The Right Shell Check List

Buying shells for your hermit crabs shouldn't be nearly as complicated as it sometimes is. Most pet stores offer a small selection of 'stereotypical' shells, but these shells most certainly don't fit every hermit crabs size or taste. It's extremely important to offer a variety of shells for your crab to 'try on'. So what are the basic things you need to look for when buying shells for your crabs? We've created a simple check-list to ensure that you find shells that are just right.

Size: Buy shells that have openings that are slightly larger and smaller than the one your hermit crab is in now. It's best to have 3 to 4 shells varying different sizes. The best way to go is buy one that is 'a bit smaller', one that is 'about the same', one that is 'a bit bigger', and one that is 'a little bit more bigger'. As your crab grows, obviously you will need to expand the collection to fit its needs.

Opening: Most hermit crabs prefer openings that are shaped like an O or D. Ecuadorians are a bit more picky and sometimes prefer more of a V shape to their opening. The most important thing is to make sure that the opening is smooth- not jagged. Rub your finger along the inside to check for any bumps or points that may hurt your crabs abdomen as it moves. Any shells that don't feel or look smooth on the inside should be avoided.

Color: Naturally colored shells are highly recommended. Avoid any painted or oddly bright colored shells. Hermit crabs like to feel camouflaged and brightly colored shells most certainly don't do that.

Shape: You want a shell that has a curl to it. Hermit crabs bodies naturally curve to fit the inside of a shell. So in order for a crab to be comfortable in its shell it will need to have a rounded inside that will allow the hermit crabs abdomen to conform to it.

Variety: There are all kinds of different shells out there. The usual pet-store hermit crab shells aren't always the best option. Explore craft shops, fairs, and other places that may sell natural seashells. Most likely they will be more affordable and more hermit-crab-friendly than the pet store ones anyways. Collect a bunch of different kinds and let your hermit crabs decide for themselves which one is right.

Quality: Hermit crabs are pretty picky creatures. If you had to wear the same outfit every day wouldn't you make sure it was comfortable too? Absolutely avoid shells that are cracked, chipped, broken, or in any way altered. You want your hermit crab to feel protected and safe in its shell, so give it a shell that it can easily feel that way in.

This set of shells by Florida Marine Research are a great array. Click the picture to purchase your set.