Rescued crabbies from outside, never owned one before!

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kayepaye
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Rescued crabbies from outside, never owned one before!

Post by kayepaye » Wed Nov 26, 2014 3:19 pm

I just rescued 5 hermit crabs from a neighbour who had put them outside(tank and all!) with her garbage this morning. I noticed when I was out walking my dogs and saw one of the crabs move, so I picked up the tank and rushed them inside.

They're in a 10 gallon tank with a screen top and a heat lamp that is thankfully working.

They were only outside for about 15-20 minutes, but it's snowing and cold here (-3 celcius).
Is there anything I should be watching for to see if the cold affected them?

I've never had a hermit before so I'm not sure how to tell if they're healthy.
We also don't have any exotic vets nearby so unfortunately I can not get them in to see anyone :( They all seem to be alive, and moving about (though not a lot).

Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

I'm going to the store tomorrow afternoon to pick up any supplies I might need.
I imagine I will need food and some toys for them.

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singlemomwithcrab
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Re: Rescued crabbies from outside, never owned one before!

Post by singlemomwithcrab » Wed Nov 26, 2014 3:24 pm

I am by no means an expert but given the dire circumstance, I'm going to give this an immediate reply and then you can research more on the care sheets.

The most important thing at this point is heat and humidity. They need about 80 degree fairenhit and 80 percent humidity.

If you have cardboard, wrap it in aluminum foil. Get that heat lamp going and get it warm in there. when you get close to the tank, and lets say your thermostat is set to 70, it should feel warm and moist to you but not hot.

you can also put any insulating material around the tank you have. please be careful not to create a fire hazard.
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hermitcrabdc
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Re: Rescued crabbies from outside, never owned one before!

Post by hermitcrabdc » Wed Nov 26, 2014 4:14 pm

Be careful with food. This is for some reason the one thing that always catches my attention. Hermit crab food sold in pet stores aren't good for hermit crabs. They can eat a lot of things that we eat, as long as it isn't seasoned here is the safe food list http://hermitcrabassociation.com/phpBB/ ... 25&t=92557
Here is the hca care sheet you may want to look through it, it has a lot of helpful information http://hermitcrabassociation.com/phpBB/ ... 51&t=92457
If you are planning on keeping these little guys for good you may also want to look into upgrading from that 10 gallon. No need to rush this at the moment, work on getting them comfortable for now. A 10 gallon is going to be a bit small for 5 hermit crabs. I would recommend a 29 gallon or larger :) .
When you first get started with these guys it can be a bit overwhelming just take it one step at a time, good luck :)
Crabbing since July 2013!
4 PPs - Chloe, Tani, Kono, McGarrett

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Crabinski
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Re: Rescued crabbies from outside, never owned one before!

Post by Crabinski » Wed Nov 26, 2014 4:33 pm

First of all, a huge "Thank You" for snatching up the crabs! Hermit crabs are delicate and do not handle stress, trauma or drastic drops in temperature very well so please don't take it personally if they don't make it.

That said, @singlemomwithcrab is right regarding that the most important things right now are heat and humidity. These are tropical creatures that do not tolerate low temperatures/humidity well at all. Her info on what to do to help regulate these is spot on.

@hermitcrabdc makes an excellent point regarding packaged hermit crab food: most is the equivalent of human junk food. Crabs can eat almost everything we can, except for spicy and greasy foods. If you have fresh fruit or veggies, dice up a bit and offer it to them. Ditto with scrambled eggs (no butter, oil or seasonings) or plain cooked chicken. The best type of commercial food is found in the reptile and fish sections at the pet store: freeze-dried shrimp, freeze-dried mealworms, freeze-dried bloodworms, all of which can be pulverized into an easy to eat form.

They will need both freshwater (dechlorinated) and saltwater (not made with table salt -- see Care Guide link in @hermitcrabdc's response) and a place to hide. The water bowls can be made from the bottoms of yogurt cups and a hide can be made from any smallish plastic container (Tupperware, child-size cereal bowl, margarine tub) -- just cut out a "doorway" on one side, turn it over and pop it into the tank. No need to buy anything fancy.

I don't know what type of substrate (if any) is in the tank but do not buy the "reptile" or "hermit crab" bagged sand at the pet store as it's actually not good for them. The Care Guide will explain what substrates to use and how to prepare them.

Again, thank you for rescuing the little guys. Ask all the questions you want and we'll all try to help you as much as we can. Good luck! :crabbigsmile:
PPs are Big Enzo, Charles Paris and Mr Pinch
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Re: Rescued crabbies from outside, never owned one before!

Post by Rebecca C » Wed Nov 26, 2014 5:29 pm

Hello there,
All of the above information is accurate and should help you out, but I wanted to point out that you can use oil to prepare food for them. Lipids/fats should be in their diet the same as for humans just not as much. Mostly, just make sure to never use table salt in preparation of any foods for them. Chlorine is harmful to them, and it is the reason that they cannot have regular non-dechlorinated tap or bottled water or table salt.

Wishing you the best of luck, and I, too, thank you for being so kind to rescue those little guys! :wink:
~Ashley

I have 3 PP's, 1 E, and a puppy. :) Hermit Crabbing since August '04 R.I.P: to the crabs I have lost and R.I.P. Rocky(my first pet).
I make and sell all-natural, chemical and dye free hermit crab food on Etsy:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheHappyHermi ... p_redirect


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kayepaye
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Re: Rescued crabbies from outside, never owned one before!

Post by kayepaye » Wed Nov 26, 2014 6:39 pm

Thanks everyone! The hermit crabs are really not in a suitable habitat. They barely have any substrate, and what they do have looks to be crushed and whole tiny seashells.
I'm going to the pet store in the afternoon tomorrow to pick them up some healthy food and good quality substrate.
Now they currently have a heat lamp, would an under tank heater be better??

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Crabinski
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Re: Rescued crabbies from outside, never owned one before!

Post by Crabinski » Wed Nov 26, 2014 6:50 pm

A UTH is always recommended, especially as you appear to be in a colder climate. Under-the-tank heater is really a misnomer as you will want to place it on the outside of the tank, above the substrate level. Do not shop by the package's recommended tank size but try to find a UTH that is as close to the length of the tank as possible. Most of the ones you'll find are sticky-backed and will adhere to the tank. The ideal ones are the Ultratherm brand, not sticky-backed and therefore easy to move to a different tank, but I believe they are only sold online.
PPs are Big Enzo, Charles Paris and Mr Pinch
On the Big Beach in the Sky: Murray, Gino, Oscar, Gordon, Ignatz, Harry and King Felix the Pale
Also Mom to Imogene the Syrian Hamster

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hermitcrabdc
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Re: Rescued crabbies from outside, never owned one before!

Post by hermitcrabdc » Wed Nov 26, 2014 6:54 pm

That's really up to you. I use a heat lamp and would like to go all heat mats for my tank. The problem with a heat lamp is you have to replace the bulbs frequently, plus in smaller tanks they kill a lot of humidity. If you go heat mat one brand that I want to get is called ultratherm, I've heard great things about them but I think you can only get them online.
Just a heads up a lot of times the directions will tell you to put a heat mat on the bottom of a tank, but once you get the proper substrate levels, there is no chance that heat mat is going to heat the tank through the sand. Just tape it onto a side :wink:
Crabbing since July 2013!
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Rebecca C
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Re: Rescued crabbies from outside, never owned one before!

Post by Rebecca C » Wed Nov 26, 2014 6:54 pm

kayepaye wrote:Thanks everyone! The hermit crabs are really not in a suitable habitat. They barely have any substrate, and what they do have looks to be crushed and whole tiny seashells.
I'm going to the pet store in the afternoon tomorrow to pick them up some healthy food and good quality substrate.
Now they currently have a heat lamp, would an under tank heater be better??

Oh if you are going to get substrate, you should go to your local hardware store, such as Lowe's or Home Depot. You can get a 50 pound bag of Playsand there for about $4, and it is completely safe for them.

If the temperature in the habitat is getting to 80 degrees with the heat lamp, the heat lamp should be sufficient, but if you would prefer to not have to replace bulbs every so often, you could purchase an under the tank heater and use that either instead of the lamp, or use them together. As long as the temperature is at the correct level, the one you use is your preference. I personally only use an under the tank heater, but that is because I do not like to have to replace the bulbs, and they get enough light in their tank during the day. Some crabbers like to use the bulbs for different reasons. If I recall correctly, I think one reason is because of the UV rays the lights give the crabs; which may or may not be beneficial to the crabs.
~Ashley

I have 3 PP's, 1 E, and a puppy. :) Hermit Crabbing since August '04 R.I.P: to the crabs I have lost and R.I.P. Rocky(my first pet).
I make and sell all-natural, chemical and dye free hermit crab food on Etsy:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheHappyHermi ... p_redirect

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WingedWalrus
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Re: Rescued crabbies from outside, never owned one before!

Post by WingedWalrus » Wed Nov 26, 2014 10:14 pm

Thank you for rescuing them!!! And right before the holiday! THANK YOU!

I would reiterate what hermitcrabdc said about the food.

If I were you, I would skip store bought food altogether until you better know what you are buying and looking for in the brands and ingredients list. Do you have an egg or banana or a handful of nuts laying around the house? Better yet, does you family have any non-breaded fish, like a piece of cod or salmon? If you can find a few bits of these things, I think these would be high in nutrients, especially protein, to help them try to recover from their ordeal.

As another said, don't think you've failed if they die at this point. It will be awhile before they're out of the woods.

I'd like to say some choice words to your neighbor. :( Wow.
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kayepaye
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Re: Rescued crabbies from outside, never owned one before!

Post by kayepaye » Fri Nov 28, 2014 9:35 am

Well unfortunately one of the little crabbies passed away, though I'm pretty sure he was already dead when I brought them inside.

So I picked up a 40G tank last night, it was on clearance for $97 and came with a screen top already. I think a screen top might be too open though, and will let too much humidity/heat out, so I'm going to look at getting a plexiglass top.
Now I have a couple questions!

I picked up an 8.8L bag of Coconut Fibre Bedding, and will be picking up a bag of play sand from Home Depot tonight.
Should I get another bag of Coconut Fibre Bedding? I didn't get the solid cube stuff, I just got the loose bedding, it's the same thing just not condensed.
I also picked up a large plastic fish bowl, I'm going to lay it on it's side and put some forest moss in it, it will be extra humid and moist.

I also got this All Living Things Coconut Fibre Climbing Background (http://www.petsmart.com/reptile/habitat ... tid-500027) which I think they will enjoy!

I picked up 2 shallow cat food dishes which are going to be their "pools" 1 for salt water and 1 for fresh. I purchased pre-bottled salt water as I wasn't sure how to mix it myself.
I got a couple of pebbles for the bottoms of the pools, 3 of the crabs are fairly large, but there one little guy in there and I don't want him to drown. ALSO, I've seen in several setups that one of the 2 water dishes has a sponge in it, is there a reason for this? The water dish that they came with has a sponge in it but I don't know what it is for.....

They have a coconut hidey house, and I'm going to pick up some climbing sticks/plants tonight while I am out an about. I want to make their home as nice as possible for them :)
Any suggestions on climbing things that they would like?

One more thing... I'm still completely LOST in regards to heating. I'm planning on ordering an ultratherm, provided they ship to Canada. But what should I use in the meantime?
What size should I get for a 40G tank?
And if I've understood correctly, you're supposed to stick it to the side of the tank?? How is it supposed to make the whole tank warm?
I'm sorry for all the questions, I'm completely new to this and I want to make sure these guys are properly cared for!


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Re: Rescued crabbies from outside, never owned one before!

Post by Darklingwater » Fri Nov 28, 2014 11:26 am

I'm still fairly new to this whole thing too but might be able to help clarify. Veterans please correct me if i'm wrong on anything :)

1. Heating - UTH heaters are sticky pads that should be placed on the side of the tank. They are radiant heaters. They work a lot like heating pads do. If you put it under the tank like the directions call for it will only warm the bottom of the bedding and won't reach the top part of the tank because the bedding is so thick. Lights help with the heating too. I only was able to get a small UTH for my tank and it doesn't warm enough so I use lights in addition. FYI - if you are looking at a pet store for a UTH check the reptile section. That's where I found mine.

2. Bedding (substrate) - no calci sand (what is sold at pet stores for hermit crabs). It becomes thick when it gets wet and can kinda turn into a cement like texture. Best mix from what I've learned on here is the play sand/eco-earth mix, moistened with dechlorinated water to something like what you would build sandcastles with. it needs to be 6" deep in your tank minimum so they can bury themselves completely with at least an inch or so above them (deeper if you have larger crabs).

3. Tank top - while you are looking for the plexiglass top, use saran wrap to cover most of the screen to hold in heat and moisture.

4. Food - Definitely go with what the others are saying about store bought. We've started just setting aside a little meat from meals (before it's seasoned at all) and giving them that along with fresh fruits and nuts. Ours love grapes!

5. The sponge question - i was told to toss out ours since it can harbor a lot of bacteria if not sanitized VERY often. It really doesn't do anything for the humidity in the tank.

You are an awesome person for rescuing any animal, let alone crabbies from such a fate! :clap:


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kayepaye
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Re: Rescued crabbies from outside, never owned one before!

Post by kayepaye » Fri Nov 28, 2014 11:56 am

Thanks everyone for all of the tips! I truly appreciate it.
I understand now how the UTH works when put onto the side of the tank.
But should I not be worried about the bedding being too cold when they burrow in it?
Cause if the heater is above the substrate, then theoretically the substrate would be cold?
Just confused as to how this works!

Also, for feeding, should I be giving them raw or cooked meet?
Should i just boil chicken/beef etc. for them?

I'm going to have a look at the safe foods list, I just don't personally cook a whole lot so I might have to make some special grocery trips for them!
I have about 6 bottles of commercial food that were all in their tank with them, but I'm going to chuck them.

As for the plastic wrap over the screen... I have a heat lamp so I'm a bit worried about causing a fire hazard.
I have the lid of a shoe box over half of the tank, and the heat lamp over the other half.
I've been spraying it but usually within a couple of hours the humidity is right back down.
It's so stressful I am so worried about them.

Petsmart doesn't have a plexiglass lid for a 40G, the highest they have is a 29G.. so HOPEFULLY I can find one at another pet store.

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Re: Rescued crabbies from outside, never owned one before!

Post by CallaLily » Fri Nov 28, 2014 12:23 pm

You can use aluminum foil over the lid safely, to keep heat and humidity in.

It's most commonly recommended to use a 5:1 ratio of sand: cocofiber. I personally don't bother measuring and just keep it more play sand than cocofiber. IME, this makes for better tunneling and holds moisture well (but not too well like mostly or straight cocofiber). You'll want it moistened to sand castle consistency (where tunnels hold shape but there's no pooling) and at least 3x as deep as your largest crab is tall but no less than 6 inches.

You'll want both pools to be deep enough for your largest crab to submerge but with easy ways in and out for crabs of all sizes. This can be done with shells, smooth river pebbles, fake plants, plastic needlepoint canvas, etc. For salt water make sure you get a kind sold for saltwater aquariums, like Instant Ocean (just follow the directions on the package - usually 1/2 cup salt mix to 1 gallon of dechlor water). Salt water "glubs" or mixes sold specifically for hermit crabs or freshwater aquariums are inadequate. They lack many vital elements necessary for healthy molts and overall well-being. Sponges are not necessary and often harbor bad bacteria.

Climbing materials can be anything crab safe. Cholla, cork bark/round, mopani wood, drift wood, any other safe branches, fake plants, reptile or aquarium decorations....anything crab safe.

For UTH, you'll want to pick up the largest one that will fit on the outside back or side of your tank, mostly or completely above the substrate line. It may need to be insulated to direct heat into the tank (aluminum foil, styrofoam, cardboard over the UTH - check instructions first as some brands do not recommend doing this). Heat lamps can also be used. For Purple Pinchers temps should be 75-85F, with 80-85F being most recommended because that's where more activity is seen. It's natural for the substrate to be a bit cooler than the surface so no worries there as long as your tank is kept within proper range.

They can have both raw or cooked meats. It's perfectly safe for them but keep your health in mind and wash hands after handling raw meats, the crabs, and tank maintenance.

Covering your lid and adding that moss pit should really help boost that humidity. :)

Thank you for rescuing those poor crabbies and welcome!! :D


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kayepaye
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Re: Rescued crabbies from outside, never owned one before!

Post by kayepaye » Fri Nov 28, 2014 12:46 pm

So I'm going to order this UTH pad (http://www.reptilebasics.com/ultratherm ... uth-11-x35) my tank is 36.3"Wx18.2"Dx16.8"H SO the 35"x11" will be the best if I'm providing 6" of substrate.

Is this a good brand? And when you talk about insulating it, do I just stick it to the side of the tank and cover the back with aluminium foil?
I'm picking up some play sand tonight, I'll pick up another bag of Coconut Fibre tonight too, but I think what I have will be enough if I'm doing 5:1 with play sand.

I'm so excited for these babies to be in a proper home, I really can't wait!

Is 40G going to be big enough for all 4 of them? That's about 10G each.. 1 small one and 3 medium

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