Why is my hermit crab not eating? Common reasons and solutions

Why is my hermit crab not eating? Common reasons and solutions

Are you worried about your hermit crab not eating? It’s essential to understand the possible reasons behind this behavior and find solutions to help your pet start eating again. In this blog post, we will explore common reasons why hermit crabs may stop eating and provide practical tips on how to address these issues. Whether you’re a new or experienced hermit crab owner, understanding the factors that affect their appetite is crucial for maintaining their health and well-being. Let’s delve into this topic further!

Possible reasons why hermit crab is not eating

1. Inadequate habitat conditions: If the hermit crab’s environment lacks proper temperature, humidity, or lighting, it may result in appetite loss.

2. Stress or fear: Hermit crabs are sensitive creatures, and changes in their surroundings or exposure to loud noises can cause stress and lead to a decrease in eating habits.

Inadequate habitat conditions

Inadequate habitat conditions can directly impact a hermit crab’s appetite and overall well-being. Here are some common indicators that the habitat may not be suitable for your hermit crab:

  • Temperature and humidity levels are not suitable, affecting the crab’s ability to regulate its body temperature.
  • Lack of hiding spots or proper substrate limits the crab’s ability to feel safe and secure.
  • Insufficient space for the hermit crab to move around can lead to stress and decreased activity levels.

These factors can cause a decline in appetite, as the hermit crab may feel uncomfortable or anxious in its environment.

Stress or fear

Recent changes in the environment or handling, presence of aggressive tank mates, and exposure to loud noises or excessive light can all contribute to stress or fear in hermit crabs. These factors may cause them to stop eating and drinking. It is important to provide a calm and stable environment for your crab, ensuring that they have plenty of hiding spaces and proper tank mates. Avoid sudden environmental changes and minimize exposure to loud noises or excessive light to help alleviate their stress levels.

Health issues or illness

Parasitic infections can affect the appetite of hermit crabs, causing a decrease in eating. These infections can be caused by parasites such as mites or worms, which disrupt the digestive system and make feeding uncomfortable for the crab.

Injuries or physical discomfort can also hinder a hermit crab’s feeding behavior. If a crab has been injured or is experiencing pain in its mouth or limbs, it may struggle to eat properly. This could be due to accidents, fights with other crabs, or even improper handling by their owner.

Underlying diseases that impact the digestive system can also lead to decreased appetite in hermit crabs. Conditions such as gastrointestinal infections or blockages can cause pain and discomfort when eating and drinking. It is important to monitor your crab’s health closely and consult a veterinarian if you suspect any underlying issues affecting their digestion.

Possible solutions:

  • Regularly inspect your hermit crab for signs of parasitic infection.
  • Ensure proper habitat conditions are provided to minimize injuries and physical discomfort.
  • Seek veterinary advice if you suspect an underlying disease impacting your crab’s appetite.

Molting process

During the molting process, hermit crabs shed their exoskeleton and grow a new one. This can be a stressful period for them, leading to a decrease in appetite. It is important to provide them with the right conditions and diet during this time to ensure their health and successful molting. Additionally, offering ample hiding spaces and maintaining proper humidity levels can help alleviate any stress or fear they may be experiencing during this process.

Inadequate diet

A lack of variety in their diet may lead to a loss of interest in food. To ensure a balanced diet, include a mix of commercial hermit crab food along with fresh fruits, vegetables, and protein sources like fish or shrimp. Additionally, be cautious as some foods can be toxic to hermit crabs. If your crab is reluctant to eat, check if any recently introduced food items are causing this reluctance.

By providing a varied and nutritious diet for your hermit crab that includes both commercial food options and fresh ingredients, you can help maintain their interest in eating. It’s important to avoid toxic foods and regularly assess the impact of new additions on their appetite.

Behavioral changes

Sudden changes in behavior, such as a hermit crab not eating, can be a sign of stress or anxiety. This can affect their eating patterns and overall well-being. It is important to monitor their activity level outside of feeding times and observe how they interact with their tank mates to ensure they are not experiencing any undue stress.

Additionally, it’s crucial to consider that different species of hermit crabs may have specific preferences regarding feeding schedules. Being aware of these requirements will help you provide the appropriate care for your crab and prevent any potential issues related to eating or drinking habits.

Solutions to help your hermit crab start eating again

Evaluate and improve habitat conditions: Ensure that your hermit crab’s enclosure is set up correctly with appropriate temperature, humidity, and substrate. Provide hiding spots and climbing structures to mimic their natural habitat.

Reduce stress and fear factors: Create a calm environment for your hermit crab by avoiding loud noises or sudden movements around their tank. Limit handling to reduce stress and allow them to feel secure in their surroundings.

Consult a veterinarian for health issues: If your hermit crab continues to refuse food despite improvements in their habitat, it’s important to seek professional advice from a veterinarian who specializes in exotic pets.

Provide a proper molting environment: Hermit crabs require specific conditions during the molting process. Ensure they have access to moist sand or coconut fiber substrate so they can molt safely and comfortably.

Ensure a balanced and nutritious diet: Offer a variety of foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, protein sources like fish or shrimp pellets, along with commercial hermit crab food. This will provide the necessary nutrients for their overall health.

Observe and address behavioral changes: Monitor your hermit crab for any unusual behaviors such as excessive hiding or lethargy. Address these changes promptly as they may indicate underlying health issues affecting appetite.

Evaluate and improve habitat conditions

Ensure proper temperature and humidity levels in the enclosure to create an ideal habitat for your hermit crab. This will help regulate their metabolism and appetite, encouraging them to eat. Additionally, provide enough hiding spots and climbing structures for your hermit crab as they are natural explorers and need a stimulating environment. Finally, check for any signs of overcrowding or lack of space as this can cause stress which may lead to a decrease in appetite.

Reduce stress and fear factors

Avoid sudden loud noises or excessive handling. Hermit crabs are sensitive creatures that can easily get stressed out by loud sounds or too much physical contact. By minimizing these stressors, you can create a calm and comfortable environment for your crab.

Create a quiet environment with minimal disturbances. Hermit crabs thrive in peaceful surroundings, so it’s important to reduce any sources of noise or disturbance in their living space. Keep their tank away from high-traffic areas and avoid placing it near appliances or electronics that produce constant noise.

Introduce new tank mates slowly to prevent aggression. When adding new companions to your hermit crab’s habitat, take the time to introduce them gradually. Sudden changes in the social dynamic may cause stress and aggression among the crabs. Slowly acclimating them will help minimize conflict and ensure a more harmonious living environment for all occupants.

Remember, reducing stress and fear factors is crucial for the overall well-being of your hermit crab!

Consult a veterinarian for health issues

Look out for signs of illness such as abnormal behavior, discoloration, or lethargy. These may indicate that your hermit crab is experiencing health issues and requires professional attention. Seek advice from a veterinarian if there are persistent eating problems to address any underlying causes. It’s also worth considering testing the water quality in your hermit crab’s habitat to rule out any potential environmental issues that could be affecting its appetite.

Provide a proper molting environment

Offering a deep substrate allows your hermit crab to successfully molt. This gives them the necessary space to bury themselves and shed their exoskeleton. Maintaining appropriate humidity levels during molting periods is crucial for your crab’s well-being, as it helps facilitate the molting process and prevents complications. It’s important to avoid disturbing your crab while it is molting, as this can cause stress and hinder its successful molt.

Ensure a balanced and nutritious diet

Offer a variety of foods to your hermit crab, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and protein sources like fish or shrimp. Additionally, incorporate commercial hermit crab food specifically formulated for their dietary needs. However, be sure to avoid feeding them toxic foods like chocolate, caffeine or salty snacks.

Observe and address behavioral changes

  • Monitor your hermit crab’s behavior closely to identify any unusual or concerning changes.
  • Pay attention to signs of sluggishness, lack of activity, hiding more frequently, or decreased appetite.
  • Investigate possible causes such as stress, improper habitat conditions, health issues, or inadequate diet.
  • Take appropriate action based on the specific behavioral change observed.
  • Is there anything in the tank that could be causing my hermit crab stress?

Hermit crabs are fascinating creatures that require specific care and conditions to thrive in captivity. Understanding their needs and providing a suitable environment is essential to ensure their well-being. If your hermit crab is exhibiting signs of stress, such as excessive hiding, aggression, or loss of appetite, it is crucial to identify potential stressors in its tank. Here are some factors that could be causing stress to your hermit crab:

1. Inadequate Tank Size:

Hermit crabs need ample space to explore, climb, and molt. If the tank is too small, it can lead to stress. Ensure that the tank size is appropriate for the number of hermit crabs you have. A general guideline is a minimum of 5 gallons per hermit crab.

2. Incorrect Temperature and Humidity:

Hermit crabs are sensitive to temperature and humidity fluctuations. Inadequate temperature and humidity levels can cause stress and even lead to health issues. Maintain a temperature of 75-85°F (24-29°C) and humidity levels around 70-80% by using a thermometer and hygrometer.

3. Poor Ventilation:

Proper air circulation is vital to prevent the buildup of ammonia and carbon dioxide in the tank. Insufficient ventilation can lead to respiratory problems and stress. Ensure the tank has adequate ventilation to maintain a healthy environment.

4. Lack of Hiding Spots:

Hermit crabs are naturally shy and require hiding spots to feel secure. Without adequate hiding places such, hermit crabs may feel exposed and stressed. Provide multiple hiding spots such as caves, rocks, or plants to create a sense of security for your crab.

5. Incompatible Tankmates:

Some species of hermit crabs are more social and can tolerate tankmates, while others prefer to live alone. Introducing incompatible tankmates can lead to aggression, stress, and even injury. Research the specific needs and compatibility of different species before adding them to your hermit crab’s tank.

6. Lack of Enrichment:

Hermit crabs are curious creatures and need mental stimulation to stay active and healthy. Without enough enrichment in their tank, such as toys, shells to explore, or climbing structures, hermit crabs may become bored and stressed. Provide a variety of items to keep your crab engaged and entertained.

7. Inadequate Diet:

A proper diet is crucial for the overall health and well-being of hermit crabs. Feeding them a balanced diet with a variety of foods is essential. Avoid feeding them toxic foods like chocolate, caffeine, or salty snacks, as these can be harmful or even fatal. Provide a mix of commercial hermit crab food, fresh fruits and vegetables, and calcium-rich supplements to ensure they receive the necessary nutrients.

If you suspect that any of these factors are causing stress to your hermit crab, take appropriate action. Make the necessary adjustments to the tank size, temperature, humidity, ventilation, hiding spots, tankmates, enrichment, and diet to create a more suitable environment for your hermit crab. Monitor their behavior and health closely to ensure they are thriving.

In conclusion, it is important to understand and address the potential causes of stress in hermit crabs to ensure their well-being. By providing them with the right tank conditions, suitable tankmates, hiding spots, mental stimulation, and a balanced diet, you can create a healthy and stress-free environment for your hermit crab to thrive in. Remember to do thorough research and consult with experts to ensure you are meeting the specific needs of your hermit crab.

Is my hermit crab in its proper temperature range?

As an expert in hermit crab care, I can help you determine whether your hermit crab is in its proper temperature range. Maintaining the correct temperature is crucial for the health and well-being of your hermit crab.

Hermit crabs are ectothermic creatures, meaning they rely on their environment to regulate their body temperature. It is essential to provide them with a temperature range that mimics their natural habitat. The ideal temperature range for hermit crabs is between 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 29 degrees Celsius).

To ensure your hermit crab is within this temperature range, you can use a thermometer to measure the temperature of its habitat. It is important to place the thermometer at the level where your hermit crab usually resides to get an accurate reading.

There are several ways to maintain the proper temperature for your hermit crab. One common method is to use a heat pad or heat lamp placed outside the tank, providing a warm area for your crab to bask. This will create a temperature gradient, allowing your hermit crab to move between warmer and cooler areas as needed.

Another option is to use a submersible aquarium heater, which can be placed in the water bowl to provide warmth. This method ensures that the water temperature remains within the ideal range, as hermit crabs also use water to regulate their body temperature.

In addition to temperature, humidity is another important factor to consider. Hermit crabs require a humidity level of around 70-80%. This can be achieved by misting the tank with water and providing a water dish for the crab to soak in. It is important to monitor the humidity levels regularly and make adjustments as needed.

If you find that your hermit crab is outside of the proper temperature range, it is important to take action to correct it. Failure to provide the appropriate temperature can lead to stress, illness, and even death for your hermit crab.

In conclusion, maintaining the proper temperature range is crucial for the health and well-being of your hermit crab. By providing them with a temperature range of 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 29 degrees Celsius) and a humidity level of 70-80%, you can create a comfortable and stress-free environment for your hermit crab to thrive in. Remember to regularly monitor the temperature and humidity levels and make adjustments as needed to ensure your hermit crab’s well-being.

Does my hermit crab prefer certain types of food?

Yes, hermit crabs do have preferences when it comes to food. While they are omnivores and will eat a variety of foods, there are certain types of food that they tend to enjoy more than others. Providing your hermit crab with a balanced and varied diet is important for their overall health and well-being.

In the wild, hermit crabs have a diverse diet that includes fruits, vegetables, plants, algae, and even meat. Mimicking this natural diet in captivity is essential. Here are some types of food that your hermit crab may prefer:

1. Fruits and Vegetables: Hermit crabs enjoy a variety of fruits and vegetables such as apples, bananas, grapes, carrots, peas, spinach, and lettuce. It is important to offer them in small, bite-sized pieces to make it easier for the crabs to eat.

2. Protein: Hermit crabs also require protein in their diet. Good sources of protein include cooked chicken, fish, shrimp, and even small pieces of boiled egg. You can also offer them dried mealworms or freeze-dried shrimp as a treat.

3. Calcium-Rich Foods: Hermit crabs need calcium for the health of their exoskeleton. Providing calcium-rich foods such as cuttlebone, crushed eggshells, or commercial calcium supplements is essential for their overall well-being.

4. Seaweed and Algae: Hermit crabs naturally consume seaweed and algae in their natural habitats. Including these in their diet with essential nutrients and minerals. You can offer them dried seaweed or even small pieces of nori, which is commonly used for sushi.

When feeding your hermit crab, it is important to remember a few key tips:

1. Offer a variety of foods: Providing a balanced and varied diet is important for meeting all of your hermit crab’s nutritional needs. This includes offering a mix of fruits, vegetables, protein, and calcium-rich foods.

2. Use organic and pesticide-free foods: To ensure the health and safety of your hermit crab, it is best to offer organic and pesticide-free fruits and vegetables. This reduces the risk of them ingesting harmful chemicals.

3. Offer fresh food daily: Hermit crabs are more likely to eat fresh food, so it is important to offer them fresh food daily. Remove any uneaten food from their enclosure to prevent it from spoiling and attracting pests.

4. Avoid toxic foods: Some foods can be toxic or harmful to hermit crabs. Avoid feeding them foods such as chocolate, caffeine, onions, garlic, and citrus fruits as these can be toxic to them.

5. Offer food in small, bite-sized pieces: Hermit crabs have small mouths, so it is important to offer them food in small, bite-sized pieces. This makes it easier for them to eat and reduces the risk of them choking on large pieces of food.

By following these tips and offering a varied and balanced diet, you can ensure that your hermit crab is receiving all the necessary nutrients for optimal health and well-being. Remember to always research and consult with a veterinarian for any specific dietary needs or concerns for your individual hermit crab. With proper care and nutrition, your hermit crab can thrive and live a long and happy life.

Could there be any medical reasons why my hermit crab is not eating?

Hermit crabs are fascinating pets that require a proper diet to stay healthy and thrive. However, if you have noticed that your hermit crab has stopped eating, there may be underlying medical reasons behind this change in behavior. It is important to note that if you suspect a medical issue, it is always best to consult with a veterinarian who specializes in exotic pets for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

1. Poor Habitat Conditions:

Hermit crabs are highly sensitive to their environment, and improper habitat conditions can lead to stress, which in turn affects their appetite. Factors such as incorrect temperature and humidity levels, inadequate substrate, or insufficient hiding places can contribute to a crab’s refusal to eat. Ensure that the habitat is set up according to recommended guidelines, providing the necessary heat, humidity, and proper hiding spots.

2. Inadequate Diet:

A balanced diet is crucial for the well-being of your hermit crab. Some hermit crab owners unknowingly feed their pets an improper diet, leading to nutritional deficiencies and subsequent loss of appetite. Hermit crabs require a combination of commercial hermit crab food, fresh fruits and vegetables, and occasional protein sources, such as boiled eggs or shrimp. Consult reputable sources or a veterinarian to ensure you are providing the correct diet for your hermit crab.

3. Parasites or Infections:

Parasites or infections can affect a hermit crab’s appetite and overall health. Internal or external parasites, such as mites or worms, can cause discomfort and disrupt the crab’s digestive system, leading to a decreased appetite. Infections, such as bacterial or fungal infections, can also affect their appetite. If you notice any abnormal behavior or physical symptoms, such as lethargy, discoloration, or unusual discharge, it is important to seek veterinary attention for proper diagnosis and treatment.

4. Molt-related Issues:

Hermit crabs periodically molt, shedding their exoskeletons to grow larger. During this process, they may lose their appetite or stop eating altogether. Molting is a natural behavior, but it can be a stressful and energy-consuming process for hermit crabs. It is important to provide a safe and undisturbed environment during molting, as any disturbance can cause stress and disrupt the process. If your hermit crab has recently molted or is in the process of molting, it is normal for them to have a reduced appetite.

5. Underlying Health Conditions:

In some cases, a hermit crab’s loss of appetite may be a sign of an underlying health condition. This can include issues such as organ failure, metabolic disorders, or tumors. It is essential to monitor your hermit crab’s behavior closely and look out for any other symptoms, such as weight loss, abnormal growths, or changes in shell appearance. If you suspect that your hermit crab has an underlying health condition, it is best to consult a veterinarian who specializes in exotic pets for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

In conclusion, there are several reasons why a hermit crab may lose its appetite. It is important for hermit crab owners to provide a suitable environment, a balanced diet, and proper care to ensure the well-being of their pets. If you notice any changes in your hermit crab’s behavior or appetite, it is best to consult a veterinarian for guidance and support. By addressing the underlying cause of the loss of appetite, you can help your hermit crab regain its appetite and maintain a healthy and happy life.

How often should I feed my hermit crab?

Feeding your hermit crab is an essential aspect of their care and well-being. These fascinating creatures have specific dietary requirements that need to be met for them to thrive. Therefore, it is essential to understand how often and what to feed your hermit crab.

In general, hermit crabs should be provided with food on a daily basis. It is important to offer a variety of fresh, nutritious foods to ensure they receive a balanced diet. However, it is worth noting that hermit crabs have a small appetite and will not consume large amounts of food in one sitting. Therefore, it is crucial to provide them with small portions to prevent overfeeding and avoid any waste.

When it comes to the actual feeding schedule, it is recommended to offer food in the evening or night time since hermit crabs are primarily nocturnal creatures. This allows them to feed when they are most active and alert.

Now, let’s talk about the specific foods that should be included in your hermit crab’s diet. A well-rounded diet for these crustaceans should consist of a combination of both commercial hermit crab food and fresh, natural options. Commercial hermit crab food can be found at pet stores and should be a staple in their diet. It typically contains a mix of pellets, dried fruits, and vegetables.

In addition to commercial food, you should also provide fresh foods such as small pieces of fruits, vegetables, and protein sources like boiled eggs or small amounts of cooked chicken or fish. These fresh foods should be offered in small amounts and can be rotated to provide variety and ensure a well-balanced diet.

It is important to note that not all fruits and vegetables are safe for hermit crabs to consume. Some common fruits and vegetables that are safe for hermit crabs include apples, bananas, carrots, spinach, and peas. However, it is essential to research and make sure that the specific fruits and vegetables you offer are safe for your hermit crab.

In addition to providing a balanced diet, it is also important to ensure that your hermit crab has access to clean, fresh water at all times. Hermit crabs have gills and need to keep their gills moist to breathe properly. You can provide a shallow dish of water with a sponge or use a water conditioner to remove chlorine and other chemicals from tap water.

In conclusion, feeding your hermit crab a balanced diet is crucial for their overall health and well-being. Offering a combination of commercial hermit crab food and fresh, natural options will ensure they receive the necessary nutrients. Remember to provide small portions to prevent overfeeding and offer food in the evening or night when they are most active. By following these guidelines, you can help your hermit crab thrive and live a happy and healthy life.


Seeking veterinary assistance is crucial if your hermit crab is not eating. A veterinarian specializing in exotic pets can accurately diagnose any underlying health issues and provide appropriate treatment.

Observing behavior and environment can offer valuable insights into why your hermit crab isn’t eating. Ensure that the temperature, humidity, substrate, and tank size are suitable for their well-being. Additionally, watch for signs of stress or aggression from tank mates.

Maintaining a proper feeding routine is vital to ensure your hermit crab’s appetite remains healthy. Provide a balanced diet of commercial crab food along with fresh fruits and vegetables. Offering occasional treats like dried shrimp or mealworms can also encourage them to eat regularly.