Hermit crabs are known to be fairly easy pets to care for, and it should come as no surprise that a critter so small can be incredibly cute too! So after seeing a few pictures of little crabby eyes peeking out of their shells, you decide to go buy a crab or two to take home. You even come up with a name for your crab before you’ve gotten him home!
You buy a hermit crab habitat kit, and all seems well until you realize you’re missing a key piece of information. Food! What do hermit crabs eat anyways?
The good news is that there are hundreds of options to consider when feeding your new crustaceous critter. Hermit crabs are omnivores and actually eat many of the same types of food that we do! Being scavengers, they normally will eat whatever they can find on the beach, along the shoreline, or while hidden in tide pools. They’ll make a meal of meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, and even leaves and tree bark.
The first option you can consider is crab food found, which is typically found alongside hermit crab supplies in pet stores. Commercial crab food is easy to find and typically contains most of the nutrients a crab requires. Although all commercial crab food claims to be safe and healthy, you should be careful to purchase foods that do not contain ethoxyguin and copper sulfate. These are chemicals used in pesticides and may be dangerous to crabs.
Many crab owners have decided not to purchase commercial foods because of the chemicals that might be used. In this case, hermit crab owners choose to feed their crabs natural foods. It’s often a good idea to feed crabs organic foods. This way you can be sure of exactly what they’re eating. Hermit crabs are omnivorous, so you have plenty of options when trying to decide what to feed your new pets. You want to be sure to feed your crabs foods that are rich in calcium, carotene, and antioxidants as much as possible. These are all healthy nutrients for crabs, just like they are for people. Carotene, for example, is what helps your crab maintain a bright, healthy color. Foods that are high in carotene include brightly-colored vegetables, such as carrots, spinach, kale, or pumpkin. However, crabs really appreciate a variety of foods, so changing their diet often is a nice treat for them.
Crabs love fruit and providing it for them is a wonderful treat for your critters! Apples, raisins, grapes, mango, pineapple, strawberries, banana, and other organic fruits are great options. Coconut is especially delicious, and as a bonus, you can use the shell to make a little crab hut for the habitat. You’ll just want to be sure that you do not give your crabs any highly acidic fruits such as oranges or lemons.
You can also feed the crabs vegetables like celery, cabbage, snowpeas, cucumber, eggplant, and seaweed. Hermit crabs are also fond of flowers and leaves. Really any fruit or vegetable is fine, but you want to be sure no pesticides were used when growing them so that your crabs don’t accidentally ingest harsh chemicals.
When you feed your crab fruits or veggies, wash the food in water with no soap, and be sure to serve it while it’s crisp. Crabs prefer crisp, crunchy foods, so be aware of how fresh the food is. You can even feed your crabs nuts, granola, oatmeal, peanut butter, scrambled eggs, applesauce, popcorn, and organic baby food. Boiled egg shells are also a good option as well because they are rich in calcium.
Crabs can also eat meat and fish. Surprisingly, crabs do like foods like shrimp tails and dead crustaceans. Crabs may also enjoy tuna, sardines, and krill. Other meat, such as turkey, chicken, beef, or pork is okay as well. If you feed your crab any of these foods, you should cook them and serve them cool, without any seasoning or sauces.
It was once believed that dairy products were bad for hermit crabs. However, this theory has recently been deemed untrue. Basically, dairy is fine, but like all crab food, it’s important to know what’s in the food you give your crab.
If a crab was living in the wild, it would eat almost anything it could find. Dead fish or crustaceans, leaves, seaweed, fallen fruit, decaying wood, plants, and almost anything else the tide brings them. Hermit crabs eat almost anything, but there are a few things you should avoid giving to your crabs. Make sure that you don’t feed your hermit crabs catnip, cinnamon, garlic, mistletoe, lavender, tobacco, rosemary, or the wood and leaves from pine or cedar trees. It’s also very important to avoid any citrus based fruits as they contain harsh acid that could soften or dissolve your hermit crabs delicate teeth. Whenever you are choosing to feed your hermit crab any of the above listed foods, you’ll want to make sure that you are only using organically grown fruits and vegetables that have been thoroughly washed. Many non-organic foods contain harmful pesticides and chemicals that may hurt your tiny new pet. If you want to give a treat to your new friend, try giving them flakes of dried, unsweeted coconut, they’ll love you for it!
If you do not have access to cheaply priced organic food, or don’t have the time to prepare dried meals, there are many options available for purchase from local pet stores or online sites. These commercial foods have the added benefit of providing your crab with extra vitamins and minerals that they need to live a long, healthy life.
No matter what you decide to feed your crab, it is important to make sure your pets are healthy and happy. You can be sure your crab is healthy by looking at the crab’s color. It should be shades of red mixed with brown or orange. After a hermit crab molts, its exoskeleton should return to its original color, or perhaps become brighter. If your crab’s color is lighter after molting, you may need to consider changing its diet. Crabs learn what to eat by watching other crabs or by smell. Sometimes if you’re crab is happy, you might see it wiggle its antennae and scuttle straight over to the food. Watching your crab’s behavior and color can help you make sure you’re doing everything you can to raise a healthy, happy crab!
Let us know if you’ve got any unique recipes for hermit crab food, we’d love to have a page filled with all kinds of fun, easy hermit crab food recipes.Last updated: August 23, 2012 at 22:11 pm