Hermit Crabs

In Florida, we would take our pontoon boat out on the intracoastal waterway and usually dock on one of the little islands all along the river. Quite often we would find hermit crabs scurrying along the beaches. My kids got a kick out of that since they’d had hermit crabs as “pets”. 

Our hermit crab experience began when a teacher at the elementary school asked us if we would like to take her classroom hermit crabs home for the summer vacation and “babysit” them.

It turned out that my daughter wanted some of her own and the fun began. We bought a container and filled it with small pebbles or sand (I can’t remember). We used upside-down cockle shells as the food and water bowls and fed them hermit crab food along with peanut butter! This site has advice on caring for hermit crabs.

The most interesting thing about them is that they molt as they grow and empty shells must be provided for them to live in once they outgrow the shells they occupy.

Having the opportunity to actually watch the crab change shells is rare – they seem to always do it when no one is around, but we did manage to catch them change once or twice.

My daughter named her crabs (identifying them by the shell they occupied), but once they started growing and changing shells it became more difficult to know which was which!

As pets, they are inexpensive to care for (the container will be the most expensive item, and how extravagant it is, is up to you). They are able to be held, but do pinch and it hurts! So watching them is better than holding them unless you use gloves.

The Naples Seashell Company has shells for sale specifically for hermit crabs and for more information about keeping them as pets, visit this site.

A Close-View of a Hermit Crab

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