Q:

What are some hermit crab adaptations?

A:

Quick Answer

Some of the most important and interesting adaptations the hermit crab have developed is its diligent exploration and occupation of gastropod shells. Unlike other crustaceans, the hermit crab does not have its own shell. Instead, it needs to find a shell to occupy to protect itself from aquatic and terrestrial predators that exist in an intertidal environment.

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The hermit crab is painstakingly careful in choosing a shell. It inspects and tests a number of shells before it is satisfied with one. Sometimes, hermit crabs fight with each other to get the shell they want. The discarded shell not only becomes a hermit crab's home, but it also protects its soft and exposed abdomen, which lacks a protective exoskeleton. Baby hermit crabs learn to seek out the shells of sea snails. To carry a load heavier than they are, hermit crabs develop strong hind legs, which clasp onto the sides of the shells as they crawl. If there are no shells to be found in its habitat, a hermit crab may settle for anything in which they can crawl and hide, such as a plastic cup or a broken liquor bottle.

Hermit crabs have long adapted to living on land. Although they have gills to breathe, these dry up, and they are eventually unable to breathe in oxygen through their gills. Hermits crabs, being terrestrial crustaceans, can drown when they are exposed to too much water or become dehydrated in the absence of water.

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Related Questions

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    Can you paint a hermit crab shell?

    A:

    According to Alaska Hermit, hermit crab owners should refrain from painting or decorating their crab's shell, as it risks the health and even the life of the animal. Shells that have been painted prior to sale should also be avoided.

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  • Q:

    How do I take care of a hermit crab?

    A:

    Hermit crabs are popular pets that are fairly easy to care for as long as attention is paid to detail. Appropriate environmental factors are vital for their well-being, so be sure to set up their aquarium properly, using the right size of tank and a range of accessories, as well as providing a varied and adequate diet.

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  • Q:

    How many legs does a hermit crab have?

    A:

    Like other members of the order Decapoda, hermit crabs have a total of 10 legs. These include the chelipeds, or front claws, which are used for grasping and pinching. The larger of the two chelipeds is designed for self-defense and for protectively closing the opening of the crab's shell.

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  • Q:

    How can you tell the difference between a dead hermit crab and a molting one?

    A:

    When a hermit crab molts, it buries itself in sand or pebbles for several days and then emerges. Dead hermit crabs may exude a foul odor after several days. Assume that the hermit crab is molting, not dead, and do not attempt to remove the crab's body from its shell.

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