The following article is by 10 year-old Haley Brooks, who sent it to us after she noticed we had nothing on our website about these little creatures. She was upset because so many people have them as pets and don't know what they need to make them happy. Hermit Crabs, like all animals, are happiest in their natural environment and should not be taken away from the shores to be kept as pets.

Hermit Crabs are they Safe?

You may think that hermit crabs would make good pets. A lot of people think this; but the truth is if they keep getting locked up in captivity then they have a pretty good chance of becoming endangered or even extinct.

Hermit crabs can only have babies in the ocean or on the ocean shore; if they are kept in captivity they cannot have babies. Hermit Crabs have babies in the ocean because that is the only way they will survive. They have from 1,000 to 50,000 eggs. Once a hermit crab has hatched the baby will swim from one to six weeks (it depends on the species). A hermit crab will live up to 30 years in the wild; but when they are kept in captivity they live only up to 1 year. Over time their population will decrease and they will became endangered.

Hermit crabs are found at the bottom of the ocean in the sand, if you pick up a shell from the bottom of the ocean you may not think that it is a hermit crab but it could be. They are nocturnal creatures (they sleep in the day and are active at night), in the daytime they like to burrow in the sand and sleep because if they get to much sunlight they can dry out and die. So be careful not to disturb them by picking up their home and keeping it as a souvenir.

Hermit crabs mostly need a shell to protect their abdomen. Hermit crabs have a curved abdomen but if they donít have a shell there abdomen will grow strait. They need to find a new shell when they grow out of the old one that is why you never know when you might find a shell with one in it. If there is a shell that two hermit cabs want they will fight for it. Sometimes a hermit crab will have to battle with and kill a snail to get the shell they want. Some hermit crabs will even use worm tubes if they have to.

They have 5 pairs of legs two pairs are used for holding on to the shell. Hermit crabs can loose their legs and re-grow them.

Hermit Crabs like to eat mainly animals that are already dead and sometimes even their exoskeleton after it has molted; they will even eat bacon, fruit, or pretzels. They can go for a year without food or water.

Hermit Crabs like all animals are happiest in their natural environment. That is why we should leave them be and allow them to live undisturbed for the next generations to see. We humans like to control everything on earth but maybe we were not meant to.

Haley Brooks, January 2004

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