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How To Care For Hermit Crabs
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Hermit crabs as pets. What are they? Are they nocturnal tropical pets?What are their behavioural traits? How should you house them? What should you provide as their diet? Are there any additional nutrition requirements? How should you handle them? What are their hygiene requirements? What are the main diseases and parasites which can harm them?

Over recent years there has been an uptake in the ownership of hermit crabs. Not only are they inquisitive, adventurous and playful they are easy to keep and maintain. To know how to keep them healthy requires correct care and nutrition. Understanding the habitat they require is also important.

Each hermit crab is nocturnal and scavenges for food at night in their native tropical habitat in the Caribbean and Florida. Every hermit crab has six legs and a shell it carries on its back. For this is its home. In the wild they live in colonies of hundreds. For your hermit crab is social group orientated.

One of the rewards in keeping hermit crab social groups is that they are popular with children as they are easy to handle. They easily bond with their owners. Many hermit crab owners have become used to them holding onto their jumper or their shirt by their claws. Some hermit crabs curl up on their owners shoulders.

All hermit crabs love to either climb or dig and burrow. Which means that you require twenty gallon glass aquarium tanks with pet playgrounds and toys. By layering your substrate from the bottom up with peat, compost, sphagnum moss to depths of 8 inches to provide somewhere to sleep, rest, molt and hibernate you are replicating the natural habitat. Above this there should be layers of foliage, leaf litter, tree branches and rotting tree bark besides moisture loving plants.

Now that you have substrate foundations for your hermit crab colony you must include an aquarium pet playground fully equipped with exercise toys. Climbing frames and ladders, toilet roll holder tube tunnels, inverted plant pots and inverted cardboard boxes, exercise wheels are all beneficial.

Always ensure your tank has an enclosed lid and adequate aeration and ventilation. By keeping tank temperatures at between a steady 70 degrees to 90 degrees fahrenheit you keep them in their natural environment. Any undertank heating pad ensures constant temperature monitoring.

In the glass aquarium tank always ensure that there are constant supplies of saltwater. For your hermit crab originates from saltwater environments. Bowls of salt water should be left accessible within your tank.

Coming from the Caribbean, hermit crabs thrive on marine organisms such as daphnea. Besides this, they eat corn pieces, green leaf vegetation, carrot pieces, bananas pieces, mango pieces, orange pieces which provide all the nutrition they require. Another source of nutrition essential to the health of your hermit crab is calcium and magnesium.

Whenever your hermit crab emits any chirping noise you must be alert. On this sound your hermit crab is about to start molting. This is one of the reasons you must set up your substrate correctly.

Being able to recognise the gender of your hermit crabs is essential. Between March-April, your hermit crabs start to mate. Our male hermit crab is larger than the female with larger claws and larger abdomen. Another glass aquarium tank is required. In here you house your impregnated female hermit crabs where they lay their eggs. By keeping a pair of males and six females in the same tank there should be harmony. However ensure that your hermit crabs are all equal sized.

Unlike most exotic pets, hermit crabs can live for up to 25 years. At the present time the record for longevity is eighty years. Instead of providing just the essential diet, there are many calcium and magnesium supplements which can enhance the longevity of your pet hermit crabs.

Unless you clean your glass aquarium cage regularly, your hermit crab shall be susceptible to viral and bacterial infections. Mite parasites infect hermit crabs regularly and cause fatalities. As they inhabit marine plants, always clean your tanks. About once per week is sufficient.

Allthough you may not be aware when your hermit crab is ailing, there are some clear tell tale signs of illness. If your hermit crab shell becomes pale, mites or microbacteria have damaged your pet. Another sign is inertia. As is when your hermit crabs stop actively feeding at night.

If you follow these guidelines, you can ensure your hermit crab receives ultimate care.

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