Molting crab's shell was taken by other crab...

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AirConditioner
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Molting crab's shell was taken by other crab...

Post by AirConditioner » Sat Nov 17, 2018 4:00 pm

I noticed that the food bowl was being pushed up so I lifted it thinking a crab was trying to get out, but Mo was there checking out Leonardo de Pinci's shell (which I somehow didn't realize at the time). Leonardo de Pinci is currently molting and I saw part of him poking out of thw substrate when I lifted the bowl. Anyway, I watched as Mo stole Leonardo's shell and I'm not sure what to do. Shouldn't Leonardo have his shell ready for when he's done molting? If so then what do I do now? Because I know there isn't really much point in putting a random shell in place of his previous one because he may not like it, but he needs to change shells anyway. Mo already changed shells a few weeks ago so I'm confused as to why he felt the need to steal Leonardo's.
If you haven't noticed I'm new to the whole hermit crab thing (and also new to the forum) so I don't know much. :?

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Re: Molting crab's shell was taken by other crab...

Post by PinchersAndShells » Sun Nov 18, 2018 3:26 pm

Are you saying Leonardo is molting without a shell? Crabs molt in their shells, and usually it isn't a good sign when they ditch theirs. I would replace the shell and carefully reshell him with an appropriately sized shell if possible.
Filling out the emergency template might help us figure out what went wrong and why he decided to leave his shell - viewtopic.php?f=27&t=46102

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Re: Molting crab's shell was taken by other crab...

Post by AirConditioner » Sun Nov 18, 2018 7:12 pm

1. I am not sure what kind of substrate I have, it was given to me and I don't believe she told me, it's about 2-3 inches deep in most places, but I dug a whole out for the water bowls.

2. I have a gauge that mesures humitity and temperature that is located in the back and the temp is usually around 70-80 (that's with the heat lamp at max) and humitity is either 75 or 90 when I look.

3. The only heat source I have is a heat lamp with a night bulb that I keep on at all times

4. There are both fresh and salt water provided, I use Stress coat+ to dechlorinate(about two drops per bowl) and Instant Ocean sea salt (about half a tablespoon)

5. I always have dried shrimp in one bowl and once in a while I put in tubifex worms(freeze dried). About twice a week I give them some banana or shredded carrot with some calcium powder (a couple pinches)

6. I've had my crabs for a month maybe? I'm not sure what kind they are.

7. I am not sure when they last molted

8. They are kept in a kind of lizard tank? its about 36" by 12 1/2". It has a wire netted top that is covered with tin foil but leaves a place to set the lamp.

9. There are three crabs in the tank, two being fairly small and one being fairly larger

10. There are currently maybe five or six shells if i remember correctly but they all got pushed under the substrate when the guys dug under

11. A couple of times my grandma cleaned the bathroom using bleach and I could smell it from my room, not sure how long it was before she closed the bathroom door.

12. Since I got them, I've only cleaned the water bowls because I thought the girl told me I didn't need to clean the whole tank very often.

13. I use two large shells, I usually just rinse off the substrate

14. I didn't add anything too recently, no.

15. I spray the tank down with water a few times a day, I usually only notice it when it's getting around 60 in humitity and when I spray it, it goes up to 90-100 pretty quickly. I try to clean the water bowls out every 3 days and the one food bowl every 24 hours.

16. Mo(one of my smaller crabs) appears to be picking on Leonardo(my other smaller crab). Fisrt I lifted the food bowl to see Mo stealing Leonardos shell, which he was not in at the time, I only saw half of him sticking out of the substrate(he was moving). Mo had already changed shells so I was confused as to why he did this.
Just today this happened again! I lifted the food bowl and Mo was grinding himself and his shell against his previous shell which had Leonardo in it(I did not notice this immediately), it looked like Mo then pulled Leonardo out of the shell and just held onto it. Leonardo went to hide behind the water bowls with out a shell, still above the substrate. I did end up getting the shell back from Mo and Leonardo got back into his shell after a while.

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Re: Molting crab's shell was taken by other crab...

Post by curlysister » Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:51 pm

What are the two crabs' locations now? Is Leonardo under the water bowl, in the substrate? Is he wearing a shell? Is Leonardo molting?
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Re: Molting crab's shell was taken by other crab...

Post by AirConditioner » Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:53 pm

He is currently behind the water bowl, above the substrate inside the shell

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Re: Molting crab's shell was taken by other crab...

Post by curlysister » Sun Nov 18, 2018 9:09 pm

I have given some advice in bold below:

1. I am not sure what kind of substrate I have, it was given to me and I don't believe she told me, it's about 2-3 inches deep in most places, but I dug a whole out for the water bowls.
Curly: It is important to know what the substrate is made of. Most of us use a mixture of play sand and EE in a 5:1 ratio. It needs to be moist enough to hold it's shape (sand castle consistency), but not so wet that water pools. It needs to be at least 6 inches, or three times as deep as your largest crab, whichever is deeper wins. There are types of substrate that are dangerous for crabs. Are you able to ask what is there? Then you will know if you need to replace it all or if you can just add to it.

2. I have a gauge that mesures humitity and temperature that is located in the back and the temp is usually around 70-80 (that's with the heat lamp at max) and humitity is either 75 or 90 when I look.
Curly: Optimal heat and humidity are 80 and 80. Variations in temp from 70-80 are just fine. Humidity is vital for crabs to breathe - 80% or higher is best.

3. The only heat source I have is a heat lamp with a night bulb that I keep on at all times

4. There are both fresh and salt water provided, I use Stress coat+ to dechlorinate(about two drops per bowl) and Instant Ocean sea salt (about half a tablespoon)
Curly: How large are your bowls? I don't know about your dechlorinator, most people use the brand Prime. Instant Ocean is the correct salt - the amounts should be listed on the box. 1/2 a Tablespoon would treat one cup, one tablespoon for 2 cups (aka- one pint).

5. I always have dried shrimp in one bowl and once in a while I put in tubifex worms(freeze dried). About twice a week I give them some banana or shredded carrot with some calcium powder (a couple pinches)
Curly: Check out the nutrition section for a list of safe and unsafe foods as well as the food pyramid. Variety is a good thing.

6. I've had my crabs for a month maybe? I'm not sure what kind they are.

7. I am not sure when they last molted

8. They are kept in a kind of lizard tank? its about 36" by 12 1/2". It has a wire netted top that is covered with tin foil but leaves a place to set the lamp.
Curly: 36" x 12.5" x how many inches tall? Or is 36" the height?

9. There are three crabs in the tank, two being fairly small and one being fairly larger

10. There are currently maybe five or six shells if i remember correctly but they all got pushed under the substrate when the guys dug under
Curly: HCA recommends 3-5 shells per crab. So you need 12-15 shells. Check out the shells section for the shell guide, as there are correct and incorrect shells to buy.

11. A couple of times my grandma cleaned the bathroom using bleach and I could smell it from my room, not sure how long it was before she closed the bathroom door.

12. Since I got them, I've only cleaned the water bowls because I thought the girl told me I didn't need to clean the whole tank very often.
Curly: With the correct type and depth of substrate, only spot cleaning will be needed.

13. I use two large shells, I usually just rinse off the substrate
Curly: You are using two large shells for water bowls? Or for your sponges? Water dishes need to be deep enough that a crab can fully submerge, but also had a way to climb out. Sponges are not necessary, and often just harbor bacteria.

14. I didn't add anything too recently, no.

15. I spray the tank down with water a few times a day, I usually only notice it when it's getting around 60 in humitity and when I spray it, it goes up to 90-100 pretty quickly. I try to clean the water bowls out every 3 days and the one food bowl every 24 hours.

16. Mo(one of my smaller crabs) appears to be picking on Leonardo(my other smaller crab). Fisrt I lifted the food bowl to see Mo stealing Leonardos shell, which he was not in at the time, I only saw half of him sticking out of the substrate(he was moving). Mo had already changed shells so I was confused as to why he did this.
Just today this happened again! I lifted the food bowl and Mo was grinding himself and his shell against his previous shell which had Leonardo in it(I did not notice this immediately), it looked like Mo then pulled Leonardo out of the shell and just held onto it. Leonardo went to hide behind the water bowls with out a shell, still above the substrate. I did end up getting the shell back from Mo and Leonardo got back into his shell after a while.
Curly: It's good that he is in a shell now. Does he look like he is soft? Or is he exo (the cover on his legs and claw) hard? What color is he?

You definitely need more shells. And more substrate.
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Re: Molting crab's shell was taken by other crab...

Post by Hermiesguardian » Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:01 pm

The only thing I would add to what curlysister said is adding calcium every day. It can be egg shells, raw or cooked, cuttlebone you can get in the pet store bird dept, or crushed pyster shells. A daily source of calcium will help keep them from eating each other.
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Re: Molting crab's shell was taken by other crab...

Post by AirConditioner » Mon Nov 19, 2018 12:15 am

The tank is about 12" in height

The substrate is the consistency of dirt almostand has soft, wood-like pieces. I think the fact that the previous owner had them for nine years may indicate that the substrate should be fine, I just need to add more.

I'll have to buy more shells and get rid of most of the other ones as the ones I bought didn't have enough fitting shells for my crabs.

I have just a regular plastic container for a water bowl, I use the shells to help them get in and out safely. The bowls are large enough for them to fully submerge and the shells won't get in the way of that.

Leonardo didn't appear all that soft with the exception of his body, he is (I'm really bad at describing things) like a dirty orange I think from what I remember.

About the cuttlebone though, wouldn't that be too hard for them? It's probably obvious that I don't really know what cuttlebone is but I have always thought it was super hard. I was never sure how much calcium I needed to give them so I usually only put it on the banana or shredded carrots, I was scared of giving them too much.


I'm thinking of expanding the crabitat but I'm not sure how to do that with the current lid that I have or how to work the temperature there.

Oh! An additional concern; every once in a while I will notice a crab hanging on a string from the climbing area or hanging off the lid, I've tried to catch them before they fall of each time, but sometimes I don't realise before they fall and I'm worried that could injure them.

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Re: Molting crab's shell was taken by other crab...

Post by Hermiesguardian » Mon Nov 19, 2018 12:37 am

AirConditioner wrote:The tank is about 12" in height

The substrate is the consistency of dirt almostand has soft, wood-like pieces. I think the fact that the previous owner had them for nine years may indicate that the substrate should be fine, I just need to add more.

I'll have to buy more shells and get rid of most of the other ones as the ones I bought didn't have enough fitting shells for my crabs.

I have just a regular plastic container for a water bowl, I use the shells to help them get in and out safely. The bowls are large enough for them to fully submerge and the shells won't get in the way of that.

Leonardo didn't appear all that soft with the exception of his body, he is (I'm really bad at describing things) like a dirty orange I think from what I remember.

About the cuttlebone though, wouldn't that be too hard for them? It's probably obvious that I don't really know what cuttlebone is but I have always thought it was super hard. I was never sure how much calcium I needed to give them so I usually only put it on the banana or shredded carrots, I was scared of giving them too much.


I'm thinking of expanding the crabitat but I'm not sure how to do that with the current lid that I have or how to work the temperature there.

Oh! An additional concern; every once in a while I will notice a crab hanging on a string from the climbing area or hanging off the lid, I've tried to catch them before they fall of each time, but sometimes I don't realise before they fall and I'm worried that could injure them.

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The cuttlebone isn't hard at all. Easily breakable. But their pinchers can break through real bone so don't worry about anything being too hard. As for them falling. I had the same concern. I was told not to worry because they are also called tree crabs. In the wild they csn fall from great heights. That's what the shells are for. And they can never have too much calcium. They will eat what they need, as long as you just make it available.
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 crab's shell was taken by other crab...

Post by fandt94 » Mon Nov 19, 2018 12:42 am

Cuttlebone (found in the bird section) is awesome! Many put it in the substrate so it resembles a surfboard in the sand haha...I did this as well but have since given up doing that because somebody keeps pulling it out or knocking it over haha...my crabs have taken large chunks out of it at a time :wink:
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Re: Molting crab's shell was taken by other crab...

Post by AirConditioner » Tue Nov 20, 2018 12:29 pm

Ok correction! I got a closer look at Leonardo today and he is super pale and weak, he's even missing parts of his limbs, I am super worried about him now and I'm not sure what to do...
I added in the cuttlebone and threw in some more substrate today.

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Re: Molting crab's shell was taken by other crab...

Post by curlysister » Tue Nov 20, 2018 4:27 pm

Is he isolated from the other crabs? He needs to be isolated - you can use a pop bottle with the lid off, and the bottom half cut off, or a margarine container with holes in the top. Put it over the crab and push it into the substrate a bit so that the other crabs can't get to him, but he is in the same correct conditions as the tank. He will need his exo in there with him, if you were able to find it, as well as good foods like honey, and a source of protein. Also will need small amounts (like a bottle cap) of both dechlor salt and fresh water. If he isn't done molting, the exo will be all he needs.
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Re: Molting crab's shell was taken by other crab...

Post by AirConditioner » Tue Nov 20, 2018 4:29 pm

Yes I just isolated him, someone also said to give him peanut butter? Is that ok to give them?

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Re: Molting crab's shell was taken by other crab...

Post by AirConditioner » Tue Nov 20, 2018 4:35 pm

I'm not sure if he is molting anymore, but someone mentioned that he might have been attempting to molt above the substrate. I couldn't find any exoskeleton so I'm not sure...

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Re: Molting crab's shell was taken by other crab...

Post by Hermiesguardian » Tue Nov 20, 2018 6:39 pm

AirConditioner wrote:Yes I just isolated him, someone also said to give him peanut butter? Is that ok to give them?

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Yes, peanut butter is great. Try and do organic.
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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