Hermit crabs......yea or Nay

Updated on December 27, 2007
C.D. asks from Plano, TX
21 answers

Does anyone have any experience with hermit crabs? My 6-yr-old wants one for Christmas and I still can't decide.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Dallas on

Had one, they can really pinch. I know that they say that you can train them but I never got mine to not clamp down on my hand and not let go unless I ran water over it. OWWW! Maybe it was a fluke but just so you are aware. M.



answers from Lubbock on

My nieces, ages 2 and 7 each have a hemit crab to call their own. I have been informed my son(2) is getting one for Christmas. In my opinion, best pet ever....there is no other as low maintenance as the hermit crab. They are somewhat boring sometimes but a child can sit and watch them do nothing for the longest time(I am amazed at how long they will sit and look in awe and wonder). If I were you, I would go for it. Good Hermit Hunting to you!!
Merry Christmas,

More Answers



answers from Dallas on

We currently have two hermit crabs. They are REALLY easy to take care of- put out water (can't be tap, must be bottled/non-chlorinated) and some crab food daily. That's it.

Here's what we discovered in our "crab journey".
1. Like I mentioned above, crabs can't drink "tap" water. Oh, and they like to drink it from a sponge that is inside the water dish (they have these sponges at Petco/Petsmart).
2. Crabs aren't social but they don't like living alone. We've found two/three is a good number.
3. It is better to have them in an aquarium type container rather than one of the "hermit crab villas" with all the accessories. They like room to move.
4. They love to climb so get pieces of wood (also at Petco/Petsmart) or "stuff" they can climb on/over.
5. They love to dig/bury themselves when sleeping, so get lots of bags of sand. We also got a "mulchy" type of material which I think was made from coconut shells. You just add it to some water and it expands; great for digging and helping to keep their home humid. We have the sand on 1/2 of the aquarium and the mulchy material on the other side.
6. Occasionally, per husband, spray the inside of the aquarium with water (non-tap again, I believe) for humidity. Apparently, the crabs have gills that can get dried out!
7. They like to change shells on occasion so you might put an extra slightly bigger one in the habitat. We've had a few crabs "pass on" so we've left their empty shells in our habitat for this reason. Only one or two of the six crabs we've had on our journey have changed shells.

Hope that this helps in your decision making. Hermit crabs are really low maintenance. The hardest/most expensive part is getting their habitat set up. We've gone through a few. Luckily, they are easy and cheap to replace. My boys love going to the pet store to pick out the "next" fancy crab. Your 6 year old would love it!

If you have any other questions, please feel free to email me.

Have a Merry Christmas!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

My son got one in April, named him Frances. :) I would say the same as the other ladies, super easy to take of, my son likes to watch him crawl around the room, they do pinch!!! I would go for it. Merry Christmas



answers from Dallas on

I think they are a great starter pet! I had some in College and loved them! I'd love to have some in my classroom as well, but I'm not sure that we can have anything besides a Beta Fish these days! I think they are "cute" in an odd way and pretty easy to care for! :) It would be a fun gift and a great learning experience with many "teachable" moments!



answers from Dallas on

My son was visiting his cousins, who had a couple of hermit crabs, & one bit him. It sliced right through his skin. A defintite NAY.


answers from Dallas on

My kids had hermit crabs when they were about 4 and 5. They named them "Poop" and "Sniff".

They are dirty little critters, and can carry salmonella. So, if your daughter picks them up, she has to wash her hands after touching them.

The cage can get smelly - YOU will be cleaning it about once a week. (Trust me, your 6 year old can't do it as thoroughly as it needs to be done.)

They die easily. Make sure you get them the right sponge to "eat" their water from!

All of that being said... I believe they are good first pets. You daughter will have to be responsible for feeding and watering them, and they are fun to watch.

Plus, although this may sound morbid... they were the first things my kids experienced death with. We buried them and held a little service for them.

My vote: Yea!



answers from Houston on

Just a little FYI, hermit crabs dont live very long and they smell really bad!



answers from Amarillo on

We had 2 hermit crabs for a couple of years, we brought them home from the beach. When we were done with them, I let my daughters preschool teacher have them, I think one of them is still alive and it's been about 9 years since we brought them home. They are easy to take care of, you can buy crab food at a pet store and the natural sponge that they drink from. The main reason for death is drowining, people assume they can be put into water but they can't stay under for long, they need dry sand and air to live. You need to make sure they can get out of their water dish easily too, we used a small plastic lid with the sponge on it. They also like to be sprayed with a water bottle and have their sand sprayed every day or 2. The biggest downfall is that they are nocturnal, ours never came out except at night which is very boring to a kid.



answers from Beaumont on

I used to work for a store that sold hermit crabs. I remember when we first got them, I got online and read up on them as much as I could. I also talked to the supplier about hermit crab needs.

The type of crabs they sell in stores are called tree crabs. The ones found on the beach are not the same. Tree crabs actually do not live in water. The beach crabs do. This is why the beach crabs die when you bring them home.

Here is the website for the supplier we used. If you have any questions or concerns, contact them.

Hermit crabs are generally easy to take care of. They like to have a bath once or twice a week. We used warm tap water and let them soak for about a minute or so. The crabs have small legs towards their tail. They use these to swish water around and clean out any poop that is inside their shell. DO NOT MAKE THE WATER TOO HOT!!!! I have the personal experience of doing this. The water was too warm and all of the crabs came out of their shells. I thought I made a big batch of boiled treats. (I cried for hours) Finally once they cooled down, they went back in. (YEA!)

If your kiddo is nervous, the crabs will be able to tell and will pinch. I have had owners tell me about their crabs' personalities. They are mostly nocturnal and will move around in their cage at night. The do make noise too! My kids told me about how loud their crabs were when they were trying to sleep.

Everything you really need to know is on that website. Oh! A good food for the crabs: Take some soft/dry cat food, throw it in the blender and grind it up. Add some peanut butter and you've got a cheap, nutritious meal for your new babies.

If you have any more questions, give me a hollar!

Merry Yuletide & Bright Blessings,
K. L.



answers from Dallas on

Sorry I just saw your post!

We bought a group of hermit crabs 2 years ago when my daughters were 2 & 4. We have a 10 gallon decorated fish aquarium tank for them. Only 2 have passed away since we first adopted. They do not smell bad at all. They don't provide allergens (like dogs & cats). Yes, they can pinch & a simple rub of an ice cube on their pincher will take them off the skin. This only happens if someone squeezes their hands around them.

Our hermies have provided my girls lots of interest in having them learn to take care of a pet. They feed & clean out the cage. They put them on the floor & watch them crawl around the house. Just make sure they can't get under something that you can't pull them out of!!!

Providing our hermies are small - they are great pets!! They are simple to take with us when we go on vacation (which we place them in a smaller travel cage) or we have one of my daughter's friends take care of them. You don't have to rush home & let them outside to pee. They don't stratch up your furniture or have to use a smelly litter box! They are the ideal pet!!!

Here is a website for interest:


Her hermies are rather large though. I have the small baby ones. I'm a little fearful of the bigger ones & their pinches. I have never ever heard of a hermie biting! That must of been a huge hermie.



answers from Corpus Christi on

C., Angie said everything I would tell you. We have had hermit crabs and the kids adored them. If they get scared they will pinch and it does hurt. So keep that in mind. I say go ahead and get her a couple of them! They are easy to care for, clean up after and you can paint and decorate their shells.



answers from Lubbock on

We have two. I had one when I was younger and thought it was pretty cool. Super easy too! Your daughter is old enough to feed and water and it is a very very low maintenence (sp) pet.



answers from Austin on

We have had many hermit crabs. They are super easy to take care of (we cleaned the cage maybe once every two months). I have never heard of one biting, but they do pinch. You have to hold them with your hand flat open to avoid pinching, but my kids have not been pinched yet. Even had them in my classroom and never had ANY trouble with my students holding them. They do not have a very long life span, but are easily replaceable;-) I would suggest a hermit crab before a hamster or lizard as these are much more high maintenance.



answers from Odessa on

We bought a hermit crab and all the stuff to go with it last year and it died. Thinking that there was something wrong with that particular one... We bought another one. It also died. I have had no luck with them and my daughter was upset both times. We followed all the advice that we could find online and at the pet store, so I don't know. Maybe you'll have better luck than I did...



answers from Austin on

Hermit crabs... I had a few when I was in the 5th grade. they are fine but when holding them make sure they where those rubber gloves because when they pinch they hurt. Also make sure thay have other shells to crawl in to because if not they will die when they leave there shell they wont go back to the same shell if they cant find one.. Other wise there fine.. they dont live long....good luck and happy holidays



answers from Houston on

i had a hermit crab in college. I think it would be the perfect pet for a small who will probably get bored quickly b/c let's face it the only thing less exciting than a crab would be a pet rock. She can have fun painting new shells for it when she's in the mood. And there is little maintenance keep a small sponge wet with distilled water and throw in either crab food or i fed mine chick-fil-a waffle fries and stale popcorn.



answers from Houston on


I had hermit crabs all thru my childhood years - back when I had to get them mail-ordered to my home! They make wonderful pets. Yes, the big ones can be antimidating and give an awful pinch if not handled properly or accustomed to handling, but the largest one I ever had was very docile and even "talked" when we picked him up (kind of a funny "croaking" sounds that from what I've read only the bigs ones do it). They make excellent pets for older children such as your son. Just make sure to get a good book/manual on how to properly care for them so they do not suffer. Make sure they have plenty of water, are fed properly, their cage cleaned periodically, etc. Also, always remember to keep plenty of extra shells available to the crabs at all times (the kind of shells suitable for hermit crabs - see manual). As they grow they need to move to larger shells, and if they have none available, they will leave their shells and exposed, die. Good luck and have fun with them!



answers from Austin on

We accidentally brought one home from the beach, it didn't make it. Them seem pretty easy to take care of. There wasn't much odor, the little guy hung in there for 2 weeks. If you decide yes, and live in or near Austin, you are welcome to take the habitat and accessories off my hands.



answers from San Antonio on

Well, they are very easy to care for but are not the kind of pet you can "cuddle" like a hamster or guinea pig. You only have to clean out their enclosure every few weeks and they don't require much food or water (you give them a natural sponge soaked in water). But I had a hard time keeping them alive for longer than a few months.



answers from San Antonio on

I would suggest reading some books or referancing them online. I was thinking of buying my 4 1/2 year old one and the pet store keep said perhaps to read up on them first. Crabs need a tank, with certin things in them,along with certin food, and buying new shells for them ect. ( though fun need to read up on them before buying)

hope this helps

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches