Other Hermit Crabs

One type of hermit crab, the Ecuadorian from South America, needs more care than many other hermit crabs. Ecuadorians are especially sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity. To keep a more constant temperature and humidity level in the animal’s habitat, owners usually provide deeper bedding for their Ecuadorian than would be provided for a purple pincher. Ecuadorians also need salt water in their habitat for drinking and bathing.

These crabs also are fussy about their shells. The body of an Ecuadorian is wider and flatter than that of the Caribbean crabs, so Ecuadorians prefer bigger shell openings. If you do not provide an Ecuadorian with its preferred shell, it may refuse to switch shells, even when its current shell becomes much too small.

Who Is Called a Rug?

Tawny hermit crabs are often called rugs. This nickname comes from their scientific name, which is Coenobita rugosus.

Some rugs are brown with weak purplish highlights. Other rugs are whitish with gray highlights. Many rugs have fine stripes across the top of the large claw.

Rugs are seldom available as pets. They are found in the wild from the East African coast on the Indian Ocean to regions of the southwestern Pacific.

Who Has Red Antennae?

Concave hermit crabs, or cavs, look a lot like Ecuadorian and Indonesian crabs. But the cavs’ bright red antennae set them apart. Also, unlike other crabs, the cav has a slight curve to the underside of its eyestalks. The eyes of a cav can be red or black and are very large, compared with other hermit crabs.

Cavs get their nickname from their scientific name, which is Coenobita cavipes. These crabs enjoy digging and they sometimes like to remain buried for long periods. They especially enjoy and need salt water.

Cavs are not often available in pet stores. In the wild, cavs are found from East Africa to the western Pacific.

Who Needs Carrots on the Menu?

Red strawberry crabs need a lot of carotene to maintain their color. Carotene is an orange-red pigment found in many foods. Carrots are a good source of carotene. So, strawberry crabs need to eat their carrots to keep their color from fading.

Strawberry crabs are probably the easiest land hermit crabs to recognize. Most strawberry crabs are bright red.In the wild, strawberry crabs live near the shorelines of the Indian and Pacific oceans. Many are found in Australia. In order to keep the number of strawberry crabs from declining in the wild, however, the government of Australia does not allow strawberry crabs to be captured and sold as pets. Pet dealers can still obtain these crabs from other countries.

Who Is a “Garbage Disposal”?

Australian crazy crabs, or Aussies, are especially active scavengers that feed on decaying things. In the wild, Aussies come out at night and eat up dead fish. They also eat seaweed and fruits that may wash up on the beach. If a pet Aussie gets out of its tank, it may head straight for the garbage can.

In Australia, these crabs live together in large colonies. Because this species is not endangered, Aussies are readily available in pet stores.

Crazy crabs range in color from cream to red or light brown. They have dark markings on their bodies and flattened eyestalks.

What Are Your Responsibilities as an Owner?

Hermit crabs are not very demanding pets, but like most unusual pets, they do require some special care. Make sure you do your research and get to know all you can about hermit crabs before you buy one. Do not buy a hermit crab if you think you will get tired of it.

If you do decide to adopt a pet hermit crab, make sure you choose a healthy one. It can be very hard to nurse a sick hermit crab back to health, and even an experienced crab owner might find that difficult.

Avoid buying the most exotic of hermit crabs. Some of them do not survive well as pets. Instead, choose crabs that can be happy with tank life.

There are about 600 species of hermit crabs. The giant hermit crab (Petrochirus diogenes) and the striped hermit crab (Clibabarius vittatus) belong to the family Paguridae. The land hermit crab (Coenobita clypeatus) and the coconut crab (Birgus latro) belong to the family Coenobitidae.