Feeding Hermit Crabs – Guide for Beginner Pet Owners

Are you curious about how to feed your hermit crab the proper way? These tiny crustaceans need food just like any other pet, and keeping them happy and healthy requires understanding their dietary requirements.

In this article, we’ll explore the basics of feeding hermit crabs, including what foods they enjoy, how often to feed them, and other essential tips for ensuring they thrive. Whether you’re a seasoned hermit crab keeper or a newcomer, read on to learn the secrets of feeding these fascinating creatures.

Commercial Food Options

Feeding your hermit crab can be as easy as going to your local pet store and picking up some commercial food. Many brands offer hermit crab-specific food that can come in either pellet or canned form. These foods are specially formulated to meet the nutritional needs of hermit crabs, and they often have a long shelf life.

But, it’s important to keep in mind that not all commercial crab food is created equal. Hermit crabs need a varied diet that imitates what they would eat in the wild. Look for brands that offer a mix of different foods, such as dried fruits, vegetables, and shrimp. Some good options include:

  • Hikari Crab Cuisine: This pellet food is packed with essential vitamins and minerals to support your crab’s immune system and overall health.
  • Fluker’s Hermit Beach Treat: This blend of dried shrimp, mealworms, and crickets is perfect for providing your hermit crab with the extra protein they need to grow and thrive.
  • Zoo Med Hermit Crab Food: The Zoo Med brand offers a blend of dried fruits and vegetables, making it an excellent choice for hermit crab owners looking to provide a varied diet.

Remember, even if you are feeding your hermit crab commercial food, you should still supplement their diet with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Natural Food Sources

While commercial food options are convenient, providing your hermit crab with natural food sources is a great way to improve their diet and keep them healthy. In the wild, hermit crabs naturally forage for their food, which includes a wide range of fruits, vegetables, and small amounts of animal protein.

By replicating their natural diet as closely as possible, you can help to ensure that your hermit crab is getting all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need.

Here are some of the best natural food sources for hermit crabs:

  • Fruits: Hermit crabs love a wide variety of fruits, including apples, bananas, grapes, and melons. Be sure to cut them into small pieces and remove any seeds or pits before feeding them to your crab.
  • Vegetables: Vegetables are also an essential part of your hermit crab’s diet. They enjoy carrots, spinach, kale, and broccoli, among others. Again, make sure to cut them into small pieces before feeding them to your crab.
  • Protein: Hermit crabs need some protein in their diet, which can come from small bits of cooked chicken, fish or shrimp.

It’s important to note that while feeding natural food sources, you should always remove any uneaten food promptly to prevent mold growth and other issues. Also, it’s essential to avoid feeding your hermit crab food that is high in salt, sugar, or other unhealthy additives as they can cause various health issues over time.

Healthy Treats for Hermit Crabs

Like any other pet, it’s tempting to spoil your hermit crab with treats. However, not all treats are safe for them or good for their health. Avoid giving your hermit crab processed or sugary treat options, as they can cause health issues. Here are some healthy treats that your hermit crab is sure to love:

  • Dried fruits: Dried fruits are a delicious treat that is safe for hermit crabs. They are high in natural sugar and should, therefore, be fed in moderation.
  • Cuttlebone: Hermit crabs require calcium to keep their shells strong. Cuttlebone is a great natural source of this nutrient and can be offered as a treat.
  • Seaweed: Seaweed is an excellent source of many essential minerals and vitamins that your hermit crab needs for a healthy diet.
  • Coconut: Coconut is a favorite treat of many hermit crabs. Not only is it delicious, but it also contains many of the nutrients your hermit crab needs. Coconut can be offered as a treat or part of its everyday diet.

One of the essential things to keep in mind about treats is moderation. Even healthy treats should only be given occasionally in small amounts as they can quickly become high-calorie food. Also, remember to remove any uneaten treats to prevent mold and bacterial growth. With a balanced diet and occasional treats, your hermit crab is sure to stay healthy and happy for many years.

Feeding Schedule and Quantity

Hermit crabs can eat several times a day, but it’s essential not to overfeed them. Overfeeding can cause health problems such as obesity, which can lead to disease and shell issues. To prevent this, it’s important to have a feeding schedule and stick to it while monitoring your hermit crab’s feeding patterns, here are some guidelines:

  • Adult hermit crabs should be fed once a day, preferably at dusk, and should only consume enough food in 15-20 minutes, so you should only place a small amount of food in their dish.
  • Juvenile hermit crabs and baby hermit crabs need to be fed more often, they should be given small amounts of food (enough to consume in less than 10 minutes) every few hours.
  • Avoid feeding your hermit crab with any food that has passed the expiry date or any food that has developed a stale smell. Doing this can cause your hermit crab to experience digestive problems or get sick.

When feeding, always remember that variety is essential, and you should offer a diverse range of foods. Stick to a feeding schedule and ensure their diet is well-balanced. Providing your hermit crab with a healthy diet and not overfeeding them will help ensure they stay healthy and vibrant throughout their life.

Water and Food Dish Placement

Placing the water and food dishes in the proper location can help your hermit crab have an easier time finding and consuming their meals. Here are some tips to help you with proper placement:

  • Keep the food dish separate from the water dish to prevent the food from getting soggy.
  • Place the food dish near the hiding spot or the area where they usually come out, as this is where they are most likely to look for food.
  • Ensure your hermit crab has easy access to fresh water by placing the water bowl in a location where it won’t be bumped over easily. Also, use purified water, and change it daily to keep the water supply fresh and clean.
  • Hermit crabs use water to keep their gills moist, so make sure the water bowl is deep enough for them to submerge their bodies fully.
  • Use non-toxic bowls (either glass or ceramic) for both food and water dishes as Hermit crabs are known for ingesting plastic items which could cause health issues.

By properly placing the water and food dishes, you can make feeding and watering your hermit crab a simple and hassle-free experience.

Common Feeding Mistakes

Feeding hermit crabs might seem like a straightforward task, but there are several mistakes that can impact your hermit crab’s health. Here are some common feeding mistakes that you should be aware of:

  • Overfeeding: Overfeeding your hermit crab can lead to obesity and other health issues. Stick to the recommended feeding schedule and quantity.
  • Feeding the same food every day: Variety is the spice of life, and the same goes for your hermit crab’s diet. Giving them the same food every day can cause them to become bored with their diet, leading to less interest in eating.
  • Not providing enough shelter: Hermit crabs need a quiet, dark place to hide, especially when they are molting. If they don’t have enough shelter, they may become stressed and stop eating.
  • Not removing uneaten food: Uneaten food can quickly grow mold or bacteria, which can make your hermit crab sick. Remove any uneaten food promptly.
  • Providing treated wood: Providing treated wood can lead to toxic ingestion, which can cause health problems such as nerve damage, lethargy, and ultimately death.
  • Using plastic items as food and water dishes: Hermit crabs are known for ingesting plastic items, which can cause health issues.

By avoiding these common feeding mistakes, you can help ensure your hermit crab stays healthy and happy for years to come. Always research and read more about proper hermit care to avoid any mistakes.

Feeding Tips and Cleaning

Feeding your hermit crab is an essential part of their care, and proper cleaning of their feeding area is equally important. Here are some feeding tips and cleaning practices to help you keep your hermit crab healthy and happy:

  • Use a separate sponge or cloth to clean your hermit crab’s feeding dish and water bowl.
  • Wash feeding and water bowls with hot, soapy water regularly, then rinse them thoroughly and let them dry completely before using them again.
  • Use vinegar water to disinfect the feeding area regularly, as it is a safe and natural way to clean an area in contact with your hermit crab.
  • Do not use detergents, bleach, or other strong chemicals to clean the feeding area, as they can be toxic to hermit crabs.
  • Remove uneaten food promptly to prevent bacterial and mold growth.
  • Clean and replace the substrate in the feeding area regularly, along with other maintenance tasks that are necessary for a healthy hermit crab tank.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your hermit crab’s feeding area is clean and healthy, which is crucial for their overall well-being. A clean feeding area is also important for preventing any unwanted growth of fungus or bacteria in your pet’s enclosure. Don’t forget proper cleaning and maintenance are equally important for your pet’s health as providing them food and water.

Signs of Overfeeding or Malnutrition

Feeding a hermit crab a healthy diet is essential for their health and longevity. However, it can be difficult to determine if you are feeding them too much or too little. Here are some signs of overfeeding or malnutrition to be aware of:

Signs of Overfeeding

  • Obesity: Hermit crabs can become overweight if they are overfed for an extended period. Obesity can lead to health problems, such as molting issues or diseases.
  • Foul smell: If the feeding area starts to have a bad odor, it could mean the food is rotting and is uneaten.

Signs of Malnutrition

  • Exoskeleton issues: A hermit crab’s exoskeleton can indicate malnourishment if it shows signs of slow growth or staining.
  • Lethargy: Hermit crabs that are malnourished may become lethargic and not very active.
  • Illness: Malnourished hermit crabs are more prone to illness, and if they are not properly fed, their immune system can weaken over time.

If you notice any of these signs, it may be time to reevaluate your hermit crab’s diet and feeding routine. If you have any concerns or questions, it’s recommended to bring your hermit crab to an exotic animal veterinarian or seek help from an experienced hermit crab keeper.


Feeding hermit crabs is an essential part of their care and requires proper knowledge, preparation, and a balanced diet. Whether you choose commercial food or natural food sources, make sure you are providing a varied diet, supervising the feeding area and keeping it clean, and not overfeeding.

Keep an eye out for signs of overfeeding or malnutrition, and if you notice any, adjust your feeding routine. With the right care and attention, your hermit crab can stay healthy, happy, and thriving for years to come.

avatar Noah
I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets. read more...

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