Sometimes, first-time hermit crab owners get really worried when they hear their pets suddenly making noises similar to chirping or to tiny frogs croaking. Especially if this happens in the middle of the night.
Leaving your super-shy new pets in the living room and later hearing them emitting loud noises without even seeing them can often be perceived as negative. If you are one of these owners, you can ease your mind.
This is a completely natural behavior and there is usually nothing to worry about. Here is all you need to know about hermit crab chirping and making a loud noise.
Why do Hermit Crabs Chirp?
Hermit crabs seem to chirp on several occasions and for different reasons. What is sure is that they chirp when being under severe stress and when feeling aggressive.
Indeed, most of such chirping or croaking sounds can be heard when fighting between each other or when being touched (in this case, more as a warning sign). Also, many owners can hear their pets collectively chirping during tank maintenance time, when their routine is obviously compromised.
Other researches confirm that hermit crabs tend to produce chirping noises while they are mating. Furthermore, some believe that they also chirp when simply communicating with each other.
Even though hermit crabs do now have eardrums and are unable to hear, it still makes sense to some that they are able of communicating. Indeed, with the help of their super-sensible antennas, they can feel basically anything around their surroundings, including chirping vibrations from other hermit crabs.
If you ever get a chance of holding your hermit crab in your hands while it is chirping, you will certainly feel its body vibrating. And it is not very unlikely that you will ever get a chance to feel that.
Actually, hermit crabs can often briefly chirp when being held, as a sort of a warning to their humans to stop touching them. When this happens, you should gently put your pet back in its enclosure, as it is clearly communicating that it does not want to be handled anymore.
Just as some sounds which cats emit are still to be completely identified, the same happens with hermit crabs.
Some owners, for example, report that their older hermit crabs started chirping as a sort of a reply to hearing their voices over the years. They believe that they were actually positively reacting to their voices.
How do Hermit Crabs Make Chirping Noise?
It is believed that hermit crabs produce chirping by stridulation. That means that they create such noise with the help of their legs, which they rub against each other (or against the inner shell) and accomplish chirp sounds.
Similar to how crickets chirp with the help of their wings. Funny enough, it is still not scientifically confirmed that this is exactly how hermit crabs vocalize, but it is the most reasonable explanation so far.
Furthermore, it is still not confirmed whether all land hermit crab types have the ability of chirping, but it seems that all species which are held as pets do.
Is Chirping Bad for Hermit Crabs?
Chirping by itself is certainly not bad for hermit crabs. However, it is possible that the reasons hiding behind certain chirpings can be bad. In fact, it can often mean that your pets are under stress for some reason, or that larger specimens are constantly bullying the smaller ones.
Therefore, it is really important to pay close attention if such sounds are persistently being emitted. Look for visible signs of distress or aggression.
Do Hermit Crabs Make Noise When They Molt?
It is not exactly scientifically confirmed whether hermit crabs chirp when they molt. Although some owners report their pets communicating while being buried for several days, this would be very unlikely.
Indeed, if the stridulation theory is true, it would be difficult for hermit crabs to use their legs to chirp while being as vulnerable as doing molting. Experts believe that those that are considered to be molting sounds are actually de-stressing sounds.
It is sometimes hard for inexperienced owners to distinguish whether their pets are molting or simply adapting to the new environment while being underground.
In most cases, however, it is more likely that they will chirp as a sign of aggression and irritation. For instance, when one hermit crab tries to occupy the shell from another specimen.
In cases like these, both the occupier and the attacked hermit crabs can emit chirping sounds, demonstrating their frustration.
How to Stop Hermit Crabs from Making Noise?
Chirping is a completely natural way of communication between these creatures and there is nothing that can be done about it. It can be quite disturbing over time, as they mostly tend to chirp at night while their humans are trying to sleep. However, this is just something that some hermit crab owners need to eventually learn to deal with.
Many people who keep such pets for many years have reported never hearing their chirping sounds. Others hear them on a more regular basis.
It is not possible to determine how many chirping noises can you expect when adopting a certain mini-colony, as this depends on many unpredictable factors- from the environmental conditions of their enclosure, to how well will they accept each other as roommates.
And sometimes, probably, it depends even on the individual temperament of a certain specimen.
Just as dogs bark, hermit crabs chirp. This is a completely natural and normal method of communication between these funny creatures.
Sometimes it may represent a warning sign to their owners who have just placed them on their hands, other times it may be a clear indication of a fight going on. Whatever the reason may be, it is nothing to be concerned unless it persists.
As long as there are no visible signs of aggression or distress between your pets, there is nothing to worry about. They may simply be communicating with each other. Or even with you.