Introducing Our Newest Pets – Hermit Crabs

Before we went to the beach, I mentioned to Joe that I’d always wanted to have pet hermit crabs. It turns out that he’d always wanted some, too.

We’d only ever seen hermit crabs at PetSmart and at the beach and, to be honest, the ones at the beach seemed better cared for.

We read up on hermit crabs and learned that they aren’t hermits at all. They are social, pack animals, and they need the company of other crabs. We decided to buy 5.

We picked the most active crabs from the cleanest, nicest stand on the boardwalk. Moonie, below, was one of those 5, called purple pinchers, coenobita clypeatus, or Caribbean hermit crabs.

Purple Pincher Hermit Crab

We took our 5 purple pinchers back to our rental house and cared for them the best that we could.

Several days later, we found a shop with a new shipment of Pacific hermit crabs, coenobita compressus, or Ecuadorian hermit crabs. The shop owner told us that Pacific hermit crabs are much more active than the purple pinchers, and we could see that he was right.

I picked 2 of the smaller ones that we really scuttling about the tank. After reading that Ecuadorians are happiest in groups of 3 or more, I wish we’d gotten 3.

Meet our new hermit crabs

He needs a name. Have any suggestions?

Unknown Hermit Crab Walking

A couple of the purple pinchers have switched shells already, but this guy is holding on to his too small, slightly damaged shell. Apparently, Pacific hermit crabs are notorious for that.

Unknown hermit crab's big claw

Four of our hermies, Moonie, Mego, and the unnamed fella (and Mooda, who isn’t in this picture), have been active even during the day. The other three (Goldie, another unnamed purple pincher, and the other as yet unamed Pacific crabbie) have come out only at night.

The one at the top right of this photo, Mego, was in a shell smaller than a ping pong ball when we brought him home. The first night in his new home, he switched it for this knobbed shell, at least five times bigger. I thought that was pretty neat.

Playing with the hermit crabs

Can you tell that Gracie named the crabs? Moonie, Mooda, Mego.

At least there’s no Strawberry Shortcake.

I know I went a little overboard on the words this time, but I couldn’t help myself. Happily submitted to 5 minutes for Mom, Wordful Wednesday, Go Graham Go, Red Lotus MamaJolly Mom, and Run DMT anyway

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© 2010, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. Catherine says

    My brother had a great hermit crab tank! It was a 10 gallon fish tank with sand and all kinds of fun stuff for them to climb on. I think the most he ever had was 6 or 7 at a time and the one the lasted the longest was about 3 years old when he finally crawled out of the tank tumbled off the dresser, crawled out of the room and took his last steps… down the staircase! It took us a while to figure out how the heck he managed that one.

  2. says

    Cute photos. My 16 YO daughter wanted to get turtles last year – when we figured out how much the set up was going to cost she thankfully lost interest.

  3. says

    Oh mind, you guys sure are working your way towards building a hermit crab community :)
    That reminds of one which I used to have when I was a kid. Only one tiny fellow that we collected from the beach. We actually painted the shell to make it look nice but it never survive long though.

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