Pet Hermit Crab

Tips On Caring For Your Hermit Crab

Hermit Crab Species
There are two basic hermit crab species sold as pets, one native to the Caribbean and the other native to Ecuador. The Caribbean species, Coenobita clypeatus, might be called the purple pincher crab, tree crab, Caribbean crab, or tree crab. The Ecuadorian, Coenobita compressus, might be called the Eccie or Ecuadorian crab. While these make up the bulk of pet crabs, there are also other species of exotic hermit crabs that you might have.

The Caribbean crab has a large purple pincher claw, thus the name Purple Pincher crab. They typically have a tan colored head and round eyes. Their legs can be dark purple with some orange. The left walking leg is in a position to be able to maneuver with the large purple claw.

The Ecuadorian crab has same colored claws with dark tips. Instead of one leg that works around the big claw, he uses two left legs. These crabs can vary in color from tan to orange to gray. Ecuadorian crabs are well known for being more active than Caribbean crabs and making chirping noises.

In nature the Caribbean crabs actually live inland, but the Ecuadorian crabs live at the seashore and so they actually need salt water in order to survive. The Caribbean crabs will do fine with dechlorinated tap water.

For Ecuadorian crabs, you can give them what they need by adding sea salt to their water. Like the other types of crabs, you must dechlorinate the water first. You can buy a sea salt used for saltwater aquariums and follow the directions on the package - it is not difficult but you will probably need a special gizmo called a hydrometer to measure the salinity of the water.

Luckily the Caribbean crabs like salt water too so you can keep both hermit crab species in the same tank!