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Species Information: Coenobita Perlatus
This hermit crab can be found in Madagascar, Australia, and Indonesia, and has spread to parts of South America, and to the West Indies. This is the hermit crab many hermit crab enthusiasts dreamed of in the 1970’s but were unable to get because they could not be imported into the U.S. until the 1990’s. Here is your chance to own one now!
This is very important to sustaining the life of your friendly hermit crab. This is also where most people fail at raising hermit crabs for pets. I used to raise these little critters when I was little and learned much about these animals the hard way: Through trial and error. The good news is that what I learned worked over and over again and can pass that information on to you now.
Molting is when your hermit crab sheds his outer shell and his exoskeleton. There are a few very important things you need to know to make this possible for your little friend. First, you need to provide your crab with the right substrate. I personally have had success with two different substrates, one is sand. If you choose to go with sand make sure that it is clean and keep it moist. Not soggy, but moist. The best way to tell when it’s moist enough is to take your finger and draw a smiley face in the sand. If you can do it then you have it just right. When using sand it needs to be 6 to 8 inches deep.
Another good substrate to use is moss. It also needs to be stacked until it reaches a height of 6 to 8 inches. It must be kept moist at all times. When your crab begins to eat a lot and starts digging in the substrate these are signs that he is getting ready to molt. Another thing to have ready before this happens is a couple of new shells for him to pick from. After he molts the next thing he will do is dig his way back to the surface and search for a new shell to climb into. At this point his skin will be jelly-soft until his new exoskeleton begins to harden, so, the best thing to do is to go ahead and order a couple of shells when you order your hermit crab. The good news is you’re at the best place ever to get shells for your new friend! Right here at Reptile City. You do not want to disturb your crab while he is molting, just be patient and wait until he has climbed back to the surface and climbed into his new shell.
This species is very beautiful if cared for properly. I recommend this species for the experienced hermit crab keeper because it needs lycopene and beta carotene for a proper diet and to maintain its beautiful bright red to bright orange color and good health. This can be achieved with store-bought supplements or with a proper diet of sun dried shrimp, dried plankton, or color-enhancing fish food such as that offered for beta fish. They must have enough salt water to fully submerge themselves in at all times.
Size and Longevity:
This species grows to around 2 to 4 in inches in length and has been reported to live from 6 to 8 years. They are nocturnal and move mostly at night. They are also social creatures and seem to do best in groups of two or more and they are also far more entertaining and more fun to watch if you have more than one because they will interact with each other. This species is distinguishable to other species do to the fact that it has a very large claw for its size and the claw is lilac in color.
Habitat and Caging Requirements:
These hermit crabs are arboreal, meaning they enjoy climbing. A good 5 to 10 gallon tank can house 2 or 3 of these cute little fellows, they don’t require much room. You can use 6 to 8 inches of moist sand for substrate or moss stacked 6 to 8 inches deep. I have also found that adding a cuddle bone like parakeets use to keep their beak sharp helps with their molting by providing them with calcium. Use low-wattage bulbs for lighting, add a couple of water dishes, one with plain water and another with salt water, add rocks, corkwood, or driftwood and a couple of extra shells and you are all set to go for the life of your new friend. Be sure to change the water in their bowls every 2-3 days for optimum health.
Temperature and Lighting Requirements:
These animals are primarily nocturnal so they seem to do best with low-wattage bulbs for lighting. They are also used to tropical or subtropical temperatures so you need to keep the temperature of their habitat around 70 to 80 degrees and keep the substrate moist at all times.
Feeding and Nutrition:
These little guys seem to do well on commercial hermit crab food, but also have a huge appetite for many other food items as well such as: apples, bananas, peaches, pieces of fish, and chicken just to name a few. This species also appreciates a variety of green vegetables.
Handling and Care:
These animals almost seem to enjoy moving, playing, and climbing. I do not recommend holding them if they are acting as if they are trying to molt because they are very delicate at this time. This crab would make a stunning addition for the serious hermit crab collector.