Friday, December 2, 2016

How to Keep a Land Hermit Crab As a PetThe hermit crab is often kept as a pet it is unusual and exotic, yet is easy to take care of.

All kinds of exotic and unusual animals are finding growing popularity as pets as many people move away from the more common cats and dogs. The hermit crab is one such pet. It is easy to take care, does not require too much interaction and yet it is a nice pet to have around.
Land Hermit Crab

Types of hermit crabs

Basically there are two types of hermit crabs, the land crab and the water crab. This is about the land hermit crab. There are two common species in the US, the Caribbean or Soldier crab and the Ecuadorian or E crab. Other species are kept in other parts of the world where they are commonly available.

These crabs are not true crabs which come with their own shells. They are small and soft and need an outside shell to go into to protect them. As they are sociable animals, it is a good idea to keep two or more together and you will also get entertained by their interactions and antics.

Housing your crab

The land hermit crab can do well in a glass or plastic fish tank or aquarium. A minimum 10 gallon tank will be needed, but if you keep many crabs, it will be better to get a bigger tank at the outset. The tank should have a sliding or removable lid.

You can line the tank with sand of any type. If you use beach sand, make sure to clean, wash and bake it to sterilize it. Crabs like sand and if it deep enough they can burrow in it. Forest bedding made of coconut fiber can also be used, mixed in the sand and is specially good when crabs have to molt.

It is important to maintain a temperate and humid temperature and that is where the lid comes in use. The temperature required is 72º-80º F (22º-27º C) and if it gets cold where you live you may need to use under tank heaters or lights. It is a good idea to place the heaters on one side and make sure that part does not get too hot either, since sand retains heat. If the temperature in the tank varies, the crab can move from one area to the other as per his wants.

Feeding your pet

Land hermit crabs eat almost anything. Specially made pelletted foods are also available and should be crushed for baby crabs and even moistened if required. Apart from that crabs can be fed whatever you eat. Fresh fruits and vegetables, cooked meats, fish, nuts, grass, leaves, cooked eggs, even popcorn and crackers can all be given. Do avoid high fat and high sugar foods, though they can be given occasionally as treats. Don’t give them dairy products. Cuttlebones and powdered egg and oyster shells provide the calcium necessary for the crabs.

Both salt and fresh water should be available to them in a shallow bowl. The salt water should have the proper amount of saline and should be placed in a large enough dish, so that the crab can get into it if it so wants. The water in the bowls coupled with the temperature should provide a humid atmosphere for the crabs to thrive in.

Toys and shells

Apart from sand and water and food dishes, you should keep some toys for the crabs. Crabs like to climb on stuff, so some strong branches are a good idea. You can also get half logs and wooden hut like structures for crabs to hide in.

You must provide shells in a variety of sizes and they should be very smooth inside. As the crab grows, it will move from shell to shell and find one which is comfortable for it to use. It will usually do this when it is dark and crabs should have a 12 hour light and 12 hour dark cycle which will help them adapt to the natural light rhythm.

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