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Do Hermit Crabs Need a Heater? 5 Facts to Consider

If you are getting an enclosure ready to house some amazing hermit crabs inside, you are probably being the responsible keeper and asking yourself what needs to be setup and what can be skipped.

In order for these creatures to thrive, appropriate humidity and temperature levels need to be provided. But do hermit crabs really need a heater, or is relying on room temperature levels enough?

Well, unless you live in a tropical area with stable conditions and never use an air conditioner, a heater is necessary for hermit crabs. Although some resources report that hermit crabs can live happily at not-so-warm temperature ranges, this is not quite true.

In fact, even if they can survive for several months under non-tropical parameters, they are just surviving and not fully living.

Best Temperature for Hermit Crabs

In the wild, hermit crabs live around ocean shores of tropical areas of the world. Therefore, they require such temperature levels which can imitate those of their natural habitats. These animals are not able of creating their own body temperature, but they need to absorb warmth from their environment instead.

During daytime, the ideal range goes from 75- to 85 °F. At nighttime, once they get slightly more active, temperature levels can go anywhere between 65 and 75 °F. If you are wondering which temperature becomes dangerous and forces these pets into hibernation, that would be 62 °F or lower.

Although the necessary environmental conditions are pretty high, that does not mean that you will have to break the bank to achieve them.

Indeed, with these pets not demanding large enclosures but rather 10- or 20-gallon tanks for domestic mini-colonies, a simple heat mat will be more than appropriate to provide the ideal warmth.

Heat Mat for Hermit Crabs

Products like Fluker’s Heat Mat make an amazingly simple yet effective heating solution for your hermit crab tank. It is really affordable and available online, so you do not have to worry about your local pet stores availability.

This heat mat is appositely designed for hermit crabs, so it certainly emits the ideal temperature levels for these creatures. But please make sure to choose the right voltage for the size of your tank, as there are several options to choose from.

Heaters like this are super easy to install and there is absolutely no need to think of cord passages across the tank. Simply stick it on the outside part of your tank, as it is self-adhesive, and plug it into the closest socket.

As opposed to some other heat mats, this one is supposed to be set on the side part of the tank, not on the bottom of it. With hermit crabs being little burrowers that need plenty of substrate across their tank, placing the heat mat under the tank could either burn your pets or present a fire hazard.

So, as long as you follow the super-simple instructions there will be no issues at all. Your hermit crabs will happily explore around their warm environment and will have great conditions for a healthy life in captivity.

And finally, please ensure there is always a functioning thermometer in the middle of the tank. This will help you in constantly monitoring temperature parameters and will allow you to react fast once these go outside the required ranges.

Do Hermit Crabs Need a Heating Lamp?

Hermit crabs need a heater of your choice, but they do not necessarily require both a heating lamp and a heating mat.

However, they do need to have a 12-hour cycle of interchanging day and night conditions, so an upper lamp that emits light is certainly highly welcome. It is up to you, however, to choose if such a lamp will double as a heater or not.

How to Keep Hermit Crabs Warm Without a Heater?

There are several different ways of keeping your hermit crabs warm without a heater, depending on the size of your tank. For instance, as an alternative to heater mats, you can try using heat lamps that are placed at the top of the tank.

This can double as a heating and a light source, but more frequent misting activities will be required. Next, quality humidifiers can be handy because they can both provide warmth and humidity to tanks.

There are also some first-aid heating tricks that you can use when you are transporting your pets to another location or when you perhaps run out of electricity.

You can simply spray around their enclosure with warm de-chlorinated water or even place some hand warmers on the inside. Such solutions are obviously not good for the long-term but can be quite handy when needed.

Can Hermit Crabs Get Too Hot?

Yes, hermit crabs can easily get too hot if being exposed to warmer temperatures outside the suggested parameters. Indeed, they can even die if such a state persists for a longer time.

Clear signs that your pets are being too hot are increased activity during daytime, a musty smell present around the enclosure, hermits leaving their shell in a desperate attempt to cool down or even visible brown liquid being discharged from their bodies.

Allowing the temperature across the tank becoming too warm (or oppositely, too cold) can cause irreparable damage to their wellbeing, so constant monitoring of their environmental parameters is vitally important. And no owner should ever rely on room-temperature levels.

Wrapping Up

Whenever adopting a tropical animal, being it a lizard or a hermit crab, it is extremely important to re-create their natural environmental conditions as much as possible.

These creatures are designed to thrive under certain temperature levels and they have the right to such levels being provided to them once they get to live in captivity.

It is up to you to choose the heating method for your hermit crab enclosure but keeping it simple is sometimes the best option.

As long as you make sure that your pets are getting enough warmth from their environment and you provide the other basic requirements, you may just be surprised with how long these creatures maybe your roommates for.

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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