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How Long do Hermit Crabs Live?

Although several sources are targeting hermit crabs as low-maintenance pets with a brief lifespan, this is not entirely true.

Indeed, many of these funny creatures will die within the first year after becoming pets, but this usually happens either because they are taken from the wild or because of poor maintenance.

How long do healthy hermit crabs actually live? Surprisingly, hermit crabs have a lifespan anywhere from 8 to 10 years, with some owners reporting their pets surviving up to even 20 years.

In order to increase the chances of sharing your home with these amazing pets for a decent part of your life, it is important to provide them with the best care possible.

Make Hermit Crabs Live Longer

So, here are a couple of tips that will help your hermit crab live a longer and healthier life:

– Feeding Quality Food

Just as people who have a healthy and nutritive diet tend to live longer, the same happens with hermit crabs. They need high-quality food to ensure they are getting all the necessary nutritive values for a healthy life.

The best way to obtain that is by providing them with quality commercial pellets as their basic diet.

Aside from that, offering them a diversity of healthy greens and tasty meat will contribute to keeping them satisfied and interested. You can also include fish meals as well as occasional nuts in their diet, but also any other meal which is fresh and not commercially processed.

On top of that, ensuring they are getting enough doses of calcium and vitamins is essential.

– Clean Water

Hermit crabs rely on the water during their entire life, although they are not able of surviving in it. They need to hydrate both their bodies and shells, as well as to clean themselves up and keep their gills moist for breathing purposes.

Such water needs to be de-chlorinated and clean, which means that not changing it for several days or using untreated tap water is a big life-threat. And remember, they need both fresh and saltwater to be available and approachable at all times.

– Group Keeping

A single hermit crab can suffer from extreme stress, as well as depression, which can shorter its lifespan by much. Indeed, these animals are highly sociable and depend on their tiny or large colonies to thrive.

In order to ensure a happy life for your new pets, make sure to always house them in groups of at least 3. And be attentive about the size of the individual hermits across a group, as it is necessary for them to be similar. Otherwise, you may be risking the larger hermits bullying the smaller ones.

– Enough Space

Cramped enclosures can certainly reduce the overall well-being of these pets. They need enough space to keep their activity levels normal, but also not to disturb each other or get into conflicts. Hermit crabs have to walk, explore, climb and dig around to thrive.

If you own a smaller group of medium-sized hermits, please keep in mind that a 20-gallon tank is suggested. And also, it is good to plan ahead. In fact, they will grow over time and they will consequentially require more space.

Good Substrate

Tank substrate may seem like a somehow decorative factor for many pet enclosures, but not when it comes to hermit crabs. Indeed, the substrate is super-important.

This is their only refuge place when feeling threatened or stressed or when molting, so if it is not adequate it can cause major complications both to their mental and physical health.

A good choice substrate for modern tanks is coconut fiber. Although for many years, it was thought that sand is the best solution as it recreates their natural habitat conditions, it is nowadays recommendable to use softer variations instead. Coconut fiber holds humidity better and there is no risk of it getting into the shell and hardening inside.

Another important thing when it comes to the substrate is providing the right thickness of it. Make sure there is enough space for your hermit crabs to burrow completely, as they need piece and dark in order to molt properly. If you have medium-sized hermits, a 6-inch depth is recommendable.

Adequate Environment

Hermit crabs need tropical environmental conditions to thrive. Therefore, both warm temperature, as well as high humidity, is essential. If this is not provided, they will die soon enough.

Daily temperature levels need to be between 75- and 85-degrees Fahrenheit while night temperatures should be in the range of 65- and 75-degrees Fahrenheit.

This can only be obtained with the use of appropriate heaters, even if you live in a tropical area. Also, it is important to keep these levels stable in order to avoid stress caused by oscillations.

Ideal humidity has to be between 75- and 85% at all times. You can obtain that by frequent misting activities or with the help of a fogger, as well as a fully automated humidifier.

This is vitally important, as they otherwise would not be able of breathing through their modified gills. Therefore, please make sure to always monitor these are stable with the help of a hygrometer.

Wild Hermit Crab Lifespan

If the life expectancy of a well-maintained and healthy pet hermit crab has surprised you, wait to read about the lifespan of a wild hermit crab.

Although there are still some open researches which are trying to prove they can live longer, it is so far known that these amazing creatures can survive up to 30 and even 40 years, according to National Geographic and Wikipedia. How amazing is that?

Wrapping Up

Adopting hermit crabs is not a short-term engagement. Luckily. These pets can survive for many, many years in captivity when their owners provide them a suitable home with great environmental conditions. And sometimes, they may even outlive their humans, too.

You can easily achieve that as well, with enough effort and goodwill. To cover the basics, start with adopting your pets from a trusted source as this will ensure that your pets are not abducted from the wild.

Therefore, this is the best foundation you can start with and can provide long life to your pets by following the above guidelines. Good luck!

Hermit Crabs - Updated: March 2, 2021
avatar 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.

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