Last year our family vacationed in Myrtle Beach and came home with a couple hermit crabs. This was our first time renting a condo and I’m glad we did. I actually wrote several posts about the places we visited and the experiences we had in Myrtle Beach and you can find them here if you’re interested in reading them.
Mr. Crabs, pictured below, is still with us. We have added a few more crabs (and lost one other one) since Mr. Crabs came home with us. I’m not sure if we lost the two we did because of some lack of knowledge on my end or if they were just sick. We have a total of three crabs now.
Hermit crabs can be very fascinating, unfortunately, they are nocturnal animals so unless you are up late you may not see much action in the aquarium. This doesn’t mean they don’t move around during the day sometimes though. You can also take them out of the cage to get them moving around. If you decide to get hermit crabs be sure you research how to care for them. Youtube (<– you can subscribe to my channel there) is a GREAT way to research this. I even found a video teaching me how to make my own salt water (sea water) for my crabs.
Your basic hermit crab supplies
Once you have your hermit crabs and the basic supplies bought hermit crabs are cheap and easy to care for! I have…
- the aquarium (just the glass “cage” and a lid),
- a heat lamp,
- temperature/humidity gauge
- substrate (<–I buy this or similar) and a bag of sandbox sand for their grounding (both of these items last me months and months!!)
- two water dishes (one for spring water and one for “sea salt water” & you can use small dishes from your kitchen vs. buying new)
- a small sponge (I cut a bath sponge I bought for this purpose)
- a hermit crab food source like dried shrimp or other (I buy one from the pet store) and feed mostly with things like crushed egg shells, crushed crackers/pretzels and fresh kale
- a few empty extra snail shells they can change into when they’re ready
- give them something to climb on and hide under
Just a word here. I’ve read or heard that hermit crabs are colony animals and they need to have company. I like to have a minimum of three crabs.
Save money on extra shells
At some point the crabs become to large for their current shell and need to find a new home. I seem to have very picky crabs! I think I’m the only one in our family who has witnessed any of them changing shells and only Mr. Crabs is known to have done it. Over time I’ve been accumulating extra shells for them since they seem so picky.
I’ve learned that instead of paying $2-4 per extra shell at the pet stores for our crabs I can find shells cheaper. For one, if you live near the beach you may be able to find some for free! If not, I’ve found that I can buy a bag of large shells at a craft store and recently at a grocery store I came across (unintentionally) a case of Escargots. That was like hitting the jackpot in my mind! I got something like a dozen giant snail shells plus the snail themselves (ewww) for less than $10! I gave the gross snails to my sister for her and her husband to eat (ewww). I had enough shells to share with my nephew who has a couple hermit crabs also. Here’s a bag of 36 extra large snail shells!
I really enjoy our hermit crabs and some of our guests do also! While the boys and I each have a crab I am the one who takes care of them. With adult supervision your kids can enjoy hermit crab pets, too. And, like I mentioned above, once you have your basic supplies these are some very easy and very cheap pets to keep.
If you have any questions or want to share about your hermit crabs just leave me a comment! I’d love to hear your feedback.
If you enjoyed reading about our hermit crab experience you may enjoy reading about our beta fish experience: Why Beta fish make good pets for kids.