Crabitat: Moss

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Crabitat: Moss

Post by HCADirectors » Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:56 pm


Hermit crabs love moss! They enjoy hiding in it, and also snacking on it. Using moss can also help to boost the humidity levels of the tank if you are having problems. Most hermit crab keepers use something called a “moss pit” to add moss to their enclosure. A moss pit is a container of some sort (like a plastic tub or a shower caddy) that holds the moss off of the substrate, increasing the square footage of the tank and keeping the moss contained and clean for longer. It is usually deep enough for the crabs to completely hide in the moss if they wanted to.

Moss may mold if mixed into or left touching substrate. Either dechlorinated fresh or saltwater can be used to rehydrate moss, though salt will kill living mosses.

What mosses shouldn’t I use?

Never buy crafting moss or moss from the dollar store. Moss for decorative use has often been sprayed with chemicals and pesticides to keep it bug free and looking good, or it may have been dyed. Even if it says “terrarium” safe, it is probably not safe for hermit crabs.

Harvested moss should be collected from safe areas with no pollution or chemicals. Moss is well known to absorb toxins from its environment, including from air pollution.

What mosses are safe?

Mosses sold at the pet shop for reptiles are safe, although some have an animal safe dye that might come off over time. Organic mosses for Orchids that are sold at home and garden have also been used safely, and are often less expensive.

Moss that you collect yourself in areas that are free from pesticides and chemicals are also safe to use. However, there can be restrictions on the collection of moss due to overharvesting, so check the regulations in your area first.

What types of moss are there?

There are many different species of moss that are sold, and hermits enjoy them all! It all comes down to what you like to have in the tank, and different types can be mixed if you prefer.

Sphagnum moss grows in extremely wet areas like peat bogs, and has a star-like shape to it.
Sphagnum Moss (compressed and loose) by ZooMed
Sphagnum Moss by Mosser Lee
Sphagnum Reptile Moss by Thrive (at Petsmart)

Sheet moss, also known as frog and terrarium moss, are often sold in a sheet that still has earth attached to it. This is often the same type of moss that is harvested at home.
Frog Moss by ZooMed
Live Moss for Hermit Crabs by Fluker's
Reptile Pillow Moss by Thrive (at Petsmart)

Beaked Moss is another type of moss, and it’s generally looser and fluffier than the others.
Terrarium (Beaked) Moss by R-Zilla
Forest Moss by ExoTerra
Tropical Reptile Green Sphagnum Moss by Thrive (at Petsmart, possibly dyed.)

Spanish Moss is not actually a moss – it’s really a bromeliad (in the tillandsia family) that grows in trees and are also known as “air plants”. Reptile Spanish moss is safe for use with hermit crabs, but it won’t behave the same as real mosses would.
Spanish Moss by Fluker’s

Galapagos is a newer company that supplies a large selection of moss species, all of which are crab safe.

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