Molting? Maggots? New owner need help ASAP!

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Molting? Maggots? New owner need help ASAP!

Post by Frosted » Sat Sep 28, 2019 12:18 pm

Hey everyone! I’m new to having hermit crabs. My husband came home with 2 in a 10 gallon tank a few weeks ago and gave them to my teenager. Neither of them did any research on them and I haven’t been involved in their care the last few weeks, but I am now the caretaker. We were told they’re 14 years old (is that even possible?) and they have a pretty good set up, from what I’ve read on here about what they need. 6 inches of substrate, very humid with a humidity gauge, salt water bowl (no sponge), fresh water bowl/pool (no sponge), a few climbing things, an area to hide under, temp in the mid to high 70’s, several extra shells (both bigger and smaller) and a food bowl. They’ve been fed pieces of meat, fresh veggies and fruit. Not sure how often. But it’s clear that no one cleaned out the bowl after feeding them.
They became my responsibility when one of them went missing. We thought our daughter was playing with them and lost one. So today, I started cleaning the cage. I lifted the food bowl up and found 2 things: the missing crab and maggots. Like. A lot. The crab is still in his shell, he’s been missing for 2ish weeks? Again, not sure how long really, unreliable information.
So I pick the crab up to see if he’s alive, and he is. (They’re both the size of a golf ball with their shells on) and his shell is covered in these little maggots. I put him on the other side of the cage to investigate the gravity of the situation and start googling what to do. That’s how I found this forum and I now realize I shouldn’t have moved him because he was probably molting or starting to or finishing up... not sure since I don’t know what that would look like or how long he was down there.
Obviously I need to clean the heck out of this cage and replace the substrate completely.
So have a few questions: is the crab going to be ok since I moved him? He was in his shell, no body parts are missing or falling off and he’s pretty active (keeps trying to get back into the the hole). Can they eat these maggots? Or are the maggots going to eat them? Should I stick him back in the hole and put the (now clean) food bowl back on top and leave the maggots so I don’t stress him anymore than I already have? What do I do?? I’m angry with my daughter right now but she never asked for them and has a lot of extracurriculars so she hasn’t spent much time with them at all. I have 2 terminal children and honestly have no time to deal with this, but it’s not their fault and still deserve to have a clean home and fresh food.
Anyone out there that can help me?

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Re: Molting? Maggots? New owner need help ASAP!

Post by Hermiesguardian » Sat Sep 28, 2019 1:51 pm

First, welcome. Second, wow. Maggots sound bad. Does his exo seem hardened to you? Or soft and pink? Post this in the emergency section. I've only been crabbing for 2yrs so I can't really give advice about this. I'm sorry. Someone with more experience will.
raising son's dog, Dante. Husky/hound.
Raising daughter's hermit crabs, Shelder, Paras and Derek. Added 2 more of my own (of course) Pete and Stryper. Former mommy to 2 guinea pigs and beloved cat, Nissi

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Re: Molting? Maggots? New owner need help ASAP!

Post by JoeHermits » Sat Sep 28, 2019 2:27 pm

It sounds to me like the food is attracting flies. Definitely start changing it out more often.

Dispose of the maggots and all surrounding substrate (the more, the better. There may be more eggs and larvae in there. I’d change out all the substrate, but that’s just me.). They can attack a soft molter.

If the crab is still active, I’d say put it back in and let it dig.

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Re: Molting? Maggots? New owner need help ASAP!

Post by CrabbyLover77 » Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:03 pm

I'd go with JoeHermits advice and change out all the substrate if you can. I'd also boil the shells and toys in dechlorinated water and scrub out the tank with vinegar and rinse/dry well. That's should hopefully get rid of all the maggots. Then I'd get the hermie back in the tank asap so he can dig down to destress or molt. Definitely change the food out more often and spot check the substrate daily for uneaten/bad food. I put little plastic mats under my food dishes to help catch some of the crumbs the crabs throw around.
Hopefully the expert crabbers will comment soon too with some advice.

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My Pets: 1 Pomeranian, 1 Russian tortoise, fishes/snails(40 gal freshwater aquarium), and 7 hermit crabs.
"Animals are my friends, and I don’t eat my friends".
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