When it comes to food, we have tried to provide a simple game plan below for supplying your pet hermit crabs with a balanced diet providing all of the protein, vitamins, and nutrients they may need. Stay tuned for a supplemental more detailed and comprehensive discussion of diet.
1. FOOD BOWLS
You must maintain two bowls so that moist foods which require change-out on a regular basis can be kept separate from your dry goods which last longer. It is best to avoid anything that is painted/sealed, metal, or made of a materials that your pet hermit crabs can chip away at. Please clean your bowls on a regular basis as they can be sources of mold and bacteria for your pet hermit crabs.
2. DRY FOOD BOWL (HERMIT CRAB FOOD)
The “dry bowl” is the easy bowl. Buy the goods, make a mix, and top it off as necessary. Replace the bowl at least weekly.
There are a few surprisingly random materials which land hermit crabs actually enjoy eating. Some of the courses listed above may seem a little bizarre, but keep in mind that land hermit crabs are scavengers in the wild, eating detritus, plant litter, and other similar materials as a means of providing supplemental essential nutrients and minerals.
a.) Dried Bugs - Dried meal worms, blood worms, or crickets are good sources of protein.
b.) Plankton or Krill - Another good (and pungent) protein source.
c.) Oyster Shells or Egg Shells - Crushed oyster shells are sold for chickens to improve egg shell quality and provide a good source of calcium.
d.) Earth Worm Castings - This material bears similarity to the detritus land hermit crabs would devour in the wild.
e.) Green Sand - Due to the geological processes that formed this type of sand, it serves as a great source of minerals and nutrients.
f.) Spirulina or Chlorella powder - Microscopic algae that are high in nutrients.
3. FRESH FOOD BOWL (HUMAN FOOD)
Accumulate foods you serve throughout the day for this bowl as long as they are fresh and free from preservatives and seasonings. Due to the nature of these foods, the bowl will need changed every day or two depending upon what you have added. Below are some common human foods safe for your pet hermit crabs.
a.) Fruits - Apple, apricot, avocado, banana, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, cherries, coconut, dates, figs, grapes, honeydew, kiwi, mango, oranges, papaya, passion-fruit, peaches, pears, pineapple, potato, pumpkin, raisins, raspberry, strawberries, tangerine, tomato, and watermelon.
b.) Vegetables - Artichoke, asparagus, beans, beets, bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, green beans, mushrooms, spinach, sprouts, squash, sweet potato, watercress, and zucchini.
c.) Seeds - Chia seeds (try sprinkling the seeds around the habitat), alfalfa seeds., poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, and sunflower seeds.
d.) Grains - Dried oats, dried rice (non-instant), popped popcorn (plain) or cornmeal, and quinoa.
e.) Unsalted Nuts - Almonds, pecans, cashews, and peanuts.
f.) Meats and Seafood - You can add unseasoned meats or seafood that you may be preparing. We recommend cooked items only for household sanitation reasons.
g.) Eggs - Unseasoned cooked eggs are also favorite (with the shell).
h.) Treats - Peanut butter (just peanuts), honey, coconut and olive oil.
Here are a some additional items your pet hermit crabs will enjoy snacking on which take the form of habitat features. These can be placed directly in the crabitat.
a.) Cuttlefish Bone - Commonly provided to pet birds, cuttlefish bones or cuttlebones are a good supplemental source of calcium for your pet hermit crabs.
b.) Catappa Leaves - Dried leaves that provide a good source of cellulose.
c.) Cholla Wood, Cork Bark, Dry Sea Sponge - For exoskeleton health.
d.) Sphagnum Moss - For exoskeleton health.
e.) Flax Seeds - Can be sprinkled on the substrate.
5. COMMERCIAL PELLET FOOD
Generally speaking, we can do better for our pet hermit crabs than feeding them processed pellet food. Please go with the options above, or something similar, to keep your pet hermit crabs healthy. Most options available for commercial pellet food contain ethoxyquin (preservative) and/or copper sulfates (insecticides). These compounds are thought to be harmful to hermit crabs and should be avoided.
Fluker's Premium Pellet Diet for Hermit Crabs is ethoxyquin and copper sulfate free.
Also, having some commercial dried fruit on hand may be useful on a short term basis. Zoo Med Hermit Crab Fruit-Salad is a good, preservative free, option.