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Foster crab molting, total newbie

Posted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 8:36 pm
by Dorrit
Hi Everyone!

They're keeping a hermit crab in my son's classroom and it was our turn to take it home for spring break. This was a little over a week ago. The setup: single crab in a tiny container with maybe 1/2 inch of sand, nothing to hide under. I added sand (from the beach) as high as it would fit in one corner, maybe 2 1/2 inch, and the crab dug all the way to the bottom of the container the first night. No smell so far, I could still see it move (from the bottom) for some days, so I guess it is molting?

With no experience with hermit crabs I have a ton of questions for when the crab hopefully comes back up:
  • I read you shouldn't touch the crab for a while after the molt. Do I leave the crab in the tiny container before moving it to a bigger on? If so, how long?
  • What does the crab need right after coming up? I read about ground up eggshells and vitamins, which vitamins do I get?
  • Can I move the container with the crab back to the school during the molt, or should it stay where it is for now?
  • I purchased a couple of unpainted shells for the crab to choose from after the molt but the container is so tiny. Can this wait until the crab moves to a bigger container, or just put them all in there?
  • Anything else I need to take care of during or after the molt?
Thank you!

Re: Foster crab molting, total newbie

Posted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 9:08 pm
by aussieJJDude
First off, welcome - and thank you - for doing some research into caring for the crab. It's probably as much as your son's spring break as it is the hermie! :)

Most likely he will preform a moult. Particularly if its been any length of time that he hasn't moulted... But its also likely that he may be destressing. Regardless, keep a hands off approach to allow him some peace and wait for him to come back up before handling.

As for your questions:

- Best thing is probably to leave in the container, specially since its been a week since he has been dug down. Once he is top side, feel free to move him over!

- Good foods - especially a good calcium source, or honey/spirulina/eggs since they rather nutritious for the crabs. Vitamins are best offered by feeding a varied diet; and the safe food list - viewtopic.php?p=852660#p852660 - is a great place to look. If possible, feeding organic is highly reccomended.

- Ideally you don't want to move the crab when moulting, since it could disrupt his cave. I would recommend just leaving him be, even when school starts and wait for him to do his thing.

- Very nice of you to purchase some shells! You could add one or two, and then swap them out every couple of days - or every week - if you really want!

- Keep the substrate humid, sand castle consistency. This will help with his moult, and also allow him to breathe. If the tank has a heat source, make sure that its on and heating the tank to around 72 - 80 F (I reccomend 75+) since crabs do require heat in order to live, being 'cold blooded'.

Re: Foster crab molting, total newbie

Posted: Sun Mar 24, 2019 10:50 am
by Dorrit
Thank you for the quick reply!

Seems like hermit crabs appreciate any food that I would consider healthy for my family ;-) The tank doesn't have a heat source, I'm trying to keep her in a warm spot.