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Hermit Crab Goodbye

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hermit crab
Not long after we lost one of our pet rabbits, our final remaining hermit crab died sometime yesterday or the day before.

The reason the time of death is vague is because hermit crabs are generally lethargic creatures, at least in captivity. They do move about from time to time and engage in all sorts of activities, only at a slower pace. But sometimes they just hide in their shells (especially during molting times) and it's hard to tell that they are alive unless you pick them up and detect motion in the shell. They are extremely easy to take care of and require little time to look after. Just keep their food and water fairly fresh and clean the tank a couple of times a year and keep their crabitat warm and humid.

We had already buried a total of three hermit crabs and this guy was the last. He or she lasted nearly two years, but about a month ago it developed a strange condition losing its legs or claws one by one, until he had lost it all at the end. A Google search revealed that this condition is usually caused by stress and some crabs can recover from it, but others succumb to it and die.

This morning I buried the crab, complete with its shell and its severed last two legs, near the buried rabbit outside the house. the kitchen seemed emptier tonight without the crabitat but, as it is with all beings, death is inevitable. I think we did the best we could to make our hermit crab's final days as comfortable as possible.


  1. Actually, hermit crabs need lots of space, specific temperatures, humidity, multiple shells to change into, fresh and salt water, really deep sand for them to dig into, organic food, fresh veggies, fruit, sea food, ect. If they do not have all of these things, they will die.

    Hermit crabs need moist sand that they can dig under to molt in. A big one like the one in your picture needs at least a 2o gallon tank to be even remotely comfortable. The bigger the tank the better!

    I am sorry to hear about the passing of your crab. I hope before you invest in other pets, you will do research and create the proper habitat for them!

    Comment by Anonymous — November 1, 2008 @12:06 pm

  2. I think you should brush up on your hermie skills before getting another crab. Judging from the picture, it probably died from the shell. Painted shells are poisonous to our little friends, but most pet stores use them. About the severed legs, he was probably suffering from stress. If the temperature and humidity aren't just right, then the hermit crab will die. For more info, visit http://www.hermitcrabassociation.org

    Comment by Anonymous — November 9, 2008 @8:25 pm

  3. "we could have bought new ones for company, but that would've lead to a perpetual cycle." -rh

    If they are taken care of correctly they can live for 20 years so there should not be a perpetual cycle.

    Look at http://www.geocities.com/hermit_crabs/carol/

    Comment by Anonymous — June 6, 2009 @2:17 am

  4. wait...painted shells are BAD???DO they really kill hermit crabs??? i gotta know cause i have 2 at home but my hermit crabs arent using them (they're too big)OMG..i could be killing my crabs if they move into those shells..D;thx 4 tellin me...

    Comment by Anonymous — October 13, 2009 @7:29 pm

  5. NOOOO!!! He died because your put him in that shell!!!!
    Plus hermit crabs require A-L-O-T of work to properly take care of!
    Humidity, fresh and salt water, proper subtrate, others of their species, etc.
    They require alot of work!

    Comment by Anonymous — November 24, 2009 @8:20 pm

  6. aww I'm so sorry to hear that!! don't listen to those people who commented, I've had hermit craps for a long time and mine have lasted up to 3 years!! 2 years is insane none will live that long! plus they don't take a lot of care you are right!!! but i have heard painted shells are bad sometimes, I've used them once and my hermit crab turned out fine..

    Comment by Anonymous — March 28, 2010 @2:11 pm

  7. yah they take tons of work! and the shells are toxic to them, any hermit crab lover knows it. i also noticed that theres a piece of paint missing off the shell which means he could of eaten it and gotten sick.

    Comment by anonymous — May 31, 2010 @8:18 pm

  8. And this is why you need to R-E-S-E-A-R-C-H any animal before having it as a pet! No animal, no matter how easy it seams, is ever that easy to take care of, especially hermit crabs! No wonder they kept dying! They need the right humidity, temperature, salt and fresh water, and plenty of NON PAINTED shells!!!! Painted shells, as others have said, is extremely toxic if ingested by hermit crabs! It seams that your crab's shell was already starting to chip. Get real shells from the ocean! Painted shells also look ugly and really tacky.

    Comment by Ccbooya18 — June 12, 2010 @9:39 am

  9. im so sorry im also really glad you told me im getting one and i had know idea how to take care of it!Thanks alot8)

    Comment by emily — June 15, 2010 @4:03 pm

  10. um... the ladie at my local mall who has a thing that sells hermit crabs says that her paints are non toxique and cliniclally proven to not hurt them... does that make a difference?
    and is there ANY WAY to tell them apart from boy or girl?

    Comment by shaughn — June 20, 2010 @7:22 pm

  11. sorry your hermit crab died at least it lived for 2 years i mean they can live for 30 years but 2 years is still a long time to us.i think painted shells are toxic so just in case my hermit crabs wont have painted shells.oh and im also sorry your rabbit died.

    Comment by hermitcrab700 — June 29, 2010 @6:49 am

  12. Don't listen to these people. I've had my hermit crab for 7 years now, and he is soooo easy to take care of. He has always had painted shells, and anyone who knows anything knows that if you buy painted shells, they are made with non-toxic paint. The people who make the shells aren't stupid. When you hear that painted shells are poisonous, they mean that shells that are painted by kids or someone who isn't aware of non-toxic paints. If you buy a painted shell from the pet store, that are painted with paints that will not harm your crab.
    I'm sooo sorry about your bunny and crab(:

    Comment by Stephanie — May 16, 2012 @11:14 pm


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