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  1. #1
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    Hermit Crab Assistance

    Is anyone familiar with caring for hermit crabs? I know nothing about them, and my son just "won" a drawing for two at school (complete with cage).

    We're so lucky .

    Thanks for any info

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    Saint Smugpawski
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    Congratulations on the big win!

    Hermit crabs pretty much take care of themselves. Fill the cage with aquarium rocks and maybe a nice piece of driftwood, give them a little dish of water, buy a shaker of hermit crab food. They can be pretty active and will go crawling around the cage and climb up on the driftwood and hang from the wire mesh screen cover. That's about all there is to it in the exciting lives of hermit crabs. Oh yeah, they molt and get bigger so you have to get bigger shells for them to crawl into. One day you'll see what you think is a dead hermit crab without a shell, but it's really just the old carapace. Their cages can get kind of smelly so they will have to be washed out every so often. I think they're a great pet for your son. They're lower maintenance than fish and will teach responsibility like any other pet. They're charming little creatures, really.

    You can let them out of the cage, but definitely keep an eye on them because they do like to roam the neighborhood.
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    Here's a guide sheet.

    You may be a grandmother by the time they die.

    Btw, I'm very surprised they're holding drawings for pet animals at school.

  4. #4
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    20 years?!

    I thought they only lived a few months.



    Apparently the science class has animals for observation during the year. This year it was hamsters and hermit crabs. At the end of the year, they have a lottery for students to take them home. I'm assuming the school does this so they don't have to take care of them during the summer.

    Thanks for all the info

  5. #5
    Corgi Wrangler
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    Whatever you do, keep them in a lidded container like a large Kritter Keeper or aquarium with a lid. Mine managed to climb out.

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    Always make sure there is fresh water in the cage and a wet sponge they can drink from.

    Don't use fish tank gravel, use sand sold especially for hermit crabs. Crabs will eat the sand, it provides them with vitamins.

  7. #7
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    We won two crabs, so it already has a friend. They already have names too--Tickles and Pinch.

    We have a large soft sand bar where I live--can we just use that sand?

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    They're super easy to take care of! We had several growing up and they actually lived in the tub in the spare bathroom. My mother was not a fan (mostly for the fact that my dad let us keep them in the bathtub) and probably only agreed to let us get them in the first place because she thought they wouldn't live very long. They were the only pets we had growing up, so I thought it was awesome. I think they inhabited the bathtub for 5+ years before they died; we had issues getting them to successfully change shells. During that time, I'm pretty sure my mom only went into the bathroom a handful of times. It was great, we'd put in a tiny bit of water that'd collect around the drain and we had some shells and rocks for them to climb on/hide in and we'd close the bathroom door and let them roam the bathroom. Ahhhh my childhood!

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    I was thinking about it tonight and I meant to say put sand in the tank, not aquarium rocks. They like to burrow. I don't see why you couldn't use natural sand, though it might be kind of dirty. Bagged sand is pretty cheap.

    Oh yeah, they can live a looooong time. Forgot to mention that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gazpacho View Post
    Btw, I'm very surprised they're holding drawings for pet animals at school.
    I would guess this was probably some kind of class project and with summer approaching they are trying to find a home for them. We did something similar in the 6th grade. We were all responsible for putting a fish tank in another grade's classroom and we had to take care of it for a few weeks. We did this in groups of about 5 students. At the end we had drawings to see who won the fish, tank, supplies, etc because it didn't make sense to just take home the things you bought because everyone split it up. What good would a bunch of pebbles do? lol
    -Brian
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  11. #11
    drinky typo pbp, closet hugger
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    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    We won two crabs, so it already has a friend. They already have names too--Tickles and Pinch.
    Aw, that's so cute! Sounds like your son is very excited about it

    OlieRow, that's a great story



    I never had a hermit crab growing up, but I think a lot of my friends must have, as it seemed like they were always around. I would put one on my hand and then get really freaked out when the crab would come out and start truckin' around.
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  12. #12
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    Easy care and not very exciting they mostly hide in their shells all day long!
    Without fear you cannot find courage

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    20 years?!

    I thought they only lived a few months.

    My brother and I had them when we were little and they didn't last any longer than a year, IIRC. Our parents bought them for us when we went to the beach on vacation. I always took care of mine and he would neglect his and guess whose crab lived longer?! HIS! Anyway, I remember we used to tape shoelaces to the the shells and take the hermit crabs for walks. One time one of the crabs crawled out of the cage--and we had a heavy grate on top (not the typical one that comes with the cage; my grandfather made it to go over the aquarium tank)--and ended up in my dad's shoe. Imagine his surprise when he was getting ready for work and stuck his foot and felt something "crabby" inside . Fortunately, he didn't actually step on it.

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    They are a great pet for an elementary age child. My daughter took hers out and "played" with it quite often. Very easy to care for too. She had fun picking out funky painted shells for her crab to try out. I think they might be nocturnal. I remember quite a bit of night time scratching and commotion.

    Ours lived about two years. My friend had one that lived for over 10 years!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    20 years?!

    I thought they only lived a few months.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermit_crab

    Hermit crabs were once seen as a "throwaway pet" that would live only a few months, but species such as Coenobita clypeatus have a 23 year lifespan if properly treated, and some have lived longer than 32 years.

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    And now I think I want a hermit crab. Huh.

  17. #17
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    I know, I want one too now.
    I think I will have a snack and take a nap before I eat and go to sleep.

  18. #18
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    Not to encourage anyone, but the hermit crab shells can be blinged out with some glitter glue.
    The fastest thing out of New Jersey since Tricky Nicky in a Muscovian handbasket

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by genevieve View Post
    Sounds like your son is very excited about it
    You cannot imagine how excited he is.

    We were supposed to pick them up today, but since we're traveling a bit this weekend, I thought it would be better to wait till Monday.

    So I've been reading up, and I've read in a few places where hermit crabs that molt need to be separated or it will be eaten alive by the others (in my case other). So it's been recommended to have an isolation tank handy.

    Have people had issues with this where the crabs needed to be separated so as not to cannibalize each other?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    So I've been reading up, and I've read in a few places where hermit crabs that molt need to be separated or it will be eaten alive by the others (in my case other). So it's been recommended to have an isolation tank handy.

    Have people had issues with this where the crabs needed to be separated so as not to cannibalize each other?
    Yep, I've seen it happen. As Jeff Spiccoli would say, it was pretty gnarly.
    The fastest thing out of New Jersey since Tricky Nicky in a Muscovian handbasket

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