This forum is where you discuss issues relating to molting hermit crabs, including pre- and post-molting issues. If you are having a molting emergency please post in the Emergency Forum.
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When a crab burrows down it will tunnel around for several days looking for a good spot to build its cave. Once it settles down, it will rest until it’s ready to shed the old exo skeleton. After shedding, the crab will retract all the way into the back of the shell. It will then begin to eat the shed exo within 24 hours or some crabs might eat it within days or weeks. The freshly molted crab looks smaller but over a period of several days, the newly molted crab will begin to swell and grow and it can take several more days for the new exo to harden. Then the crab has to regain it’s strength. This can take a total of 4-6 weeks for medium crabs to complete the process. It can take up to 4-6 months in larger crabs. This is why it is very, very important that they’re left alone during this time. Digging them up can kill the crab outright due to too much stress of being forced to the surface and it can leave them vulnerable to cannibalism by other crabs. I started piecing all this together after I heard my molter tunneling around the other day looking for the right spot to build her cave and reading about molting in the molting section of the forum.
Wow... The big ones take a long time! I'm glad the big crabs only do it once a year! LOL.
I have 4 purple pinchers. Crush, Bubbles, Sheldon, Sandy, and little Angelo. And I love Jesus! He is the way, the truth and the life, and he knew what he was doing when he made hermit crabs!☺
-Ruth A. J. G.
-Ruth A. J. G.