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My hermit crab has no exoskeleton to eat after molt

Posted: Wed May 06, 2020 7:02 am
by CLCrabs
I got three hermit crabs in mid-January, and we're new crab owners. I just experienced my first molt. Usually my hermit crabs bury themselves every day so I was digging around in the soil trying to find them when I came upon my hermit crab Shelly's exoskeleton. She had already finished molting and was safely in her shell, but I removed her exoskeleton and threw it away then consulted my book on hermit crabs for what to do. It turns out that hermit crabs eat their exoskeleton after the molt.
A few days later, I take her out, and she comes out of her shell so she's alive but doesn't show any further signs of movement. I put her in isolation tank with calcium-based food, but she's sluggish and barely moving at all. What should I do???

Re: My hermit crab has no exoskeleton to eat after molt

Posted: Wed May 06, 2020 8:56 am
by JoeHermits
Leave her in iso with plenty of calcium. Crab or shrimp shells would be ideal since they’re closer to what she needs.

Molting is a very energy-intensive process, so she’s going to be sluggish for a few weeks while she recovers.


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Re: My hermit crab has no exoskeleton to eat after molt

Posted: Wed May 06, 2020 9:50 am
by curlysister
Please stop digging around for your crabs. It is totally normal for them to bury themselves - sometimes it is to de-stress, sometimes to molt, and sometimes just for fun. It is impossible to know which reason they are under. If you interrupt a crab at a critical time in it's molt, it can be fatal. Substrate should be at least 6 inches, or three times as deep as your largest crab - whichever is deeper; it should be sand castle consistency so that it holds it's shape for tunnels and caves when they dig. Many of us use a mix of play sand (5 parts) and coco fiber/ Eco Earth (1 part) - other ratios are used too, but this is easiest to maintain. Having deep enough sub, and not over crowding a tank with crabs ensures that they don't dig each other up.

Re: My hermit crab has no exoskeleton to eat after molt

Posted: Thu May 07, 2020 1:38 am
by wodesorel
Egg shells and shrimp tails make a decent replacement and are cheap and easy to get. You can totally ask for one or two shrimp from the meat counter at a grocery store, and it'll cost like 25 cents or less! I've even had them give them to me for free before as a sample because they were so amused it was for a hermit crab.

Crab exo is a better option if you can get it, but I have never had mine touch it if it's been cooked.

Re: My hermit crab has no exoskeleton to eat after molt

Posted: Thu May 07, 2020 3:26 am
by Motörcrab
wodesorel wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 1:38 am
I've even had them give them to me for free before as a sample because they were so amused it was for a hermit crab.
Xeno had a similar experience about two months ago. The lady behind the counter looked at her funny when she asked for one shrimp. She explained it was for our hermit crabs. The lady was amused and thought it was interesting so she gave her three as a free sample!
It reminds me of the Mitch Hedberg joke, Ducks eat for free at Subway!