Crab out of shell!

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    Hello… I am trying to get some advice on what to do if a crab gets out of its shell. I have isolated the crab, put a couple of shells with him, fresh water, carrots, substrate, covered the bowl with a towel. I saw him eating this morning, but 10 mins later he is rolled over on his back and not really moving much. I misted him with fresh water, and his is moving… barely. I don’t have a clue, I am trying not to lose this crab!!!

    I didn’t want to try to force him into his shell, I figured that would stress him out. He did recently molt, and was pulled out of his cage by my daughter. I don’t think that helped things much. Could this be stress!!!




    I’m sorry but it sounds like the crab is suffocating to death, for it to abandon it’s shell means the humidity in the tank was too low and the heat was too high.
    Basicaly the only course of action to take is to keep the crab as comfortable as possible untill it passes.
    My sincerest condolences…



    The act of being dug up during the post-molt period only stresses the crab further after going through the molting process the crab needs at least a week to recover from the loss of key nutrients it had to use to molt.
    If it’s already laying on it’s back then you only have a couple of days left before it passes and there is sadly nothing more that can be done just cover the enclosure with a towel to block out some of the light and provide a small amount of honey in a bottle top right next to it for an energy source that might help but the crab maybe to far gone..



    The humidity in the crabitat was optimal and the temp was too. The soil in the ISO bowl is moist and I have been misting him.

    I don’t think there is much I can do for him. This crab is like 3 years old… makes me so sad.




    Hermit crabs can live to be forty years old in captivity so three years is still pretty young.
    Misting contrary to what you have heard is actually really stressful for the crab and the stress can cause build up of bad hormones and eventually kill it.
    I built a DIY humidifier and that keeps the humidity at about seventy percent.
    How high had the humidity been staying, anything over eighty five percent will cause a very lethal mold to grow on the crabs gills slowly suffocating it.
    I try to keep mine around seventy five percent and the temp on the heated side at eighty degrees.
    I have a thirty gallon and I use a clamp lamp with a seventy five watt bulb and a ten gall uth heater side mounted to keep one side at eighty and the unheated side at seventy to seventy five degrees.
    How big is the crab and what size is the main enclosure?
    What species is it?
    Different species have different heating and humidity needs so that would help me to determine what the cause of the crab getting sick could be.
    What have you been feeding it?
    Some commercially prepared hermit crab foods contain a lethal pesticide called ethoxyquin as the preservative and it is seriously harmful to them.
    I’m guessing the crab was golf ball size or larger, I have one she’s almost as big as a baseball and four that are just a littler smaller than her and then I have four quarter to fifty cent size ones and they are all Purple pinchers.
    I have been keeping hermit crabs seriously since I was ten and I am now twenty four so I think I might be able to help you save the other crabbies if you have more from the fate of the sick one.
    My sincerest condolences…



    Thanks for all the advice… My crab Ike did pass away. It was so sad 🙁

    I did notice recently a little mold in the cage. We keep the tank between 80 degrees and the humidity between 70-90. I removed the tunnel from the tank and threw it out and recently got a grapevine climbing structure. The tank is 10gallons and we have ecoearth as a substrate. I have salt water and distilled drinking water dishes and I changed there food after loosing IKE. I was giving crabcakes, but noticed they molded quickly. I purchased mango, coconut and hermit crab food with nutrients. I also got a cuttlebone to grind up and include in the cage.

    I just noticed a my other crab, Holly, came up from molt today! I was so excited to see her. She burrowed later in the day, and I haven’t seen her this evening. I really enjoy the crabs, and have considered getting a 30 gallon tank too… then need more room to roam. Any advice you give would be great!

    As far as molting, what should I do for Holly since she is newbie? I don’t want anything to happen to her. She looked good this morning, but Ike looked good when he came up from his molt too.




    You are welcome and I am sorry this post is so late but the crab who just molted should be okay on her own and the humidity is what is causing the mold to grow.
    The humidity should never stay in the nineties for more than a couple of days because it leads to all sorts of health issues in the crabs.
    The Eco Earth is highly water absorbent and molds three times quicker than white play sand so that is another thing to watch out for.
    The distilled drinking water is actually very bad for the crabs to drink because the Reverse Osmosis process that is used to purify the water removes essential minerals and the water will leach those removed minerals out of the crabs body killing it.
    The leaching effect in them is at a hundred times greater concentration than in humans so it affects them quicker and harder.
    I only use pure spring water bought at the grocery store I check to see if the water container has a well known spring labeled as the water source.
    If you want you can use tap water and just buy tap water conditioner that will take out the chlorine and chloramines and other harmful heavy metals just make sure the bottle doesn’t say on it this promotes a natural slime coat or that it contains aloe because that stuff is not good for them to drink.
    I would also offer fresh fruits such as: grapes, watermelon, bananas, apples and peaches. Fruits high in citric acid like: oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, tangelos, lemons, clementines and other fruits in this family should not be given to the crabs because the acid will eat their stomachs and eventually kill them.
    Fresh vegetables like: raw carrots, peas, lima beans, lettuce and celery can be given make sure to wash and dry them before giving them to your crabs to remove any pesticides that may be on them.
    I also give mine unseasoned scrambled eggs every few days as an extra source of protein.
    Never use pans with a Teflon coating because the teflon is partially transferred into the food while it’s being cooked poisoning you crabs.
    Hermit crabs are highly sensitive to pine, cedar and spruce because the trees contain a resin and phenols that are extremely harmful to them.
    If they are kept in prolonged contact with the wood of any of those trees listed they will sustain chemical burns to their exoskeleton and their gills that can lead to a slow painful death.
    I have been keeping hermit crabs since I was seven so forgive me if I unload a ton of information on you in one post.
    Their food should be removed daily to prevent spoilage and the growth of mold.
    Their water should be changed out every two days.
    If you are using sponges in their drinking water I have to advise you to remove them at once because the sponges develop a highly lethal strand of bacteria after being in water for twenty- four to forty-eight hours.
    Hermit-crabs have a built in mechanism that prevents them from eating the same food within nineteen to twenty four hours of being given this is to ensure the crab is getting all the nutrients it needs to survive, this is why commercial foods are not a good idea for an everyday food.
    They wont eat the same thing two days in a row and they really can’t eat the pelleted type of food because it is to hard and they can’t break it up very easily.
    I will post more in a few days and I am always glad to help.



    To add to this info through months of research I have uncovered new facts on the safety of coniferous trees such as pine in the crabitat and all citrus fruits are essential players in the diet of wild hermitcrabs so I formally retract the earlier contradicting info I gave.
    We at LHC have no reason to believe that citric acid is harmful to hermitcrabs as previously believed and we also now know pine and cedar to be safe in small quantities.



    Awww…… Sorry crabbycat! I hate losing pets, especially hermit crabs!

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