10 Land Hermit Crab Types – Popular Hermit Crab Species

There are over 800 hermit crab species around our world. However, most of them are aquatic. When it comes to land hermit crabs, there are about 17 types known today.

Each of them is slightly different from the others, so many first-time owners are often faced with a pretty hard task to identify which hermit crab they have.

If you are wondering which hermit crab type you own, or which should you get as a pet, here comes our carefully selected list of the 10 most popular hermit crab species.

Coenobita Clypeatus (Caribbean Hermit Crab)

Also, popular as the purple pincher, due to its characteristically larger purple claw, this is certainly one of the most popular hermit crab pets around the USA. They have round eyes and do not tend to change their brownish colors by much.

They are quite widely spread and can naturally be found in the Bahamas, Belize, Virgin Islands, Venezuela, southern Florida and west Atlantic. They often go quite further inland rather than spending their lives around ocean shores, and they seem to like finding refuge under the roots of large trees.

Just as most other land hermit crabs, these too are scavengers. A funny fact is that they like feeding even on some animal feces, particularly on those produced by Mona ground iguanas.

This species can grow anywhere from 2 to 6 inches and they prefer shells with round openings. They are great climbers and enjoy having lots of décor across their enclosures.

Coenobita Compressus (Ecuadorian Hermit Crab)

Along with the Caribbean crab, this species also makes one of the top choices for land hermit crab owners across the USA. They feature comma-shaped eyes and can change colors drastically after molting- from bright blue and green variations to strong red or orange.

They are also known as Pacific crabs, as they like spending their lives around ocean shores surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, especially those in Ecuador and Chile. As opposed to Caribbean crab, this species usually prefers staying along the ocean shores, where there is plenty of sand and tidal pools.

They are also known to be quite stubborn and picky when it comes to food choices. They really seem to enjoy flowers and leaves but finding protein-enriched meals which they will accept can be tricky sometimes. Crickets are often the best solution for these pets.

The Ecuadorian crab is known to be one of the smallest terrestrial hermit crabs in the world, and specimens rarely exceed 0,5 inches in length. Their tiny size allows them, on the other side, to be extremely active.

Make sure to provide them extra substrate, as they also like to dig up molting specimens. When it comes to shells, these pets can get quite stubborn.

They obviously need really small shells, but they prefer them to have round openings. They can also adapt the shell to their individual preferences by removing completely all the inner spirals.

Coenobita Perlatus (Strawberry Hermit Crab)

Strawberry hermit crabs are highly popular among hermit crab enthusiasts due to their spectacular bright red-orange coloration, which is associated with their name.

Many specimens can even feature tiny white dots across their bodies, making them resemble strawberries even more. However, they are usually not really suggested to be held as pets, as they require lots of space.

In the wild, they like spending their lives anywhere across the Indo-Pacific, as long as basic environmental requirements are met. More importantly, they are the most amazing travelers.

In fact, they constantly migrate from ocean shores (where they scavenge sand for tasty meals and hydrate with saltwater) to inland forest (where they search for freshwater and can even climb trees to feed on plants!).

They also require regular carotene-enriched meals to maintain their bright coloration. Replicating such an environment in captivity is quite difficult and this is the main reason why they have a relatively short lifespan when held as pets.

Adult specimens usually grow until 3 inches, although there are some reports indicating they were spotted in sizes of even 5 inches. They love inhabiting larger gastropod shells.

Coenobita Cavipes (Passionfruit Hermit Crab)

The passionfruit hermit crabs get their name from a surprisingly funny fact: they can sometimes decide to inhabit hard parts of passionfruit. They are typical of darker colors, from grey or brown to black variations.

This peculiar species originates from eastern parts of Africa, China, Japan, and the Indo-Pacific region in general. They like living in sheltered ocean areas, where they require both fresh and saltwater to thrive.

When the tide is high, they even like to climb on mangrove trees, looking for shelter and food. When it comes to food, they are not picky at all and will happily eat anything nutritive they find- from dead animals and their feces to fresh plants. They are even known for occasionally cannibalizing.

Passionfruit hermit crabs can grow anywhere from 1 to even 4 inches in length, and they usually like inhabiting turbo shells.

Coenobita Rugosus (Ruggie Hermit Crab)

Ruggies are quite distinctive thanks to their individually shaped front claw and the easily recognizable stich marks across it. Additionally, they can be found in basically all sorts of colors.

They originally lived across the Indian Ocean shores as well as those of the South Pacific. They are not picky eaters and are a good choice for inexperienced keepers.

They are quite active little creatures and love exploring every corner of their enclosures, as well as to happily interact with their humans.

Ruggies are relatively small-sized animals and only reach up to 0,5 inches in length. Turbo shells are the best option to house them.

Coenobita Brevimanus (Indonesian Hermit Crab)

Photo by LiCheng Shih – Flickr

Among all land hermit crabs, the Indonesian species is definitely the most terrestrial one. It is also one of the largest types available, so they are often not the first choice among keepers as they require extra space. Additionally, they are super-easy to spot thanks to their ˝oversized˝ front pincher in a lilac color.

In the wild, these animals are found basically anywhere across the Indo-Pacific. Although they require occasional baths in saltwater, they are not big fans of wet areas.

Indeed, they are probably among the types which go most further inland during their adult phase, spending most of their lives deeper in the rainforests. They feature a stronger exoskeleton when compared to most land hermit crabs.

Being that strong, this is one of the rare species which can actually act as a predator sometimes. Especially to ruggies, which are drastically smaller.

Being exceptionally large (older specimens can grow up to 8 inches) and featuring a strong claw, this species often prefers smaller shells when compared to other land hermit crabs. Their ideal shells usually cover only past their third pair of walking legs.

Coenobita Purpureus (Blueberry Hermit Crab)

The blueberry hermit crab is probably one of the rarest choices among crab enthusiasts. As their name indicates, they feature amazing coloration, heading from blue or purple variations.

The blueberry hermit crab is originally found in Japan, especially around the forests of Okinawa. These creatures are known to become quite aggressive towards other specimens when it comes to group feeding time, but they will happily accept any kind of food.

They usually never grow over 3 inches in length, and they prefer housing shells with oval openings.

Coenobita Variabilis (Australian Land Hermit Crab)

The Australian land hermit crab is endemic to northern parts of Australia.

They mostly feature brownish color variations and also have vertical stripes across their claws. Additionally, they are often seen with dark brown spots all over their legs. These creatures do not tend to go further inland but prefer sticking to ocean shore areas instead.

They are rather small and reach up to 1 inch in length. They are also super-adaptable to various kinds of shells.

Coenobita Violascens (Viola Hermit Crab)

Although they are reported to be kept as pets, the c. violascens are quite rare and there are still many things about them to be researched.

What is commonly known is that they descend from Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines and even Tanzania. Adult specimens are usually seen in darker colors, especially purple variations.

They can often feature dark brown patches on their lower bodies. What is peculiar about these hermit crabs is that, after becoming older, they seem to prefer returning to the beach area rather than continuing living in the mangrove forest.

They grow up to 3 inches and they love inhabiting both auger and fox shells.

Coenobita Scaevola (Red Sea Hermit Crab)

The Red Sea hermit crab can be found mainly around the Indian Ocean. Although this species of hermit crab has not been studied very well, one thing is certain: it can endure really harsh conditions.

This crab lives close to the shore, in areas, where temperature can reach up to 91 °F (33 °C). To avoid this hot temperature, during the day the crab burrows itself 4-5 inches (10-12 cm) deep in the sand, where the temperature is still around 82 °F (28 °C).

The Red Sea hermit crab is tiny; the full-grown adults only reach about 0.4-0.8 inches (1-2 cm) in size, which makes them perfect for keeping them as pets.

They are omnivorous, just like other hermit crabs, they will eat anything they find.

Wrapping Up

We hope that our list and basic description of the most popular hermit crab species will help you in deciding which one suits your home best. And who knows, maybe you decide to adopt more than one.

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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