Thursday, October 18, 2012

In crawled a crab!

Our 6-year-old son first met a hermit crab a few years ago when we were on a beach vacation. We went to a hermit crab race, the crabs were offered for purchase after the race. Understanding the hazards of a pet impulse purchase, we took our saddened little boy home with the promise to research hermit crab ownership.

Fast forward. On a beautiful sunny day in September we took our son to a local Town Day. Armed with his well earned allowance money we told him there would be an opportunity to purchase something from the fair. Who would have ever thought there would be hermit crabs for sale.

Happy with the condition of the crabs and after a brief conversation with the vendor we allowed our son to take home his first hermit crab "Pinch Pinch."

Having owned Pinch Pinch for the past couple of months, we are finding hermit crab ownership to be a wonderful window into nature.

We learned very quickly that you must have a proper "crabitat." The starter habitats that often come with a newly purchased hermit crab are not adequate enough to keep a hermit crab alive and are too small. We purchased a 10 gallon tank, temperature and a humidity gage, a day and night heating lamptimer, repti fogger to help control the humidity, substrate, toys and salt water.

When considering a hermit crab it is important to know:
  • hermit crabs need a constant temperature of at least 75°F and a constant humidity level of at least 70% ,
  • hermit crabs molt! Ours is currently in a molt and has not surfaced out of his substrate for the past couple of weeks. It is very important to provide adequate substrate for a hermit crab to properly molt and dig,
  • chlorine is harmful to hermit crabs. You must use chlorine free water,
  • hermit crabs are nocturnal and,
  • hermit crabs can live 15 to 30 years in captivity if cared for properly.
I was bothered by the information I read regarding hermit crabs being forced into painted shells for sale. The crab we purchased came in a painted shell. The vendor told us that the shells were hand painted and offered to the crabs to choose. It is interesting to note that our crab quickly chose a natural shell that we offered him once he became settled in his new home. It is important to do your research and find a suitable supplier. You can also find hermit crabs who are up for adoption.

If you are considering a hermit crab there are two wonderful sites that we have been using. Jam packed with information from adopting a hermit crab to the wonders of molting, these two sites are perfect for hermit crab owners.

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