I know hermit crabs aren’t a selling option on MM, and not a big thing here, but I figured I’d try.
8 years ago I rescued 5 hermies from a school program, upgraded their lifestyle, and enjoyed their time with me so much. (All named for vacuum cleaners; Hoover, Kirby, Shark, Dyson, Roomba)
For the last 2 years, it has just been 2 (Kirby, Hoover) of them as the others passed, and they spent their time playing together.
Hoover passed from old age last night, meaning Kirby is alone.
He is elderly and grumpy, but I don’t want being alone to cause him stress.
I won’t be getting anymore, so do I have to give up my last boy for adoption, or should he be alright on his own for his remaining time?
I’ve never kept hermit crabs and I don’t know much about them, but from what I’ve read they shouldn’t really be housed alone. It depends how long you think he’s going to live. He would likely be fine on his own for a little bit (I don’t know how long until problems occur), but it’s not ideal for him to live many months without another crab. It’s probably not super helpful advice but it just depends on what you think. If he’s going to live a while, then it would be better for him to be with another crab, you might be able to give him to someone you know who might want to keep crabs as pets.
@mblaney used to keep them, so she might be able to provide better advice.
I really appreciate that. It would break my heart to give him up…but he’s still healthy and I don’t want to shorten his time here with the stress of being alone for long. What a hard situation
I’m pretty sure I’ve seen various crab species on MM before.
Hermit crabs live many decades, so it’s very very unlikely that your hermies died of old age. Hermit crabs essentially always die of care-related issues (mine included, it’s why I don’t keep them anymore), as they are actually quite difficult to care for properly. They need huge enclosures, a varied diet, and both saltwater and freshwater (with the exception of Purple Pinchers, which can ?supposedly? survive with only fresh) deep enough to entirely submerge in.
Also, almost all hermit crabs are wild-caught, with the exception of a very few places working with very dedicated hobbyists to produce captive bred babies, which are naturally more expensive than wild-caught, especially because it’s not simple to breed them.
If you saw them interacting with antennae, they were having a normal social interaction. If they were interacting with each other with claws, they were fighting. Hermit crabs will often cannibalize each other during molting despite being a social species, so to minimize this they need a lot of space so they can safely burrow during molting. I kept mine in a 40 gallon and honestly it was too small for more than a few.
I think it’s fine to keep single hermit crabs (that is kinda a hot take). It’s not ideal, but their ideal conditions are a lot more involved than many reptiles, and keeping them singly at least protects them from cannibalism. If you know someone close by that can be reached by a single, short car ride (to prevent PPS, post-purchase syndrome, I think it’s called with hermies), and that will provide a very large enclosure with only 1-3 other hermit crabs of the same species, then I would adopt your remaining hermie out. Otherwise, it is likely safer to keep it solo.
Thank you so so SO much for this wonderful and detailed advice.
I will forever miss their little antennae interactions, but my remaining fella is a bit of a bruiser so unless I am able to find a home within driving distance with minimal crabs in a huge tank…I think I’ll keep this boy here with me and treat him like a king so he doesn’t feel bored.
If I start seeing stress signals a few weeks from now when the lonliness might set in, I’ll see what else I can do.
I agree with you fully, they are often touted as easy minimal care pets, when they aren’t. I’m not sure what killed my Hoover, but not knowing his background makes things so hard. He’s back on his home beach now I suppose, RIP.
Thank you again
I was wondering if a small mirror might help? I know with some animals mirrors can help with the loneliness.
Hermit crabs are so cute i always wanted some. Ive had other crabs and even a crayfish! I really enjoy watching them. I hope your lonely baby continues to thrive.
Thank you so much! I may honestly try a mirror just to see if he notices himself lol, currently he is attacking a stalk of bok choy like it insulted his family
Ain’t that the truth. I desperately wanted some hermit crabs when I was a kid (and it seemed like they were being sold everywhere in the 90s, especially in my coastal California tourist town), but my mom refused to let me have them, insisting that they weren’t as easy to care for as most people claimed. When I grew up and started researching their care with the intent of finally getting some, I realised just how right she was…to the point that I decided against keeping them. (Turns out my parents usually had very good reasons when they disallowed a particular pet.) They’re definitely NOT low-maintenance pets and they need a ton of space. I still think they’d be fun to have and I now feel much better-equipped to give them the proper care, but I think I’ll hold off until/unless they become more available captive-bred, or I happen across some in need of rescue/re-home.
@cmills, I hope your remaining boy adjusts to his solitude well and continues to thrive with you. If you happen to have any pictures of him, I’d love to see him!
Here is the goon in question (blueish green gray shell). He just got a full tank clean, new toys, a new food station, and lots of new climbing structures…and instantly tested both the security system and my patience by finding the one way to escape I overlooked and then just waiting on the table for me to walk by and see him
The single photo of the white shell boy was Hoover before he passed, he had perked up by I figured it was his last hurrah (it was) so I took a photo of him.
And yeah, I’ll never purchase any hermies or recommend them, but this rescue boy and his 4 siblings who have moved onto the Great Beach in the Sky have changed my life and I thank them for that