Where Do Hermit Crabs Live? {Exposing Their Native Habitats}


by Simon Griffiths


If you have been keeping hermit crabs as pets, there is a high chance that you adopted them, or bought them from a pet store or craigslist. But come to think of it, where do hermit crabs come from? This question might have crossed your mind, especially now that you know hermit crabs do not breed in captivity.

So, where do hermit crabs live in the wild? They live in their native habitats which can either be in the ocean, shoreline, sand dune beaches, land, or coastal forests. Remember that hermit crabs occur in different species and each one of them is suited to live in certain habitats.

Even the pet hermit crab you own used to live in the wild before it was picked up and taken to the pet store. Naturally, these creatures should live in the wild, where all the conditions are conducive for them.

That said, I am going to offer some insights into where different hermit crab species come from. So keep an eye out on which part of the world your hermit crab might have originated.


Where Do Hermit Crabs Come From?

As I’ve mentioned before, different species of hermit crabs come from different places across the world. To answer your question well, I am going to tackle the most common species and their native habitats as well.

1. Caribbean Hermit Crab

This is a land hermit crab species that is popularly known as the purple pincher. Some people also refer to it as the West Atlantic crab or as the soldier crab. This species has distinctive purple claws, hence the name purple pincher.

The soldier crab comes from West Indies, Venezuela, Bahamas, West Atlantic, Southern Florida, Belize, and the Virgin Islands. Caribbean hermit crabs are commonly sold as pets in the United States

2. Ecuadorian Hermit Crab

Ecuadorian is yet another common land hermit crab species that is sold as a pet in North America. This species is also referred to as the Pacific Hermit crab and it is among the smallest species of land hermit crabbies.

As its name suggests, these species live on the Pacific seashore and they are native to Ecuador and Chile. The good thing about Ecuadorian Hermit crabs is that they can live for up to 23 years.

3. Strawberry Hermit Crab

Also known as Coenobita perlatus, the strawberry hermit crab has unique reddish-orange colors that resemble strawberries.

This terrestrial hermit crab is quite common across the Indo-Pacific region which includes Seychelles, Indonesia, Mauritius, Parts of Samoa and Aldabra. C. Perlatus also live in some parts of Australia which include the Coral Sea Islands Territory, Cocos Islands, Christmas Island, and the Great Barrier Reef.

4. Blueberry Hermit Crab

This land species is also known as Coenobita Purpureus and can be distinguished by its purple-blue color. The blueberry hermit crabs are also sold as pets but they mostly come from oceanic, mainland, and continental island coasts of Japan. These crabs also inhabit the northwest pacific region, but they have a narrow distribution.

5. Ruggie Hermit Crabs

They are also known as Coenobita Rugosus and are usually green or tan in color. Their temperament is great, meaning they make great pets.

Ruggie hermit crabs can be found on coastal and inland sandy shores. Some prefer to live on sand dunes and sand dune vegetation.

The Coenobita rugosus is native to Australia, Indonesia, and the East African Coast.

Related – How Big Do Pet Hermit Crabs Get? 

Where Do Hermit Crabs Live In The Wild?

As much as we love to keep hermit crabs as pets, these animals have their natural habitat. Unfortunately, our love for animals will always push us to pick up wild crabs and keep them in our homes. It is however important that you understand where hermit crabs live so as to replicate the same habitat at home.

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

Most land hermit crabs prefer to live on the shoreline where it is easy to find new shells, and food and at the same time access saltwater and freshwater. Besides, the ocean shoreline provides their preferred substrate which is either sandy of mud.

Land hermit crabs require high humidity in order to survive; this explains why they have to live in tropical areas that are surrounded by large water bodies. These crabs cannot live in water because they can easily drown.

Marine hermit crabs on the other hand spend most of their lives as aquatic animals. They prefer to live in saltwater bodies and mostly like to hang out in shallow reefs, shorelines, and deep sea bottoms. Marine hermit crabs will rarely leave the water because their gills are only adapted to breathe underwater unlike land hermit crabs. Besides, this species can scavenge for food on the ocean floor.

You can also find various land hermit crab species inhabiting sand dune beaches, salt marshes, mangrove forests, and coastal forests.

Related How Long do Pet Hermit Crabs Live in Captivity?

Wrapping Up

I believe you now have a rough idea of where hermit crabs live and where they come from. Make sure you try your best to replicate the conditions of these areas when setting up your crabitat. The substrate, temperatures, and humidity should be perfect for your crab to survive and live long.

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.