3 Reasons Why Animals Should Not Be Kept In Captivity Facts You May Not Have Known About Hermit Crabs

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Facts You May Not Have Known About Hermit Crabs

Hermit crabs are found both on land and in water. Whether they are land or sea crabs, they are crustaceans that live in a shell shed by another animal. This article talks about the characteristics of “land” or “tree” hermit crabs, not the ocean variety.

They actually start life as fish and grow into terrestrial life. These tiny crabs start out in the ocean, just like hermit crabs. While in the water as babies, hermit crabs begin as larvae called zoeae and grow into aquatic crabs, they swim and breathe underwater through gills. As adults, they can no longer breathe underwater, but still breathe through gills that must be kept wet to prevent drowning. Adult hermit crabs have lost their ability to swim.

The shape of their tail is determined by their first shell. The back end of a hermit crab bends to fit and hold onto the shell they live in. The shape of their first shell is very important and will influence their choice of shell for the rest of their lives.

They “go number one” under the eyes. Hermit crabs excrete urine through glands at the base of their antennae. Which means they “pee” through their faces.

Their name is a misnomer. Although these animals are commonly called “hermit crabs,” they are not actually true crabs because they lack a strong abdominal armor and are not solitary because they live in large groups of about a hundred crabs in the wild.

Hermit crabs are bred in captivity, but that’s not where pet store stock comes from. All available pet stock is harvested from beaches around the world where these animals are native. Most of the hermit crabs in the US come from the Western Atlantic coast.

They don’t have vocal chords, but they still “speak”. These cute little crustaceans make chirping sounds by rubbing their legs together. This is called “slipping” and it works similar to the noise you get when you rub your hands together. They can be very expressive.

They melt. In order to grow, this crustacean must go through the process of burying themselves, shedding their old exoskeleton, eating it, and re-emerging. This is called molting and it can take weeks. Without a safe place to burrow for weeks at a time once or twice a year, a hermit crab will die.

Only six of their ten legs are generally visible. Although hermit crabs have ten legs like a spider, they keep four legs inside their shell to anchor them and keep the inside of the shell clean.

The legs can be “thrown” without killing the crab. If a crab is stressed or scared, they may “drop” a leg to distract a threat in order to hopefully get away. They sometimes do this even when they are sick. They will grow a new leg in the oven in the next few apples.

Hermits poop. Their owners sometimes wonder if they do this because the crab droppings are small and mix with the bedding materials. These guys either defecate inside their shell and then remove it or push it out the side of their shell.

“Hermies” have long been adored as easy-care short-term pets. In fact, they can live up to 30 years or more in captivity when properly cared for. Pet stores routinely provide poor pet care for hermit crabs and pass on poor pet care information to owners, resulting in short lifespans. As a much misunderstood pet, they have a strong following of devotees online who share good care information.

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