When you look at the most popular pet list, you’re not likely to find hermit crabs anywhere near the top. But that’s not because they aren’t cool to look at or don’t make good pets; they’re simply overlooked in the pet store for bigger, cuddlier animals.
If you look a little closer, it’s no wonder why hermit crab owners love their little crustacean buddies. Don’t let their spiky carapace and sharp-looking claws fool you. Besides being oddly cute and small, hermit crabs are delicate, social creatures that can be handled safely if you are gentle with them.
However, hermit crab guardians have to bear many factors in mind before adopting one, especially when it comes to their diet. Hermit crabs aren’t known to have sturdy constitutions, and they have minimal tastes.
Can hermit crabs eat celery? Celery is certainly non-toxic for hermit crabs and is even healthy for them. Hermit crabs tend to prefer celery leaves to the celery stock itself, and these are also safe for your pet. However, it’s best to limit celery leaves to an occasional snack.
Let’s take a closer look at what makes celery suitable for your pet crabs and what other snacks your shelled pets are sure to love.
Is Celery Safe for Hermit Crabs?
Hermit crabs are anomuran decapod crustaceans belonging to the Peguroidea family. Quite a mouthful, isn’t it? Simply put, hermit crabs are beach-inhabiting, nocturnal creatures. These crustaceans have evolved to occupy scavenged mollusk shells to protect their fragile exoskeletons and survive on land.
Pretty cool, if you ask us. But you have to understand that hermit crabs aren’t like regular pets. They won’t eat multiple times a day. Most hermit crabs don’t appreciate being handled often, either. Though their name doesn’t suggest it, they are social creatures that should be kept in groups.
Also, they won’t eat during the day, as they are nightcrawlers. You’ll have to remember to feed your hermit crabs only once during the night. Moreover, you can’t provide them too much at a time.
Only a little food will suffice. You should feed your crabs pelleted food made for hermit crabs as their primary source of food, but don’t think this is all you should feed them. Hermit crabs require a wide variety of different foods and nutrients to stay happy and healthy, including a source of calcium.
Celery sticks and leaves are a great source of fiber for humans and animals alike. And, if you look up the safe food list for hermit crabs, you’ll indeed find celery there. It’s an amazing veggie loaded with antioxidants, vitamin K, and minerals that help reduce inflammation and indigestion.
You can easily dice up celery sticks into tiny bits and feed your hermit crab. However, most hermit crab parents report that their crab buddies enjoy the celery leaves and often ignore the celery itself. Celery leaves are non-toxic for hermit crabs as well.
Yet, celery leaves contain psoralens which increases one’s sensitivity to ultraviolet light. Because of this, many exotic animal experts state that it’s best to limit the number of celery leaves you feed your crabs.
What Is Safe to Feed Your Hermit Crabs?
As mentioned earlier, the pellet formula that you get in the market for hermit crabs ought to be your crab’s primary food source.
The reason behind this is that pellet food for hermit crabs will contain all of the nutrition that your crab will need daily. It will ensure that your hermit crab does not lack in any way to affect its health or growth.
Most hermit crabs don’t seem to mind their pellet formula anyways. Yet, it’s never a good idea to limit your hermit crabs’ diet to one food type only. You see, hermit crabs are known to love variety in their food. So, you will have to make an effort to offer your beloved pets varying flavors to keep them interested.
Now, when it comes to veggies, there are quite a few options available to you. When you do present your hermit crabs with vegetables, it’s very important to ensure that they are washed free of pesticides, chemicals, or other contaminants.
Safe Vegetables for Hermit Crabs
- Carrot tops
- Dark green lettuce
- Bell peppers
- Cooked corn
Safe Fruits for Hermit Crabs
- Honey dew melon
- Dragon fruit
Safe Flowers for Hermit Crabs
Safe Grasses and Leaves for Hermit Crabs
- Irish moss
- Sea fan
- Rose petals
Just make sure you wash all of your produce and flowers off before feeding them to you shelled friend. You can also feed your hermit crab several different kinds of meat in moderation – lean beef, chicken, turkey, shrimp, tuna, and salmon.
Hermits crabs are scavengers and omnivores, which means that they can eat many things right out of your refrigerator.
But be sure that nothing you ever give to your crabs contains any sodium, copper sulfate, or ethoxyquin. Even the water you provide for the little shelly fellows cannot have any chlorine in it. For your hermit crab, these elements can be very toxic.
For a more in-depth explanation of your crabs’ needs, the Crab Central Station channel on YouTube has some fantastic videos on how to keep your hermit crabs happy and healthy. Check out the one below for a detailed look at a hermit crab’s diet.
You have to admit that it isn’t every day that you’ll come across a hermit crab parent. They are rare and exotic pets with even rarer owners. Yet, they need the same TLC as any other valued family member, or perhaps more.
Let’s go through some of the frequently asked questions to put your mind at ease.
Can You Feed Your Hermit Crab Home-Cooked Meals?
It is possible to feed your hermit crab home-cooked meals. Hermit crabs are omnivores, and they love variety in their meals. Not to mention, these little tikes do not have seven-course meals. They have small appetites. So, you can feed your crab anything fresh and organic.
It is crucial to remember that you keep away the sugary, salty, and processed items. If it’s terrible for your well-being, it isn’t going to benefit your crab. But, when you take the initiative of feeding your crabs at home, you have to research all of its daily nutrient intakes, without which your crab will suffer.
And, if you’re new to parenting hermit crabs, then it’s wisest to opt for A-grade pre-prepared crab meals that are formulated to ensure that your hermit crab does not suffer from a lack of nutrients. However, using a combination of formulated pellets and fresh produce is always the healthiest option.
You wouldn’t want to eat nothing but protein bars all day every day, right? Not to mention, nutrient deficiencies can lead to stunted growth, skin problems, digestive problems, and in severe cases, death.
How Often Should I Clean My Hermit Crab’s Tank?
Diet is essential for the well-being of your crab, but never underestimate the importance of hygiene as well. It would be best if you cleaned your hermit crab’s tank often.
So, when you feed your crab, you need to clean up the tank soon after. Do not allow the food scraps to remain in the tank, which will encourage bacteria and mold to grow in your pet’s tank. Spot cleaning for waste should be done daily too.
But, when it comes to more intense and thorough cleaning, you need to deal with it weekly. When you attempt deep cleaning, you need to give your crab a temporary home.
Get rid of the sand at the bottom of the tank and remove any or all shells or other accessories that you might have placed within the tank for your crab’s entertainment. Give the tank a thorough washing with warm water and diluted bleach.
It is essential to use extra caution with bleach. Hence, you will have to rinse the tank multiple times to ensure that the bleach solution is washed out thoroughly.
It’s best to rinse the tank with soap and water, spray it with a diluted bleach solution, let the solution air dry, and then rinse the tank a few more times afterward to make sure the bleach is completely gone.
Afterward, you’ll need to let the tank air dry. Your precious pet can only be put back into its tank once the tank is odor and germ-free.
For pet parents who don’t like working with harsh chemicals, you can always use lemon juice or organic vinegar. Both are organic agents that will help you clean but not damage the environment. Also, the use of organic agents means that even if you leave some behind, it will not fatally harm your pet.
Can Hermit Crabs Eat Tomatoes?
Hermit crabs can have pretty much anything straight out of your refrigerator, so long as it isn’t anything processed. But, if it’s going to be something like a vegetable or fruit, then you need to wash it several times before you offer it to your pet.
You see, fresh food items often contain remnants of pesticides or chemicals that can affect your crab negatively. And, yes, an occasional snack of tomatoes will always be welcomed by your crabby buddy.
Yet, it is best to make it a small treat rather than a large one, especially if it’s something that your hermit crab has never tried before. There will always be the chance that your hermit may not like the tomato treat you have given it.
Many pet parents worry when their crab refuses a treat. But, it is perfectly normal behavior. Crabs, like people, have personal preferences, so just because Susan the crab likes tomatoes doesn’t naturally mean that Justin the crab will love them too.
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