Hermit crabs make an easy pet for kids. I didn’t always know this. Actually, I had never considered a hermit crab for a pet at all until our children were gifted two crabs, which they affectionately named Hermes and Athena!
Hermit Crabs – An Easy Pet For Kids
I admit on first glance hermit crabs are a bit creepy. They remind me of a creature out of an alien movie! But they are actually fun pets with personalities that keep our kids entertained. Our children have an intense love of everything from the ocean.
Their love stems from their Favorite Ocean and Sea Creature Books and all or the Natural Learning Opportunities we discovered on our beach vacation this summer. Plus hermit crabs make great household pets.
A Great Pet for Kids
Hermit crabs have their own set of needs just like any other animal. When our kids were gifted Hermes and Athena, they came in a little plastic carrier with a lid and a sponge for water. That was it! Being a lover of animals, I instantly took to researching all of the needs and requirements for our little pets.
While crabs are small and take up little room, it turns out that the little plastic container ours came in isn’t an ideal habitat. But I’ll tell you more about that in a bit. Let me give you some information on what we’ve learned about hermit crabs.
First, they are really easy to take care once you have all of their needs met. Our kids handle them daily and are starting to get to know their personalities.
Hermes is our out going extrovert. While Athena is our shy introvert. We haven’t figured out whether they are actually male or female yet. But the kids love Greek myths.
Hermit crabs are arthropods like spiders. More specifically, they are also crustaceans like lobsters. Crabs are social creatures. So you’ll want at least two but preferably three or four. In the wild, hermit crabs have been known to travel in groups of 100 or more! We have plans to add two more crabs to our little herd. Hermit crabs can be divided into two groups…
- Marine Hermit Crabs – these crabs spend most of their lives in saltwater and are popular in marine aquariums.
- Land Hermit Crabs – these crabs spend most of their time on land but need access to both salt and fresh water. *This is the type of crabs we have and the crabs this post is referring to!
Supplies You’ll Need for Land Hermit Crab Pets
There are several items you’ll need to get started with your land hermit crabs and to keep them happy and healthy…
- 10-gallon tank with a lid or big storage tub.
- substrate for your tank floor. Hermit crabs like to dig and tunnel into the substrate. Sand or Coconut Fiber is best. We use the coconut fiber.
- thermometer and humidity gauge. Hermit crabs prefer a temperature of 75 degrees and the humidity at 75%. A mister bottle kept close to the tank will help with keeping the humidity optimal.
- fresh water conditioner – Hermit crabs cannot handle tap water. The chlorine will kill them. Please use a water conditioner or a bottle of spring water. Keep a low bowl (not metal) of fresh water for them at all times. We keep our sponge from the original container in our crab’s bowl of fresh water.
- salt water conditioner – Hermit crabs also need access to salt water. Keep a little bowl (not metal) of salt water available to them at all times. They also need to soak in salt water once per week for a few minutes. This helps them to keep clean.
- extra shells – Hermit crabs have asymmetrical bodies that they conceal in scavenged shells carried around by the crab. Keep three extra shells per crab in your tank to keep them happy and prevent quarrels over shells.
- housing and items to climb on – Hermit crabs are nocturnal which means they are most active at night. Be sure to provide them with pieces of wood, moss, and other structures to explore and climb on when they are active.
- food – while the little crab pellets you get at the pet store are fine. Be sure to give your crabs fresh food daily. They tend to love most types of fruits, vegetables, and even the occasional piece of raw meat. Discard leftover food each morning to prevent fungus or bacteria.
- a book on hermit crab care – I really like Hermit Crab Care: Habitat, Food, Health, Behavior, Shells, and lots more by Charles Sure.
The Benefit of Pets for Kids
There are benefits to having pets. Even small ones like hermit crabs.
- Children learn about confidence and responsibility in caring for pets each day.
- Pets can help teach empathy.
- Household pets can boost self-esteem
- Pets can provide comfort because they never judge.
- Pets can encourage reading. Our son loved reading to our pets when he was a budding reading. These pets included our cats, dog, cows, chickens, and his pet snake!
Thank you for reading Hermit Crabs – An Easy Pet for Kids. You may also like… Inspiring a Love of Reading with the Love of Animals