Choosing a Home for Your Hermit CrabHermit crabs are a fascinating species of animal to keep as a pet. Like any other pet, a land hermit crab must have the proper care, environment and food in order to not only survive, but to thrive. A very important component of hermit crab pet care is environment. If the hermit crab is not in a safe and healthy environment, it is nearly impossible for a hermit crab to stay healthy. There are three main components to the environment a hermit crab should live in: the tank and its furnishings, the substrate, and the temperature and humidity of the environment.
The first part of the environment of a hermit crab is choosing the type of tank and its furnishings. Glass or plastic tanks can be used as homes for hermit crabs. A 10-gallon glass aquarium is definitely a more than adequate location for your hermit crab. Plastic tanks that are obtainable have lids and have become quite common and are usually available on the shelves of your local pet store. Any container that has a mesh or slotted lid does not retain humidity well, and therefore is not as ideal as containers with solid lids. Many pet stores will actually sell you a hermit crab in a small hermit crab kit, including a very small cage. While this small cage is ideal for a temporary home for your crab, it certainly is not appropriate for any type of permanent housing. These cages are far too small and cramped to be a permanent home. As was mentioned before, a 10-gallon size container is appropriate, but the bigger the cage the better. Also take into consideration the number of hermit crabs you will be housing when considering size of the tank.
Besides the size and type of tank you will house your hermit crab in, there are a few things to include in the tank. In addition to the obvious food and water dishes, hermit crabs need "furniture." They are generally very active creatures and love to have toys to climb on. Artificial plants, climbing toys, and small logs are great ideas to place in your hermit crab’s environment. As well as having toys, a hermit crab needs at least one place that he or she can hide away in. A hollowed out and sealed coconut, small cave structure, or other shelters are encouraged.
Another part of the hermit crab’s environment is the substrate. Substrate is the material in the bottom of your hermit crab habitat. There are several different types of substrate to choose from. One type of substrate that is acceptable is fine-grained sand. Another selection you might make is a fine-grained gravel specifically sold for hermit crab substrate. The last option is a material made of coconut fiber, which is completely organic. Any of these types of substrates are completely adequate to lay in the bottom of your hermit crab habitat.
The final piece of the hermit crab environment is the temperature and humidity levels required for a healthy hermit crab. Optimal temperature in the hermit crab habitat is approximately 72-80 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is constantly measuring outside of this zone, a heater may be required to keep you crabbie warm. Humidity is another important aspect of crab environment. You can use a humidity indicator to tell what humidity range your tank falls in. Generally, a humidity range of 70%-80% is the healthiest because hermit crabs are used to living in tropical climates.
Whatever combination of these options you choose, the keys to making sure you have a great habitat for your crab to live in is that you have the right tank and tank furniture, substrate, and temperature and humidity levels. Keeping your eye on these variables will give your hermit crab a great environment.
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About The Author: Kelly Church currently owns land hermit crabs and has written extensively about hermit crab care.