There are two different species of hermit
crabs that you will commonly find being sold as pets in the United
States, and both of them come from the Caribbean. That makes them exotic
pets. One species is the land hermit crab, also called the Caribbean
crab, the purple pincher crab, or the soldier crab. Its scientific name
is Coenobita clypeatus. The second common species of hermit crab pets in
the US is the Ecuadorian crab, also called the E-crab or Eccie. Its
scientific name is Coenobita compressus.
You can tell which hermit crab you have
by looking at its pinchers. The land hermit crab, or purple pincher crab
will have – surprise! – purple pinchers. The purple pinchers will
probably be a little bit lighter at the tips than the rest of the
pinchers, but that is not always true. The land hermit crabs also have
bumpier pinchers than the Eccie, but you might need to compare them side
by side to see this difference.
Most people choose to buy the land hermit
crabs because they live on fresh water. In their native habitat, land
hermit crabs live in the forest and drink the rain water when it
puddles, so in order to provide a land hermit crab with the right kind
of water you just need to either capture the rain or dechlorinate the
water from your kitchen faucet. There are tablets or drops that you can
use to dechlorinate your water for your land hermit crabs.
Ecuadorian crabs, on the other hand, are
native to Ecuador, which is right on the ocean. These hermit crabs live
in the sand on the beaches and survive on the ocean water. In order to
keep Ecuadorian crabs alive you will have to have a special salt water
environment for them. Some people keep both kinds of hermit crabs in one
tank, but they need to have two places for their crabs to drink and
bathe, a salt water place and a fresh water place.
Hermit crabs are not exactly hermits, as
their names imply. Hermit crabs are very social creatures and they like
to have lots of friends. This is because in their native environment,
hermit crabs travel in groups, called packs, of up to 100 friends and
family. There is a reason that they travel in large packs. Hermit crabs
grow, but their shells do not. They need to be able to find a new shell
when they grow out of their old ones. Packs of hermit crabs are all
sizes and shapes so that they can trade shells when they need to. So if
you want to begin raising hermit crabs just remember, the more the
merrier! Make your hermit habitat large enough to add some friends.
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