Welcoming Home Your New Hermit Crab

Congratulations on bringing a new hermit crab into your home! So what do you need to know about introducing your new crab into its new crabitat? First and foremost, before going 'crab shopping' at your local pet shop, set up a proper crabitat for your hermit crab to come home to. There are a lot of articles on this website with great information on setting up your starter crabitat.

Photo credit to the Oregon Hermit Crab Rescue.
Click their name to learn more about this great rescue!

So you have your habitat set up and ready to go already? Well, then it's now time to head to the pet shop. Unfortunately, most pet stores do not properly take care of their hermit crab selection. Often times these little creatures are just as neglected as the fish. So bringing a crab home is often a very stressful experience for your new pet. Look for a crab that is active and healthy. The healthier the crab appears in the pet store, the better chance it has of surviving once you get it home.
Note: If you are purchasing online we highly recommend to order from a reputable source. Avoid websites like eBay and pet classifieds where people may be selling animals that were illegally harvested and not properly cared for.

On the way home keep your hermit crab in a small container. A plastic container with a damp towel would work just fine. Cover the container with a lid with holes in it to keep in humidity and prevent your crab from climbing out. Poke holes in the lid to keep fresh air circulating. The towel will help cushion your crab during bumps while driving. Most likely it will stay snug in its shell for the ride.

Once your hermit crab is home, carefully pick it up and place it into your crabitat. The shell opening should be facing down into the sand. Monitor the heat and humidity of your aquarium to keep your new crab as comfortable as possible. Avoid putting it in really bright light where it may feel exposed and vulnerable. Instead keep it in a shaded area and let it rest for the remainder of the day.

For the first few weeks let your hermit crab rest and 'recoop'. Keep the cage clean, in a quiet part of the home, and with proper heat and humidity. Your hermit crab may dig under the sand and stay there for a while. Don't worry, it's merely resting. If it becomes active and lively, congratulations you have a happy healthy hermit crab that is very outgoing! If it doesn't, let it rest. Remember that the past few months of its life have been very stressful. It may take up to 2 months for your crab to adjust and become comfortable in it's new surroundings. Never assume your hermit crab is dead until a very strong fishy odor begins to come from the tank. Some hermit crabs are more timid than others. Let your hermit crab 'come out of it's shell' (no pun intended) at its own pace. As long as you provide it with a nice little place to make home, it will become more outgoing and comfortable with time.