How to Buy a Healthy Hermit Crab

Most owners complain about having their hermit crabs mysteriously die within days, but with the right knowledge (and loving care) you can have your hermit live for over ten years.


  1. 1
    Locate a pet store that takes good care of their animals. Look around at all the animal's habitats and look for these, and take note:
    • Are they clean?
    • Are there feces scatted around the habitat?
    • Is there rotting food lying around?
    • Do the animals have a filled up water source?
    • Are the animals themselves clean?
    • Are any dead, or sickly looking?
    • Are the animals alert (with the exception of rodents who are nocturnal)?
    Compare these with the conditions of your hermit crab.
  2. 2
    Once you find your pet store, go look at the hermit crabs. (Some pet stores may not have any) Ask an employee if you are allowed to touch the hermit crabs; sometimes stores allow it.
  3. 3
    Pick up one of the hermit crabs. Hold the crab by its shell (make sure to keep your fingers out of the way of its pincers) if the crab comes out of its shell and tries to scurry away it is a good indication that it is healthy.
  4. 4
    Look at the crab's color. If the crab has a bright purple and red coloring that means it is healthy. The coloring usually tells us if they are getting all their vitamins and nutrients!
  5. 5
    Learn about different species. The purple and red crabs are purple pincers (also known as Caribbean Hermit Crabs) the gray to brown ones are usually Ecuadorians. There are several other species but they are very rare to find because they have special needs that the pet stores don't either know of, or care about and the poor crabs, sadly, die very quick. I have had the best luck with purple pincers! The Ecuadorians are funny little guys who sometimes have too much personality my Ecuadorians usually bully the other crabs. They are usually very small with a big attitude. The other common species is more gentle and has a more docile temperament (though of course there are some exceptions!)
  6. 6
    Stay away from painted shells.Painted shells may look pretty but they are very life threatening to their owner. The crabs do not choose these shells, they are ripped from their natural shells and stuffed (sometimes even glued) into painted shells.


  • Don't be fooled by the painted shells
  • Learn as much as you can about these special little creatures
  • Get three or more hermit crabs. In the wild they live in a colony of over a hundred separate individuals!
  • Petco and Petsmart take good care of their hermit crabs, and take incredible care of their reptiles compared to other pet stores
  • Stay away from specialty pet stores such as aquarium stores and small businesses.


  • Hermit crabs have very strong pincers, so watch your fingers and keep them out of the crab's reach

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Categories: Merge | Crabs