Hermit crabs are creatures that belong to the family of decapod crustaceans.They are recognized because they use snails´ shells to cover their abdomen, which is usually weaker than that of other species of crabs.
It is for this reason that they use the shell of other dead mollusks to protect themselves; since they don´t have the necessary hardness in their anatomy. It is known that most species of hermit crabs inhabit in water, but there are also many others that can be found on land. Once we know their main characteristics, the doubt about its feeding is born
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Alimentation of the Hermit Crabs in their Habitats
The first thing we need to know is that hermit crabs are omnivorous animals. These types of animals have some advantage, since they can consume meat from other animals and vegetables. That is, their diet is widespread and they can consume any food.
Recall that these crustaceans can be found all over the planet, since they are aquatic and coastal aquatic creatures. They can live both deep in the sea, at about one hundred and forty (140) meters, as in the reefs, and in the rocky areas of the coast. (See our article hermit crabs, for further information about these crabs)
Now, hermit crabs often prefer a diet that includes small prey. As for the hermit crabs that live in the sea, they tend to consume aquatic snails, mussels, and some species of worms, as well as small larvae and crustaceans and in the same way with the plants that they can find.
On the other hand, the hermit crabs of land eat a wide variety of foods: fallen fruit, decaying wood, leaf litter, plants and herbs, and articles washed ashore by the tide. They are not fussy by nature and have even been observed eating poop! Do not give them avocado, since it is poisonous for them.
What do hermit crabs in captivity eat?
In many occasions hermit crabs are used as pets, as is also the case with red crabs. Many people have chosen to keep this small animal in their homes, so you should remember to feed them with small portions of food.
When the hermit crabs acquire the role of pets, they usually consume almost any food that is supplied to them, but this should not be a reason to neglect their food. First of all you should know that they need calcium, carotene and antioxidants in the same way than human beings need them. A crab whose diet is deficient in carotene will fade in color after mooting, from a nice reddish or orange color to a tan or faded gray
Processed foods should be avoided; the ideal is to provide nutrients naturally and organically. Therefore, one should also prevent the crab from consuming excess sugar, salt or spicy foods with flavorings of some kind. The health of these crabs will be affected, if they are not sustained with the nutrients necessary for their normal development.
Another option that is feasible to feed the hermit crab as a pet, is to acquire the food already prepared especially for this species in the specific pet stores. This is usually an excellent option, since it guarantees the ideal and balanced diet that benefits the crab. Usually these foods have special supplements for their nutrition.
However, it must be taken into account that these foods should not contain unknown ingredients (with the exception of tocopherols, which are natural preservatives). Be sure to examine all labels carefully and do not buy any product that contains ethoxyquin or copper sulfate.
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Foods that can be added to their Diet
In the case of having this species as a pet, you can add certain foods that will be beneficial for your diet. Fresh fruits and vegetables can be added. Among the fruits the best options are grapes and blueberries first, even apples are usually a good choice. The hermit crabs should not miss seafood and fish in their diet, which should be provided in small portions.
On the other hand, meat should also be taken into account, only infrequently, as well as cereals such as pasta, rice and oats. It should be noted that the portions must be adequate, the best is small quantities. In general, these animals usually take hours to process their meals, and in the case that they leave remains of food, it is best to remove them from their reach to avoid contamination.
Bon appetit for both: your pet and you