Q: ok..unusual pet...for me...
Aug 09, 2008
Appropriate temperature and humidity is absolutely vital to their health. Land hermit crabs come from warm tropical climates and therefore need a warm, humid environment to survive in.
A glass aquarium with a glass top works best for holding in humidity.The small plastic homes with accessories sold as hermit crab kits are usually too small,but are great for iso tanks etc.
Sand is generally the substrate of choice for hermit crabs because they love to burrow in it.It's also excellent when the time comes for the Hermie to molt.They come out of their shell during this and are very vulnerable .Burying in the sand helps keep them out of harms way from other crabs.Other options include fibre bedding made for reptiles such as the coconut fiber-based bedding called Forest Bedding. The fiber is ground quite find so it is nearly like soil, so it is good for burrowing. Crushed coral is also a nice choice, but you may want to provide an area with Forest Bedding or sand as your hermit crabs may prefer these substrates for when they do molt.
Hermit crabs are happiest kept at 72-80 degrees.Under tank heaters, lights, or a combination of both can be used to maintain appropriate temperatures.Most people do not use a heat lamp because it can dehydrate crabs. They sell temp and humidity meters (hygrometer)that stick right on the tank,so that you're aware of what the tank is reading at.Since crabs "breathe" via gills, the proper exchange of oxygen by the crabs depends on the humidity in the air, so if the tank air is too dry the crabs will essentially suffocate.Adding a water dish w/(dechlorinated water),and buying a sea sponge will help to keep humidity higher.
All species of hermit crabs should have access to both fresh and salt water. Fresh water is needed for drinking, and most hermit crabs will also drink salt water (some also like to bathe in the salt water so providing a dish of salt water big enough for the crab to get into is a good idea)A purple Pincher may drink it regardless,where as an Ecuadorian Crab needs it as a staple. I buy a box of Instant Ocean for making salt water,and it lasts me forever.
For decorating,they sell a ton of things,from coconut wall covers to coral, wood,etc.Hermies love to climb and roam around,so it's good to have a nice selection of decorations for them to check out.
Hermies grow,so there needs to be clean dry shells for them to investigate for their "new digs".It's good to keep a nice selection of sizes and shapes,as they get choosy over shells.I once had a Hermie kill another over a shell he wanted.
As for food,there are a lot of commercial foods out there.Two that I use are Florida Marine Research (FMR),and any of the Zoomed foods.They also need fresh fruit and veggies.Raisins,Mango,Apples, Grapes,carrots,spinach,coconut (fresh or dried) etc. to name a few.
Food & water need to be changed daily as the high humidity in the tank spoils it quickly.
As you can see,Hermit Crabs,really are not the easy pet that people often think.They are caught in the wild,and when they come into your home,they do have special needs.
It really is a lot of work in the beginning,but the more you research,the more you can be prepared.
Some places to check out.
I'm sure that I forgot a ton,but if you have any more questions,just ask.
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