Hermit Crab Tips MOLTING
My Hermit is Molting What do I do?
LEAVE HIM ALONE?
Hermit crabs need to isolate themselves to be able to molt. They will often climb under the sand (which we recommend since it is their natural environment) or sometimes a piece of wood. They like a moist environment for this. They are protecting themselves from predators when they become soft. They will completely loose their outer shell and shed it and grow a new skin which hardens to a shell. Their exoskeletons are usually found near the molting crab. It looks similar to a dead crab but is hollow if you look real close. Do not remove it as they eat it when they are finished. This is nourishment to them.
Hermits need to be left alone during this very vulnerable time and they should not be disturbed during the entire molting process. You may need to remove other hermits while they are molting so they are not disturbed.
If you disturb them they could fall apart as they are very soft. Their new extremities could fall off leaving them without a feeder claw for a whole cycle. Usually they do not survive this if they are disturbed.
You may notice after they molt they come up to eat and drink to gain strength and then enlarge themselves and harden to their new shell. Still do not touch. They need to be left alone. This is a good time to have vitamins or calcium in their cage near where they are molting. This will make their outer skeletons very hard. Ground up egg shells mixed in their food will help them with their extra calcium needs if you do not have vitamins which is sea fan. Be sure to have a dish of water in their cage that they can get into if they want. They need a lot of water during this time.
Hermits being primarily a marine animal still in the process of evolution are a crustacean. They differ from a crab, as we know crabs because of their long spiral inner body similar to shells mollusks. They all occupy empty shells of Gastropods. They are know are marine scavengers. They eat just about anything old or fresh. They love all junk food, vegetable, fruits and just anything you like.
Because they need to protect their soft part of their body you can find them sometimes in any ole thing. Several very large hermits have been found with cans or broken light bulbs as their outer protector. It is difficult for a large hermit to find an empty shell so they use what ever they can find. When they reach this size they are bird bait and they know even a moment out of the shell they could become a bird meal. Besides food looking for a shell is their most important duty. They do it day and night. It can take a long time to find just the right shell along the shore line.
We have traveled to many different Islands and have seen all sizes of hermits. We have found in the Florida Keys hermits the size of a pencil points that fit in a rice shell and hermits the size of two baseballs in Belize and Costa Rica. We have seen the Floridian, Ecuadorian, Tahitiatian, South American, Caribbean and several other breads. We have found them along the oceans edge, coconut trees, mangroves, puddles, under trees, old wood, miles from any ocean, walking along roads, in sand and just about everywhere on most of the islands we have visited over the last forty years. They do all differ in some ways but their habitat and needs are exactly the same. For instance Caribbean Hermits have a deep purple claw, Haiti Hermits have an orange - purple claw, Philippine hermits have a smaller more purple claw and Tahiti hermits have a black or white claw depending on the island. They all scavenger for food and look for larger shells.
Water hermits are very similar BUT they must live in the salt water ocean and they can not survive much longer than 24 hours out of the salt water.