Did you know that pet ‘hermie’ crabs are becoming a popular choice for people wanting to own an exotic pet? The main reason for this is that they are fairly easy to look after, once you know how, and they are relatively low maintenance. The key to keeping your little “hermie” happy is to create a home for the little guy that is as close as possible to his natural environment. This article is going to touch briefly on the 5 main steps needed to create the perfect hermit crab habitat.
1. The best type or species of the little crabby crawlers to keep in captivity is a land species and I would recommend that you aim to re-create the perfect home or environment in a tank or aquarium. Since these little critters prefer to live in pairs or small groups, you need to start off with the minimum of a 10 gallon tank, which will comfortably house 2 of the little guys (or gals if you plan to make more).
2. These little crabby crawlers just love to burrow and your hermie will appreciate you providing a layer of substrate for this purpose. In a natural hermie environment or home, sand would be the most likely floor covering that he would encounter. You can create this effect in your tank by layering the bottom to about a 3 inch depth with kids’ play sand or, if you prefer, ground coconut fiber or crushed coral.
3. If you’ve done your homework you will know that your crab hails from the tropics and so is used to basking in constant temperatures of between 72 – 80o F. To achieve this type of temperature you will, no doubt, need use a small tank heater. These are relatively inexpensive but are worth their weight in gold when it comes to creating your own tropical hermie paradise or environment.
4. Moisture is key to the life cycle of a little hermie so you will also need to prove a high level of humidity – around 80 per cent. This is easier than it sounds, since quite often just placing your crab’s water bowl inside the tank will be sufficient. If this is not enough, then placing a water soaked natural sponge in a dish inside the tank, works wonders.
5. As a final step, and to keep your new little buddy happy and lively, it’s good to give him some “stage props” such as an unpainted clay pot and some tree bark. These give him the opportunity to climb and hide, such as he would do in a natural setting or environment. Little hermies live in discarded shells of other creatures, such as snails or small crustaceans, and as they grow they need to move into suitably larger shells. Your role will also be to provide a variety of shells with assorted sized openings so that your hermie can choose his next home.
That’s really all there is to it. Once your little buddy is installed in a hermit crab habitat that he is happy to call “home sweet home” you will find that he gives your hours of pleasure and enjoyment.