Q:

Can hermit crabs live out of their shells?

A:

Quick Answer

Hermit crabs have soft, vulnerable abdomens and need to wear shells to protect themselves. A hermit crab without a shell eventually falls victim to predators or even other hermit crabs.

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Full Answer

Hermit crabs grow throughout their lives and wear many different shells at different life stages. Pet hermit crabs should have a variety of shell choices available since they are picky about finding a shell that fits well. Hermit crabs that cannot find a replacement shell readily may try to hide behind a piece of coconut fiber or other debris. Pet crabs prefer shells with round openings and smooth internal surfaces.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are some facts about hermit crabs?

    A:

    Hermit crabs are marine or terrestrial invertebrates called decapods that mostly live underwater, with a few tropical species living on the land. They are named for their habit of living in scavenged shells, which they must replace regularly to accommodate their growing bodies. Hermit crabs are scavengers that subsist on a variety of organic material.

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  • Q:

    What do saltwater hermit crabs eat?

    A:

    Hermit crabs are omnivores and eat almost anything available. In captivity, they may eat raw fish, cooked chicken and a variety of vegetables, fruits and nuts.

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  • Q:

    What eats hermit crabs?

    A:

    Hermit crabs use their shells to hide from predators like seagulls, larger crabs, sea stars and snailfish. These animals are at their most vulnerable when they leave one shell for another, which they must do as they grow because their shells do not grow with them. However, some predators can either bite through the hard shell or pull the crab out and eat it.

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  • Q:

    How long do hermit crabs live?

    A:

    Hermit crabs kept as pets can easily live for over 10 years if cared for properly. One crab owner, Carol Ormes of Ft. Myers, Florida, kept a pair of crabs that lived to be over 30 years old.

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