Does a Hermit Crab Really Make a Good Pet – The Pros and Cons

Hermit crab pets are thought of as being exotic. By exotic we usually mean rare and not easy to find but the fact is that though few people keep them as pets, they are available in large numbers. These crabs belong to the family of ‘Paguroidea’ and are are omnivorous or herbivorous which means they will eat anything. There are also land and aquatic species. The aquatic ones are good if you have a fish aquarium as they are useful as scavengers for algae and debris. The land crabs are the ones normally kept as pets. Before you decide to get a hermit crab as a pet you need to learn all about them. Below you’ll find some information on the pros and cons of owning this interesting animal that will help you get started.


A pet hermit crab requires very little maintenance. This means the owner doesn’t need to be constantly feeding or caring for them like other pets. It’s very cheap to keep them as they don’t eat much and need little in the way of shelter.

A small fish tank will work perfect for your pet hermit crab. Make sure it has enough sand for them to burrow in to molt and a variety of larger shells than the one they live in.

They don’t take up much space or require a certain type of area.

I’ve never heard of a pet hermit crab eating someone’s slipper.

They don’t make any kind of sounds.

You don’t have to get up in the middle of the night to let them out.

These pets are very inexpensive. You can buy a complete crab set up with 2 crabs, cage, sand, shells, food & water dishes, climbing tree etc. for $30.

They are great pets for kids to help teach them responsibility. If they forget to care for them, like kids have a habit of doing, its no big deal for a parent to do it.

Pet hermit crabs can be accommodated in your busy lifestyle. A couple of minutes a day will take care of most of their needs. Their cage will only need a complete cleaning once a month.


Hermit crab pets are not interactive. There is a lack of ‘bonding’ as compared to other pets. It’s like having fish in that you won’t be able to do much except watch them. although they will crawl around on your hand.

They will need a good substrate so they can dig down in it to molt. Moist sand is fine but gravel is not so good as they can’t burrow in it very easily.

Although many of the hermit crab species die in a short time there are exceptions. For instance, some species can live up to 23 years if properly maintained and its been reported that some have lived more than 32 years.

Although they are pretty low maintenance, their homes do need regular cleaning or they can start smelling bad.

Your pet crabs require warm moist conditions. They need to have relatively high humidity so may have to be spritzed with water or have a large wet sponge in their home.

Any water that comes in contact with your pet crab needs to always have the chlorine removed.

Your pet will need its food and water dishes changed daily with any uneaten fruit or vegetables removed.

They are nocturnal, meaning they are more active at night. This severely cuts down on viewing time as they mostly stay in their shells during the day time.

Each pet hermit crab will need a shell of its own. Be sure to provide a number of different types and sizes of shells. The shells form a protective cover for their soft abdomens. You must make sure to provide larger shells for the crabs as they outgrow their present ones.

Pet hermit crabs are unusual but interesting and easy care companions. They are curious about their surroundings, they have distinct personalities and are also active. These traits will provide some interesting viewing. The fact that they are relatively low maintenance increases the appeal to keep them as a pet. This means that if you don’t want to spend a lot of time caring for your pet but are looking for an interesting one they will fill the bill. Although you can’t walk them or play fetch they are great pets for kids as their friends probably won’t have one. They are the perfect show and tell subject for school. They are easy to feed and look after so the kids can do it by themselves. All in all, a pet hermit crab is the perfect pick for the whole family.

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