Post Molt without burying himself -what to do next?

This forum is where you discuss issues relating to molting hermit crabs, including pre- and post-molting issues. If you are having a molting emergency please post in the Emergency Forum.
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ashimala
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Post Molt without burying himself -what to do next?

Post by ashimala » Fri Dec 21, 2018 2:15 pm

I have a large hermit crab who I've never seen molt since i got him 18 months ago. I all of a sudden saw his deathlike body next to a shedded large part of him. (at that point i removed the two smaller crabs to a different tank). After laying there uncovered/naked and death like for a couple days, he moved and sat in the freshwater dish (naked) for almost 2 days. Then he sat naked, uncovered for 3 more days. He finally moved back into his shell last night. This behavior doesn't seem normal to everything I've read on molting. I'd like to add more substrate and not sure when i can remove his shedded exoskeleton. I'm a novice. I've given him oyster shells for calcium and foods from the herbit crab path that i've bought but have never seen him eat. Should I leave him alone? Can I add more substrate? When can i remove the old parts of him? Also when can i put the smaller two crabs back with him?

Thanks in advance!!!

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RiNiKy506
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Re: Post Molt without burying himself -what to do next?

Post by RiNiKy506 » Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:11 pm

I know there will be others with better advice for you, I don’t know very much myself. Don’t take his exoskeleton out and don’t touch him. It sounds like you have a great start with the calcium foods.


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curlysister
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Re: Post Molt without burying himself -what to do next?

Post by curlysister » Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:54 pm

Please fill in the emergency template, it will help us provide advice.

http://www.hermitcrabassociation.com/ph ... 27&t=46102
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." -Will Rogers


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ashimala
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Re: Post Molt without burying himself -what to do next?

Post by ashimala » Sat Dec 22, 2018 2:12 pm

Thanks. what's the best way to fill out the template? SHould i just copy and paste it here and provide answers? He's doing much better I believe, although still unsure of some questions. Saw him eating some of the honey i provided as well!

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curlysister
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Re: Post Molt without burying himself -what to do next?

Post by curlysister » Sat Dec 22, 2018 8:43 pm

Yes, just copy and paste and add your answers. If he molted on the surface, something isn't right; crabs should bury to molt.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." -Will Rogers


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ashimala
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Re: Post Molt without burying himself -what to do next?

Post by ashimala » Mon Dec 24, 2018 11:46 am

1. What kind of substrate is used in your tank and how deep is it? eco earth -one side is about 3 inches and the other side is one inch. he's been sitting on the one inch side for about 2 weeks.

2. Do you have gauges in the tank to measure temperature and humidity? If so, where are they located and what temperature and humidity do they usually read? yes. 60% humidity and 76degrees. 10 gallon tank with a gauge on each far end of the tank

3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what? there are two heat mats taped to the back side. one was never enough heat so i bought another so each side of the 10 gallon tank has a heat mat.

4. What types of water are available (fresh or salt) and how is the water treated (what brands of dechlorinator or salt mix and what ratio is used to mix it)? both available. salt water is a salt water mix from www.hermitcrabpatch.com called "Instant Ocean Sea Salt" It was mixed as directed with a gallon of distilled water. Our tap water is filtered (I have an extremely expensive whole house water filter so the water is dechlorinated).

5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced? replaced daily. Mixes from hermitcrabpath and i rotate: soil supplement, mineral Blend, Crushed Oyster Shells, Crabtastic food blend that has coconuts, bugs, and a variety of things, a chicken blend from them....then Zoo Med's fruit salad and pellets. Sometimes i give fresh fruits although not sure they ever eat it.

6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known? he came from a fair 16 months ago and is large and the standard type we see in photos. I also have two smaller ones same species.

7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen? Note, we've had him 16 months and I've never seen him molt until now, so - Yes, about a week ago, he molted all on the surface (I thought he was dead and when i went to move him, noticed he was alive). Found him laying there on top of the substrate naked. After about 24 hours I started to see him move. When i discovered him around 5am (thankfully i woke up) I immediately took the two smaller ones out as i read they can be carnivorous. They are in an isolation tank and i left him in the 10 gallon. After 1-2 days, he sat in the fresh water dish (Naked) for almost 2 days, then was out of the water and naked for a couple more days. Finally went back into his shell. I've seen the color come back to him. He's eating the shed exoskeleton and i've seen him eat the fresh local honey. I keep crushed oyster shells near him too. He wont' leave the area that is maybe one inch substrate, surrounded by his two water bowls, honey, and food dish. I've purchased 7 new shells and put them all in his cage, plus the other half of the 10 gallon tank was built up with all new Eco Earth which is about 6 inches tall. He won't go check out anything.

8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing? 10 gallon tank, screened lid, but i keep books on top of it (with a small gap) to keep the humidity and heat in.

9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they? one large one (the one in emergency state) and two small ones in isolation right now.

10. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any? he generally has one extra shell that he uses both. Now he has 7. The small ones have usually 4 extra shells, but i never see them rotate shells.

11. Have there been any fumes or chemicals near the crabitat recently? no. although they are recently in the kitchen due to the christmas tree displacing their corner.

12. How often do you clean the tank and how? every 6 months i've done a deep clean and provided new eco earth.

13. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned? no sponges.

14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently? no.

15. Is there any other information you would like to share that might be helpful (anything that is regularly part of your crab care, playtime, bathing, etc.)? they never really come out. The big one is social and will move around with us. The two small ones are shy and boring and shell up immediately when they see us.

16. Please describe the emergency situation in detail.
- mostly described in 7 above. I'm unsure what else i can do for him. I've express shipped new shells to me after searching 4 local pet stores to find none big enough for him. the standard "large" shells in the packages at pet stores are too small. Am I missing anything else I can do? When can i add the two smaller ones back? I have not removed his exoskeleton eihter. I also have taped paper around the tank to give him more privacy, since he wasn't buried. Is it normal post molt and naked to be out like that? He was buried a lot prior but perhaps 3 days before the molt, he was surfaced. In addition it was a big molt (to me at least) as he lost his big pincher and several claws. it's like half his body was gone!

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curlysister
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Re: Post Molt without burying himself -what to do next?

Post by curlysister » Mon Dec 24, 2018 2:25 pm

A crab needs to dig underneath the substrate and make a little cave to molt in. They should stay in the cave the entire time, eat their exoskeleton, and wait until the new exo is hardened. This can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months. They should not be disturbed during this time. It is not normal for them to molt on the surface, nor is it normal for a crab to be naked. It is not normal for them to lose limbs when they molt. Your crab is in serious trouble right now. The conditions need to be improved to give him the best chance at survival.
Substrate should be at least 6 inches, or three times as deep as your largest crab - whichever is deeper. It needs to be moist enough to hold it's shape (ie- sand castle consistency), but not so wet that there is water pooling. If you have proper substrate, it does not need to be deep cleaned and replaced, just spot cleaned. Many of us use a mixture of 5 parts play sand with one part of Eco Earth. Use either dechlorinated fresh water or dechlorinated salt water to moisten it, but then when adding moisture when it's in the tank, only use dechlor fresh water.
Your humidity needs to be higher - crabs can't breathe when it's too low. Around 80% is ideal, but higher is fine too. Try putting saran wrap over the top of your tank to hold in the humidity.
HCA recommends 3-5 extra shells per crab. There are correct and incorrect shells, check out the 'shells' section for information.
I am not sure about distilled water - hopefully someone with more experience with that will chime in. I am also not sure that I would use tap water, no matter how good of a treatment system you have, without a product such as Prime.
Your big crab will need to be isolated from the others until his exo is hardened. Are you iso tank conditions ideal? Some of use will iso a crab in the main tank - use a 2L pop bottle with the lid off and cut down, or a margarine container with holes in the top, and put it over the crab to be iso'd, pushed down into the sand a bit.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." -Will Rogers


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ashimala
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Re: Post Molt without burying himself -what to do next?

Post by ashimala » Thu Dec 27, 2018 11:35 am

Thanks. He's in his normal 10 gallon tank and the other 2 small crabs are in the iso tank. I increased his humidity so he's good now - at about 90%. Temp is good.

I have built up half the tank with 6 inches of substrate but the half he is in i didn't want to disturb. If I raised that part (he's on about 1 inch substrate), I'd have to cover him completely or remove him and his exo he shed and put it on top of the raised substrate. I don't think eihter is acceptable so I raised hte other half of the tank , which he can go to. Is that ok? THere are about 6 extra shells right now and all ones he favors, but he's not moving from this one area.

Limbs - i honestly believe it looks like he lost limbs or is it that the shed exo could like like lost limbs? Is it possible the two others pulled off some of his legs when he was molting and vulnerable (before i pulled them from the tank?) Could he survive without?

As of now, i'm in a waiting game i think , unless someone else can tell me what else i can possibly do. I replenish both his waters. I've added a sponge to his fresh water and a live moss that is wet, to the cage. Both increased humidity substantially.

He moves a bit to eat his exo, but that's about all I've seen him do the last 5 or so days.

Thanks for your help! Amy

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curlysister
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Re: Post Molt without burying himself -what to do next?

Post by curlysister » Thu Dec 27, 2018 11:51 pm

He won't move around much after a molt. It's good that he is eating his exo. With that little substrate, it's pretty much like a surface molt for him.
That's much better for humidity.
Yes, I think it's a wait and see game at this point. Remove the sponge, they just harbor bacteria and aren't necessary.
If he lost some limbs, he can regrow them during his next molt. Depending on how many limbs he lost, mobility might be an issue. Once he's moving around, add more substrate to the whole tank, so that his next molt can be fully underground. Many crabs won't survive two stressful molts. Eventually you will need a tank larger than 10 gallons for three crabs.
Are the conditions in the second tank (where the other two crabs are) the same as the main tank? Is the sub deep enough in there? You'd hate for one of them to pull a surface molt because there's not enough substrate.
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Re: Post Molt without burying himself -what to do next?

Post by Motörcrab » Fri Dec 28, 2018 12:53 am

I just read through this topic quickly. Curlysister summed up everything very well. I'll just chime in on a few points.

I used to use distilled water too. I was told that the distilling process removes vital nutrients and minerals the crabs need from the water. Tap water is generally safe even filtering systems do not take all of the chlorine out so a dechlorinator should still be used. If it is well water it may not have chlorine but may contain heavy metals which may be harmful.

Here is the guideline for water use:
http://www.hermitcrabassociation.com/ph ... 25&t=92553

Are you positive he actually lost his limbs? With not being able to bury deeply you may have just found all of his exoskeleton. The exoskeleton will look just like a legs and claws sometime as a complete body mostly just body parts.

Here is the care sheet for molting crabs:
http://www.hermitcrabassociation.com/ph ... 23&t=92527

I would try to offer some healing foods on something near him like a shell or a jug cap. Bee Pollen, egg shells, coconut, honey, cuttlebone, and so on.

Here's the Nutrition Guideline. Toward the bottom there is a section geared toward pre/post molting crabs.

http://www.hermitcrabassociation.com/ph ... 25&t=92554
Help Improve Our Resources Section (weblinks)
http://www.hermitcrabassociation.com/ph ... 2&t=119315

Once we get more links the directors will update the resources in a few weeks. Thanks!


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ashimala
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Re: Post Molt without burying himself -what to do next?

Post by ashimala » Fri Dec 28, 2018 3:35 pm

you guys are awesome! I've been on pins and needles! I'll do everything noted and read up on nutritional foods to help him. I'm not positive he lost limbs or not. I didn't want to touch anything, so it could be exo. I'm new to hermies (only 1.5 years in).

The other two in the small isolation tank are in a good environment. It's deep substrate and they are heated and humidified. Went to the pet store to get those last things to ensure that their environment was safe. Only issue is i bought "Vita-sand" instead of play sand. I may need to return it and just buy play sand. I"ll read up on other blogs to see what's said on that topic!

FIngers crossed here for my Hermie (clever name I know....lol). I SO SO SO SO SO appreciate everyone. This is perhaps one of the best blog sites I've come across.

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curlysister
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Re: Post Molt without burying himself -what to do next?

Post by curlysister » Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:24 pm

I believe Vita Sand is calcium sand, which is not safe.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." -Will Rogers

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