We love hermit crabs. They are such beautiful and fragile creatures. But why and how often do hermit crabs change shells?
An adult hermit crab will change shells routhly every 4 – 6 weeks. Changing shells is the crabs equivilint to molting. Some crabs will seek out a smaller shell before they molt because it will fit them better.
We will share with you some more interesting facts about the hermit crab. Perhaps, at the end of the day, you might want to get a hermit crab in your home and study its captivating behavior and traits.
Ready now? Great! Let’s learn more about hermit crabs together.
What Are Hermit Crabs?
Hermit crabs are crustaceans that belong to the Decapoda order. They are found mostly in marine water. Also, from time to time, you can find them on land.
Normal Hermit Crab Behaviors
Hermit crabs are really incredible creatures. They are definitely worth studying and observing. Hermit crabs are somewhat different from other crabs.
Other crabs have a firm abdomen. However, hermit crabs have weak ones. Because of this, they need to be in their shells at all times.
Hermit crabs exhibit a certain kind of behavior that is peculiar to when they are together.
Do Hermit Crabs Switch Shells?
Yes, that’s one of the most fascinating things about hermit crabs. As earlier mentioned, their shells are most often referred to as temporary or mobile homes. This is because they use abandoned seashells as their home. They can switch between these seashells more many times within a day, a week, or their lifespan.
Amazing right?! Yeah.
But what influences this behavior? Are the hermit crabs just like, “Oh, this shell is not fitting anymore, I have to change it!” Or is there any other reason behind this fascinating behavior of hermit crabs? Let’s find out.
Why Do Hermit Crabs Change Shells?
The hermit crab behavior is mostly influenced by its growth. Think of it like this: As humans, we wear clothes. At some point in time, these clothes are just our sizes. But, eventually, we outgrow them. When this happens, we need to get new clothes. The same thing happens with hermit crabs.
As hermit crabs grow, the shells- clothes- they are in gets tighter and tighter. When it is no longer bearable, or it gets so uncomfortable, they change these shells and relocate into a bigger one.
Hermit crabs have a habit of going in search of shells until they find a perfect one. Then, they can leave the previous ones behind and go for the ideal fit.
Also, the shells the hermit crab houses itself in might sustain some crack and damage. It is at this point necessary for the hermit crab to get a new shell
How Often Do Hermit Crabs Change Shells?
As often as the hermit crab grows!
Hermit crabs are always searching for a better home. It might take a great while for them to achieve that. They are in constant competition with their peers to obtain a better shell.
Two hermit crabs of the same size can wrestle with themselves to obtain a new shell. The fight is mostly a drag. One hermit crab is trying to make it into the new shell while the other is trying every means possible to pull it out and assume the space in the new shell.
However, things can be different when there is a group of hermit crabs of various sizes. These crabs exhibit a hilarious coordinated behavior.
Hermit Craps Shell Changing Behavior
A group of hermits of different sizes understands that each one of them can derive a benefit from the other. For instance, if one hermit crab finds a large seashell, it waits under the shell until a bigger hermit crab comes along.
If the shell is still bigger than this newly arrived crab, the hermit crab joins the wait. This is done until a crab that can fill the shell comes. After its arrival, the hermit crabs line up in order of their sizes.
They ready themselves to do a really crazy thing- switch their shells. Too brilliant for crabs, huh? But they do!
The hermit crabs perform the switch in sequence. Once the largest crab shifts into a new shell, the crab next to it abandon its own shell. It then switches into the shell that has just been vacated by the biggest hermit crab.
The cycle continues until the smallest crab changes its shell. After this, all the crabs can go their way and enjoy their new mobile homes till they grow again.
How Often Do Hermit Crabs Change Shells In Tanks?
As long as the shells are available, a hermit crab might from time to time. This is partly to compare which seashell would make a comfortable home for it. Also, it could be that your hermit crab does it for the fun of it.
It might just enjoy the idea of having the options of different homes. It’s a perfectly normal thing to want to exploit those options.
Can A Hermit Crab Survive Without A Shell?
A hermit shell without a shell is as good as dead. If a hermit doesn’t find a shell, and it is robbed of its shell, it will fry in the sun. This rarely happens though. In the times that hermit crabs change their shells, there might most often be an extra shell.
The only problem is that this shell can be a really tight fit for the hermit crab. The hermit crab will continue in its search until it finds a suitable and more appropriate mobile home.
Want To Keep A Hermit Crab?
Hermit crabs are dynamic in their behavior. They can also be really dramatic in their practice.
You can catch a hermit crab changing its shell. All you might need to do is to pick up a new hobby. It’s a fascinating one.
All you need is a crab, a tank, and some two to three shells. Oh, and some food for your hermit crab.
If you can’t afford to do that, you can just check out the fantastic videos of hermits changing their shells online. It’s stunning! We promise you’ll love it.