If you are looking to keep a hermit crab as a pet, then you must know how to take care of them. There is a lot pertaining to hermit crab care, but we are going to leave it for now and concentrate on the diet part. So, what do hermit crabs eat?
Well, a hermit crab’s diet is composed of pretty much everything you might think of. These crustaceans are omnivorous and scavengers at the same time. This means you can feed them with fruits, vegetables, animal remains, decaying leaves and barks, commercial food, animal poop, and much more!
As you can see, it is hard to run out of options when it comes to a hermit crab’s diet. Is that it for this post? Definitely no! There is a lot to discuss about hermit crab food! Stick with me until the end and you’ll learn so much about feeding hermit crabs.
What Do Pet Hermit Crabs Eat?
Although we’ve mentioned that hermit crabs are omnivorous and scavengers, they can’t just eat everything. I’ve compiled a comprehensive list of safe foods for hermit crabs. Your little pet won’t have any problem with the following food list:
Hermit crabs seem particularly fond of eating vegetables because of their freshness. The good thing about vegetables is that they are available in different types. You just have to test with various vegetables so as to identify what your crab likes most.
Think of all the leafy green vegetables you should be consuming and that’s exactly what your hermit crab should be eating as well. Some of the most recommended vegetables include carrots, spinach, capsicums, broccoli, asparagus, and romaine lettuce.
Crabbies love nibbling on tropical fruits, especially those that are overly ripe. They seem to enjoy the sweetness and the good thing is that most tropical fruits can be found in their native habitat.
Avoid any type of fruit that has high acidic content, particularly citrus fruits. The best fruits for hermit crabs include coconut, mango, strawberries, avocado, apple, papaya, watermelon, banana, pineapple, raisins, blackberries, and more.
3. Commercial diet
If you are looking to feed your hermit crab a balanced diet, then I would recommend you try out commercial diets. Most pet stores usually stock up on several brands of pellet food, but if you cannot find any brand locally, you can always order online.
Some of the most popular brands include Florida Marine Research and Zoo Med Hermit Crab Food. You can try out other brands so that you know what your hermit crab likes most.
Note that some commercial diets might contain additives, preservatives, and chemicals that might be harmful to your crab. Always be on the lookout for any ‘fishy’ ingredients that might be indicated on the product label.
Note some commercial food can kill hermit crabs.
Related Why Did My Hermit Crabs Die?
4. Grains, Seeds, and Nuts
I hope you are not surprised that hermit crabs can eat seeds and nuts. Lol! These creatures can eat most nuts, grains, and seeds that we eat. They are a great source of omega fatty acids and protein as well.
Hermit crabs will enjoy feeding on whole grain cereals, millet, lentils, wheat germ, plain oatmeal, rice, flax seed, walnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, chestnuts, Brazil nuts, pecans, and almonds.
5. Calcium-Rich Foods
Hermit crabs need to have access to ample calcium as it plays a major role in the health of their exoskeleton. The following products should provide enough calcium to facilitate successful molting:
- Crushed oyster shell
- Crushed egg shells
- Coral sand
- Calcium vitamin supplements
Irrespective of what species of hermit crabs you have as a pet, you should always provide both fresh and salt water. Some crabs will prefer to drink salt water, but most of them will go for fresh water.
Hermit crabs prefer to bathe and soak in saltwater. It is therefore important to have a dish of saltwater at all times. The good thing is that you can prepare instant salt water at home.
Remember to treat all tap water using a de-chlorinator as it will help with getting rid of harmful chloramines and chlorine.
7. Treats for Hermit Crabs
Hermit crabs also have a sweet tooth! You can offer them flavored baby food, sweetened cereals, pretzels, corn chips, and others. However, these types of foods should only be used as treats.
You can also choose to purchase wholesome treats from pet stores. Some of them include frozen fruit, sun-dried shrimp, iguana food, escargot, and plankton.
8. Other Hermit Crab Food
Pet hermit crabs have a large palate than other exotic pets. I am saying this because you can offer them other types of food except what we’ve highlighted above.
For starters, hermit crabs must be provided with decayed wood and leaf litter as they’ll help with the tannin process. Other foods include:
- Dead fish
- Dead crustaceans
- Dead hermit crabs
- Animal poop
What Do Wild Hermit Crabs Eat?
Wild hermit crabs are no different from your pet crab. They actually come from the same habitat, only that wild crabs do not have access to a variety of food.
In other words, wild hermit crabs will just eat what is available in the ocean, on land, and the shores. This is why we say that these crustaceans are omnivorous and scavengers at the same time.
So, what do wild hermit crabs eat? They prefer to have seaweed, plankton, and any other plant life that is available in the ocean. Besides, these crabs will scavenge on dead animals and any other animal parts that have been left to decay.
A wild hermit crab’s diet may vary depending on the place they make its home. Some of the crabs will prefer to feed on small muscles, tiny shrimps, and tube worms. Others will eat squid, dead fish, sea horses, and other weak crabs.
What Do Baby Hermit Crabs Eat?
What do hermit crabs eat when they are a baby? Baby hermit crabs enjoy feeding on plankton until they mature and feed on the normal hermit crab diet. They are typically hatched in the wild and need oceanic conditions to mature. When the baby hermit crabs are in their larvae stage, they cannot eat large foods and must be fed marine infusoria. This is a single-celled organism that can be found on any type of marine algae.
After the baby hermit crabs are over one week old, they are fed tiny brine shrimp coated with Spirulina. Spirulina is a type of algae that is grown in fresh water and the ocean. It can also be found in a variety of health food stores. Once the baby hermit crab has reached maturity, they can be given the same type of food that normal hermit crabs eat. It’s important for the baby’s to get their nutrients, so you will want to make sure they eat a well-balanced diet before they are given other treats.
How Often Do Hermit Crabs Eat?
Hermit crabs are just like humans in the sense that they have to fill their bellies every day. These little guys will mostly feed at night or during dawn and dusk. It is, for this reason, you might not notice them feeding.
Responsible owners should always ensure their crabs have fresh food served every day. These creatures eat in such small amounts that you’ll hardly notice. So, don’t fill their bowls with a lot of food as it might go to waste.
Sometimes these crabs will forage on moss, substrate, and food that has fallen on the substrate. Just make a point of providing a balanced diet to your crabs every day. They will eat as they please.
A few owners have also reported that their crabbies often hide some food in their shells in order to snack on it later.
Some crabs will also bury food in the substrate for future use. Anyway, as long as your crab is living, then he is eating. Just don’t expect him or her to feed if he isn’t hungry!
There you have it guys! I’ve covered everything you need to know about a hermit crab’s diet. As you can see, these crustaceans have a much larger palate than other pets. They can eat vegetables, fruits, commercial foods, meat, leaf litter, decaying wood, dead fish, planktons, mealworms and much more.
All you need to do is let your crabs have a taste of different food so that you get to know what they like most.