Hermit crabs are omnivores and can eat almost anything. In fact, they are a pretty unfussy lot – preferring to be scavengers, living as bottom-feeders, and even feasting on animal waste. While your pet crab may have such inclinations too you most likely want to feed them something a bit more human-grade.
If It’s Healthy for You…
Fortunately, you don’t have to scavenge for road kill or scoop up your dog’s latest droppings to feed your crustacean. Feeding him a diet like your own is preferable and will make him one happy crab. He loves fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, washed grass, alfalfa sprouts, and meat.
If you choose to feed him fruit, most anything is suitable. Papaya, mango, apple, and grapes are just a few of the fruits you can feed him. Hermit crabs love vegetables and plant matter. The crunchier, the better – crabs love texture in their foods. Other plant matter that crabs enjoy are nuts, peanut butter, applesauce, raisins, and popcorn. Just make sure the seeds are extracted from fruits before feeding.
They love animal protein too and some of the things they can eat will come from your table scraps. Your discarded chicken, rib, and steak bones, shrimp tails, and fish bones will make a wonderful healthy meal for your hermit crab. Remember that crabs have those claws to pick and shred meat off bones. Bones and shells also provide him much needed calcium which is essential for a tougher exoskeleton. Don’t feed your crab these foods if they were drenched in sauces and herbs.
If the food in question is not healthy for you, don’t feed it to your crab on a regular basis. Hermit crabs are known to love unhealthy junk food so feed processed treats such as chips, jerky, and cookies sparingly – if at all.
Several foods sold in pet supply stores are good for your crab. You can use these foods as a base or feed your crab exclusively on pet food – if you have the right type. There are crab pellets and hermit crab food which are supposed to provide his daily nutritional needs, but hermits can also feast on fish flakes, dried snails, brine shrimp, and seaweed. Some foods made for other species can also be fed to your crab such as iguana food.
What Shouldn’t I Feed My Hermit Crab?
Below, you’ll find a link of inedible foods written up by the Hermit Crab Association. In summary, the list is mostly of herbs, leaves, and medicinal plants. Some of the listed inedible items commonly found in households are chocolate, rosemary, onion, and lemongrass. Many of the items on the list are poisonous to humans – which is an obvious red flag. Some hermit crab enthusiasts swear that many foods manufactured specifically for these trailer-toting crustaceans are off-limits because they contain pesticides. Because your crab can eat most of the foods you eat, you don’t have to resort to any pet food at all to keep him healthy and happy.
By Gabrielle Allemeier
About the Author
Gabrielle Allemeier volunteers her free time as an animal rescuer and foster pet parent. As an animal lover, she enjoys sharing the knowledge she has gained from her experience with a variety of animals. Along with being an animal lover, Gabrielle is a globetrotter. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her terrier, Thisbe.