Are hermit crabs herbivores, omnivores or carnivores?
Hermit crabs are omnivores; therefore their diet must consist of both meat and plant matter. Hermit crabs are not known to be allergic to any type of meat as long as it is free of seasoning and table salt. Meats may be offerred raw or lightly cooked with small amounts of vegetable oil. Freeze-dried foods such as shrimp and blood worms are also safe as long as they do not contain any preservatives. Ideally, fruits and vegetables should be organic; otherwise wash them thoroughly with dechlorinated water. There are certain types of fruits and vegetables that you should not offer to your hermit crabs. See our Database for more details.
Do commercial food products from pet stores offer a balanced diet?
No. Not only do they lack nutritional content, but they often contain harmful preservatives such as ethoxyquin and copper sulphate. There is literally no quality control on products supposedly designed for hermit crabs. The only safe commercial hermit crab food products available are those sold by online stores run by experienced crabbers. Crabbers in the USA and Canada may purchase food from stores such as the Hermit Crab Addiction and Crabotanicals, while Australian crabbers may purchase from nautilusly's eBay store.
Can I feed the same thing to my hermit crabs each day?
Unlike most other pets that are quite content to eat the same thing daily, hermit crabs prefer to each something different each day. A study concluded that C. compressus deliberately avoided odours of recently eaten foods. In the wild, this helps hermit crabs seek a more nutritionally balanced diet.
How often should I change the food?
Dry food should be removed at least once every two days, while fresh food should be removed daily. If you have major problems with mould growing on your hermit crabs' food, then you should increase the air circulation in the tank by widening the air gaps. However, keep making sure that your hermit crabs cannot climb out of the tank.
Will hermit crabs eat too much and die?
No. Hermit crabs are poikilothermic and thus have a much lower metabolism rate than dogs, so you should instead worry about them not eating enough. Since hermit crabs prefer eating something different each day, they will eat more if you feed them a varied diet.
Should I feed them bread, chips, chocolate and other 'man-made' foods?
No. Such highly processed foods are often full of sugar, table salt and other potentially harmful substances. Stick to raw ingredients unless they are food mixes prepared by experienced crabbers. Organic food is one of the best options, but since it is not always accessible or affordable to everyone, thoroughly clean everything with dechlorinated water before feeding them to your hermit crabs.
Are flowers from florists safe?
Such flowers are often treated with potentially harmful chemicals to keep them fresh for longer. You should grow your own flowers (preferably without fertiliser or other additives) and give them a good wash in dechlorinated water before feeding them to your hermit crabs. Alternatively, you can buy flower-containing food mixes from online hermit crab food stores.