Hermit Crabs: Pets or Not?

What child hasn’t wanted a pet? But taking care of them is a serious matter, and even adults find they can’t always fully commit to the care of, say, a cat or dog. Rebecca and I both had cats and dogs growing up. I also had parrots and guinea pigs, and Rebecca’s family had chickens, turtles, birds, and a white rat. But there were always cats. In Rebecca’s case, lots and lots of cats all at one time.

When I stared the Seababies Adventure series, I researched the sea creatures that would appear in the books. I wanted to share knowledge about them with our young readers. One of the books is about Seamore, a funky little hermit crab. I’m sure you’ve seen them in the ocean or in the stores at the boardwalk gift shop. Tiny little things with painted shells.

cartoon-crab smaller

Many people buy them, but when they return home from vacation. They’re unsure how to care for them. I wanted to get a hermit crab a few times. I was going to name him Seamore, after the character in our book. However, after learning facts about the crabs, I changed my mind for good.

On the beach in their natural habitat, they’re happy, splashing like Seamore and playing with other crabs. But when they’re taken from their wild environment, their story becomes sad. Not only does it hurt the environment to take them away, it hurts the creatures themselves.

Even though their name has “hermit” in it, the crabs are quite sociable and live in communities. I read somewhere that they are called hermits because they carry their home with them. This is often a shell another creature has outgrown. Hermit crabs, too, change their home as they grow.

2qz1_osb7_141017 smaller

When taken into captivity, some of them die from loneliness. Also, unlike cats or dogs, hermit crabs are stressed the more you touch them. They’re not pettable pets.

You also have to make sure their environment is suitable for them. They need a special diet and don’t like to be bathed as a lot of people think. Calcium in the sand could kill them.

Maybe you’ve decided you want to buy the crabs so you can release them back into the ocean. Although altruistic, it’s not a good idea to return crabs to the wild. One of the reasons is that the ones you buy in stores may carry bacteria or contagious viruses that would infect crab colonies.

7831251 smaller

That’s not to say, the situation can’t work. There’s a happy story about a hermit crab and his owner. They have been best friends for more than 40 years, and now they both live in a retirement home together. You can watch this video about them: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2jPGbZRGKpo.

While I was doing my crabby research, I found an organization that provides information on how to care for crabs. You can adopt one or become a foster parent them if you’re interested. Their link is here: https://lhcos.org/our-history/.

They are a registered non profit. CrabStreetJournal.org is where they share all of their care guides. Crabcon.org is the page for their annual convention.

Here’s another great video about crab facts that can help you to make the right decision: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kvfToWMiyTw.

I hope our book Seamore Sees More brings awareness about this topic. The next time you see this cute little creature with painted shell in a gift shop, it’s best not to buy it. Perhaps this will discourage the trend of crabs being taken from their homes for pets. Or, if you do get one, first educate yourself on how to care for the creature. Reach out to these organizations to help you make a decision or learn how to care for a crab as a pet.

Please follow our Kickstarter campaign to know immediately when it launches.

You’ll learn more about crabs and other sea creatures and get some great books and merchandise to go along with them: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/seababies-adventures.

banner last

%d bloggers like this: