when kept as pets and this can be attributed to a lack of proper care. Very few people understand how to take proper care of hermit crabs. Avoid buying hermit crabs from pet stores as most of them will not even last a year.