What Do Hermit Crabs Eat? (8 Healthy Foods for Crabs)

by McKenny Joshua | Last Updated: June 21, 2019

So What Do Hermit Crabs Eat?

If you intend to purchase a hermit crab as a pet and have no idea what to feed it, relax. I wrote this article with you in mind.

Hermit crabs are omnivorous scavengers and as such; they enjoy having variety in their diet.

According to Sue Fox, the author of Hermit Crabs (Complete Pet Owner’s Manuals), he noted that these crab specie can make interesting pets — since they’re easy to care for and their foods are all around us.

This Table shows the feeding chart for Hermit Crabs, including foods they eat, scientific names, and nutrients contained:

Hermit Crabs FoodsScientific NamesNutrients Per serving
Marigold petalsCalendula officinalisAntioxidants, Volatile oils0.73 oz
Oak leavesQuercus myrsinifoliaAstringent, Anodyne, Styptic, etc.1.28 oz
Tree barksPinus sylvestrisDead cells, Tannins, Suberins0.065%
Fresh foodsFresh foodsFiber, Low Sugar, Vitamins3.03 oz
Scrambled eggsCorydalis aurea Folate, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B12, Selenium.1.49 oz
GrapesVitisFiber, Potassium, Minerals2.0%
SpinachSpinacia oleraceaFolic acid, Vitam A, Iron2.08%
Sweet Corn CasseroleZea maysVitamin B12, Folic acid, Iron1.18 oz
Fruit medleyMespilus germanicaFolate, Potassium, Essential minerals0.27 oz
HoneyMelliferaAntioxidants, Glucose, Sucrose, Kojibiose0.48 oz
Broccoli headsBrassica oleracea var. italicaVitamin C, Fiber, Folic acid1.28%

They have different preferences. Give them a variety to know what your crabs love. 

To help them live for long, give them fresh and saltwater. Ensure that their cage always has crab food.

Remember to put extra proteins in the food, and also some vegetables. But just… what does a hermit crab eat?

Hermit Crabs require antioxidants and calcium, so they usually eat brightly-colored vegetables, marigold petals, oak leaves, tree barks, fresh foods, scrambled eggs, spinach, broccoli heads, fresh rose, sweet corn casserole, fruit medley, honey, and grapes.

Generally, food like tofu, plain popcorns, sardines and also scrambled eggs, entice them.

Land hermit crabs love different fruits. Those fruits include apples, bananas, mangoes, kiwi, and sweet potatoes. Crabs also eat fruit medley, guava, and fruit dessert.

They also eat Kales, hollyhock flowers, greensand, green beans, hempseed, and honey. 

Mostly they enjoy a combination of apple with one or two more fruits. Those in the wild eat fallen fruits, grass, and plants. They also eat decaying woods and leaf litter.

How to Feed Your Hermit Crabs

1. Feeding Your New Crabs

a). Food

The commercial crab food that you purchase must be of high quality.  There is a wide variety to select. You can choose a few and alternate.

These will ensure that your crab gets the right minerals and eat a balanced diet.

B). Fruits and Vegetables

Since they enjoy choosing a variety, give them different fruits and vegetables each day.

Don’t first cook the vegetables. First rinse the vegetables’ in clean water, before giving the crabs.

Remember that fruits and vegetables are not a substitute for commercial crab foods. They are just a supplement treat.

Hermit crabs get a lot of nutrients from the industrial food crabs. Since they eat little in a slow way, give them once per day.

C). Woods

Just as the wild crabs enjoy eating wood, it’s not different from your crab. Ensure that the crab habitat has a piece of wood.

Apart from eating, they also play with it. Remove it once it becomes slimy or old. Unlike fruits, woods last longer and are readily available.

d). Proteins

If you want your crab to grow stronger, don’t assume proteins in their foods.

Some of the benefits of protein to crabs include; helps in maintaining crabs musculature and exoskeleton. They also require protein to process carbohydrates.

You can get proteins from seafood, animal proteins, grubs or worms after the rain.

You can alternate the protein every day when feeding your crabs.

Note: When giving your crabs animal proteins, first remove the bones.

e). Treats

Just like humans, you can give your crab a gift. Though your crab enjoys eating fruits and vegetables, some natural peanut butter is good.

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You can also treat them with some honey or trail mix. Washed grass and popcorns are also lovely alternative treats.

f). Calcium supplements

Apart from proteins, your crab also requires calcium supplements. These will ensure that it retains a healthy body, proper shell maintenance, and a good exoskeleton development.

Food like a crushed oyster shell and Cuttlebones is rich in calcium. Calcium sand substrate is also a great substitute.

g). Feeding them at night

Crabs are nocturnal. They like feeding in the evening or during the night. During the day, they enjoy hiding or burrowing inside the sand.

If you feed the crabs with meat food or seafood, remove it in the morning. Some pests and flies get attracted to these foods.

f). Use shallow dishes

When deciding on the bowl to use when feeding your crabs, ensure it is superficial.

If you use a taller bowl, you will starve your crabs. It might be impossible to access food. 

The dish should be plastic and non-porous. They have a high sensitivity in metallic bowls. Germs and bacteria’s thrive well in a porous material.

2. You Need To Control the Environment Of Your Crab

a). Water

You have to give your crab some water. They will play with it, drink and take a bath. If you are using tap water, use a de-chlorinator.

If the water has chlorine and chloramines, it will affect the gills of your crab. To protect your crab from suffocating, provide both fresh and saltwater. It helps the gills of your crabs to stay wet.

b). Control the level of humidity

To enable your crab breath well, ensure there is a high humid. They are likely to suffocate if the level goes low.  It should be around 75%.

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A natural sponge can help you.  You need to put it inside the water dish. It should be in the enclosure to be able to disperse the moisture.

c). Ensure that your compound is clean

You need to clean the crab tank regularly. These will help to avoid any form of contamination.

Once you clean, replace the woods and the substrate. Twice or thrice in a year, remove all the water and wash the tank clean. Wash the water dishes and food bowl regularly.

When cleaning it, avoid cleaning chemicals. If you accidentally put insect spray or wood polish in the food or water, the crab will die. Room deodorants and fresheners are also very poisonous to the crabs.

d). Playing

When playing with the crabs, avoid putting them on the carpet. In most cases, when washing carpets, people use chemicals.

Those chemicals are very harmful to your crab. If you have to put it down, put it on the lino floor or the floor with tiles.

What Should You Not Feed Hermit Crab? List of Foods

Some foods are harmful to crabs. Others are not harmful, but the crab will not eat. Such menu includes lemons. 

Here is a list of food; you should never give to your crabs. Note that this list is not conclusive.

  1. The aconite, also known as monk’s hood.
  2. The African violet leaves
  3. The avocado leaves, skin and put
  4. Boxwood
  5. Catnip
  6. Dill
  7. Garlic
  8. Lavender
  9. Mayweed
  10. Morning glory
  11. Onions
  12. Papaya seeds
  13. Rosemary
  14. Tobacco
  15. Wormwood
  16. Tea tree.

If you realize that your crab has no appetite, there is a high probability they are sick.

Since crabs feed mostly at night, you might not understand faster. You need to be extra cautious and even watch them at night when feeding

The crabs are very social. When playing with them, you can put their lives in danger if you place them on a carpet.

When disinfecting their inhabitant, you need to careful of the products you use.

Feed them well and provide a variety of food for them to select. Before giving them any sustenance and fruits, ensure that it is not harmful to their health.