List of Questions for Hermit Crab Care

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BubbleKnot
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List of Questions for Hermit Crab Care

Post by BubbleKnot » Fri Oct 18, 2019 9:47 am

Hello!
I am a college student writing an essay on hermit crab care in captivity, and would like to hear the opinions of multiple people who have been caring for hermit crabs for a long time or have done enough research to understand what hermit crabs need to stay happy and healthy in captivity. Please feel free to pick and choose what questions you want to answer, and to reference data or use personal experience when answering.

1. What level of humidity do hermit crabs need in their enclosure and why?

2. Do hermit crabs change shells and, if yes, how many shells should be available per crab?

3. How do hermit crabs molt and is a high substrate level needed for the molting process?

4. Should painted shells on hermit crabs be supported? Why or why not?

5. Where do pet stores such as Petco or Pet Supermarket receive the hermit crabs they sell?

6. In your opinion, do pet stores and beach gift shops provide the correct care and habitat information to customers that will keep their hermit crab happy and healthy?

7. Are hermit crabs meant to be kept alone, with one other crab or in groups?

8. How much space is needed per hermit crab and why?

9. How long do hermit crabs live and how did you find out?

10. Are there any facts or information you discovered throughout the years you have cared for hermit crabs, that you found surprising or vital for hermit crab care in captivity?

Thank you

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DevilNDisguise
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Re: List of Questions for Hermit Crab Care

Post by DevilNDisguise » Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:33 am

I've quoted your post and answered in bold below the questions. :) I've helped taken care of hermit crabs for almost 4 years, at my job at a pet store, but I've personally owned them for a little over a year. Most of the answers I've given are a fairly equal mix of my own personal experience and what I've come across from research, and this website has been the main core of that.
BubbleKnot wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 9:47 am
Hello!
I am a college student writing an essay on hermit crab care in captivity, and would like to hear the opinions of multiple people who have been caring for hermit crabs for a long time or have done enough research to understand what hermit crabs need to stay happy and healthy in captivity. Please feel free to pick and choose what questions you want to answer, and to reference data or use personal experience when answering.

1. What level of humidity do hermit crabs need in their enclosure and why?

A lot of people try to keep it around or above 80%. They need the moisture in the air, since they have modified gills and that helps them breathe.

2. Do hermit crabs change shells and, if yes, how many shells should be available per crab?

Hermit crabs always change shells, and they can be surprisingly picky about what they're wearing. It needs to be the right fit, but I swear mine even care what they look like! I believe I've seen people say about 5 shell options per crab, but the exact number of shells per crab wasn't something I was familiar with before joining this site, so I won't say that with complete confidence.

3. How do hermit crabs molt and is a high substrate level needed for the molting process?

I couldn't tell you the molting process, but high substrate is definitely important. I think the minimum should be 6" or 3x deeper than your largest crab, but deeper is always better if your tank allows it and you still have enough surface area for climbing. Bigger crabs require more depth, and more crabs require a larger space. This especially helps so that molters aren't disturbed by other crabs digging around.

4. Should painted shells on hermit crabs be supported? Why or why not?

Painted shells are actually toxic to hermit crabs, so aren't typically supported.

5. Where do pet stores such as Petco or Pet Supermarket receive the hermit crabs they sell?

From distributions who catch them from the wild. Hermit crab breeding in captivity is extremely difficult, so pet store hermit crabs are usually wild caught.

6. In your opinion, do pet stores and beach gift shops provide the correct care and habitat information to customers that will keep their hermit crab happy and healthy?

For the most part, no. Many chain stores only care about making the sale and have strict policies set in place regarding how a habitat should look and what should be in it. I've experienced this, working at a pet store that seasonally sales hermit crabs. While I've attempted to improve the quality of their habitat, there are still many restrictions in place due to the lack of management care. As for the information people give out, I feel that it's getting better, but again, many people only want to make the sale, and not to mention, many employees are hired without any experience or knowledge on animal care.

7. Are hermit crabs meant to be kept alone, with one other crab or in groups?

Hermit crabs are very social and I'd never recommend keeping them by themselves. I personally prefer a small group, if anything, but as long as one has a buddy, that's good. They can travel in hundreds in the wild.

8. How much space is needed per hermit crab and why?

9. How long do hermit crabs live and how did you find out?

10. Are there any facts or information you discovered throughout the years you have cared for hermit crabs, that you found surprising or vital for hermit crab care in captivity?

To be completely honest, the overall care that a hermit crab needs came to me as extremely surprising. My parents had bought me one when I was a very young child and naturally with no research done or resources able to research them, it lived in a small critter tote with nothing on par with good quality items that it should've had. I grew up believing it was the norm for them, convinced by the information that they were small cage pets that didn't need heat and only lived a few months to a couple years. So when I started doing the research on them, just how complex they really are truly surprised me compared to how everything portrays them as being.

Thank you
The best of luck to you!
1 Bearded Dragon, 1 Guinea Pig, 1 Mouse, 1 Lovebird, 1 Dog, 2 Cats, 2 Rabbits, 2 Frogs, 2 Cockatiels, 2 Budgies & Their 3 Babies, 3 Rats, 4 Hamsters, and Many Hermit Crabs!

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gunstreet.girl
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Re: List of Questions for Hermit Crab Care

Post by gunstreet.girl » Fri Oct 18, 2019 4:11 pm

Hi there, welcome to the HCA.

Before providing a response, I would appreciate a bit more information and context about the general approach and purpose of your paper, what types of resources you’re accessing for information, and how the opinions of informal interviewees are going to be used, presented, aggregated, etc., and also what you hope to accomplish by relying on the opinions of LHC carers. Will the opinions of hobbyists be evaluated against scientific resources? A large amount of the information you’re requesting has already been compiled — through significant effort on the part of the authors — in various care guides and references which are publicly available to you and others on this and other websites, with appropriate sources referenced where applicable.

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Re: List of Questions for Hermit Crab Care

Post by wodesorel » Fri Oct 18, 2019 9:43 pm

1. What level of humidity do hermit crabs need in their enclosure and why?

At least 70%, as they are from the tropics. Excursions lower than that seem to be okay for healthy established crabs. There is no maximum but the higher the humidity the more likely mold growth is

2. Do hermit crabs change shells and, if yes, how many shells should be available per crab?

Yes, but not often once they have grown to an intermediate size and have found an appropriate shell. I have a couple of crabs who haven't changed in probably in 8 years despite having multitudes of options. Generally once they hit 1 & 1/8 inch openings they stay put. This may be due to the weight versus energy ratio of having to lug around a heavy shell.

3. How do hermit crabs molt and is a high substrate level needed for the molting process?

There should still be stickied threads with pictures in the Molting FAQ. They spend a few days/weeks finding the perfect location underground, go into a stupor while sucking in bodily fluids from the legs to wiggle out of the old shell. Once free, they reinflate and harden up and within a day or so eat the old shell to retain the minerals. It takes them a few more days/weeks to completely harden up and be ready and safe to be on the surface again.

4. Should painted shells on hermit crabs be supported? Why or why not?
Absolutely not. We have some great articles on why! There is also an expose video that CNN did about a decade ago that shows how crabs are forced from their original shells so they can be crammed into painted ones.

5. Where do pet stores such as Petco or Pet Supermarket receive the hermit crabs they sell?

There are only a handful of importers, and almost all of the crabs for sale come from Haiti now. These importers sell to secondary merchants who supply fish and sometimes reptiles to chain and small pet shops.

6. In your opinion, do pet stores and beach gift shops provide the correct care and habitat information to customers that will keep their hermit crab happy and healthy?
A few do have decent handouts with a good approximating of care, but it's just a sheet of paper and they don't care where the crabs end up. Most will die within a few weeks. A crabs lifespan can be 4 decades or more.


7. Are hermit crabs meant to be kept alone, with one other crab or in groups?

This one I do have to argue with. It's been accepted for 25 years that they must be with others, but there is no proof of why and we no longer have the conversations that led to this recommendation. What we do know is that loners and pairs live the longest in captivity. We see many double-digit aged crabs come up for adoption who have always been alone. I personally have one crab who has been by herself for 3.5 years and is doing wonderful.

8. How much space is needed per hermit crab and why?

Check out the How Many Can I Have FAQ which has a link to JMT's article covering all aspects of this. Its complicated, but basically enough space so they can molt safely and not get territorial when up.

9. How long do hermit crabs live and how did you find out?
40 years or more. Check out Carol Ormes! Google her to find a decade's worth of newspaper articles on her longest living crabs.

10. Are there any facts or information you discovered throughout the years you have cared for hermit crabs, that you found surprising or vital for hermit crab care in captivity?
Just that the myth of them being an easy pet is a complete fabrication of the pet industry to make more sales. Also that an active crab is usually a stressed crab, these guys should be calm and purposeful when interacting with their environment.

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