Crab Taming?

Where we discuss the behavior of our hermit crabs, as in fights, pecking orders, shell swaps, etc. Please post all naked-crab posts in the Emergency forum.
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Fledgling
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Crab Taming?

Post by Fledgling » Fri Oct 04, 2019 8:56 pm

I know this is a long shot. But as I've mentioned before, I work at a pet store and have been stressing proper crab care and education on hermies to try and make our store as crab-friendly as possible. I would love it if I had a crab that would tolerate handling and transportation well so that I could use him/her as an educational animal for birthday parties and other community outreach programs.

I have 4 PPs, 3 who are very active and 1 who hides 24/7. I've never really handled them much in the two years I've had them. Has anyone had any luck in taming their crabs? Is there some way I could work with my guys to make them more tolerant of human contact? Or is it more of a unicorn thing? (As in some are just randomly special and friendly)

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curlysister
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Re: Crab Taming?

Post by curlysister » Fri Oct 04, 2019 11:42 pm

While some people do handle their crabs, most of us on this forum are hands off, as we feel that they see us as predators and handling them causes unnecessary stress. Yes, there was one person whose crabs lived a long life loose in her house, and yes there are people who take their crabs out for 'play time', but those are rare cases and most of us on here don't recommend it. Crabs don't have the 'brain power' (for lack of a better term) to become 'attached' to us in the way a cat or dog does.
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Re: Crab Taming?

Post by GotButterflies » Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:13 am

I'm hands off with all of mine.
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CrabbyLover77
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Re: Crab Taming?

Post by CrabbyLover77 » Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:30 am

I'm also hands off with mine. Sometimes I can have a "moment" with my crab Beau though. If he's close to the front of the glass I'll slowly put my finger up to him and move it around a bit. In turn he'll take his antennae and follow my finger on the glass. It's like we're getting to know each other, even after 7 years lol.

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Last edited by CrabbyLover77 on Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Crab Taming?

Post by AutumnFalls » Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:32 pm

CrabbyLover77 wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:30 am
I'm also hands off with mine. Sometimes I can have a "moment" with my crab Beau though. If he's close to the front of the glass I'll slowly put my finger up to him and move it around a bit. In turn he'll take his antennae and follow my finger on the glass. It's like we're getting to know each other, even after 7 years lol.Image

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I've tried waggling my fingers at mine but they always run away. :lol:

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Re: Crab Taming?

Post by CrabbyLover77 » Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:57 pm

AutumnFalls wrote: I've tried waggling my fingers at mine but they always run away. Image
LOL Image

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Re: Crab Taming?

Post by aussieJJDude » Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:59 am

Tbh, I've always wanted to set up a mini experiment to note if crabs become accustomed to handling, or at least, out of cage play time.

A few members from other boards regularly take their crabs out for out of cage playtime and have noted their crabs do 'enjoy' the experience, such as climbing on their hands to get out or likely to walk over to their owner.

Some even speculate that the activity helps in general health, providing some stimulation and also allowing them extra room to roam about. Which if you look at the people who do it on hermit crab orientated boards, generally they tend to have long lived crabs. (Which could be influenced by a number of thing, correlation doesn't always equal causation.


Do I agree? Honestly on the fence about it. Part of me says no, but the other half goes there's really no data to suggest otherwise, and its speculation at this point. Of course, if we apply this to 'higher order' animals such as mice, rats, Guinea pigs or larger lizards, most people I know do seem to support the idea. However, with our crabs, its virtually unknown whether it is a benefit or an hindrance without some proper testing. And of course, their requirements are a lot different to reptiles/mammals.... or even, their ability to 'connect the dots' type of thing.



Now, if you do want to try, the most important thing I think is they are well adjusted to captivity. Which yours are, being under your care for multiple years. From there, I'd first just let them run around in a contained area for 5 minutes every week or so, and note if there's been any change to their behaviour after a couple of months. From there, if it's been positive- aka, not withdrawn, not constantly hiding ect - I'd extend it to 10-20 minutes before trying frequent handling, such as holding the crab.

Of course, offering a warm and humid environment is critical for health, so I'd try not to push the amount of time they are out of the tank. And do take into consideration, your crabs health and safety is paramount so ensure that they are being handled appropriately - wash hands well without scented soaps... only allow crabs on the surface for out of tank freeroam, and try to not loose them in hard to reach places - and I'd avoid carpets, which trap a lot of bacteria/debris.

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Re: Crab Taming?

Post by Fledgling » Wed Oct 09, 2019 7:39 am

aussieJJDude wrote:Tbh, I've always wanted to set up a mini experiment to note if crabs become accustomed to handling, or at least, out of cage play time.

A few members from other boards regularly take their crabs out for out of cage playtime and have noted their crabs do 'enjoy' the experience, such as climbing on their hands to get out or likely to walk over to their owner.

Some even speculate that the activity helps in general health, providing some stimulation and also allowing them extra room to roam about. Which if you look at the people who do it on hermit crab orientated boards, generally they tend to have long lived crabs. (Which could be influenced by a number of thing, correlation doesn't always equal causation.


Do I agree? Honestly on the fence about it. Part of me says no, but the other half goes there's really no data to suggest otherwise, and its speculation at this point. Of course, if we apply this to 'higher order' animals such as mice, rats, Guinea pigs or larger lizards, most people I know do seem to support the idea. However, with our crabs, its virtually unknown whether it is a benefit or an hindrance without some proper testing. And of course, their requirements are a lot different to reptiles/mammals.... or even, their ability to 'connect the dots' type of thing.



Now, if you do want to try, the most important thing I think is they are well adjusted to captivity. Which yours are, being under your care for multiple years. From there, I'd first just let them run around in a contained area for 5 minutes every week or so, and note if there's been any change to their behaviour after a couple of months. From there, if it's been positive- aka, not withdrawn, not constantly hiding ect - I'd extend it to 10-20 minutes before trying frequent handling, such as holding the crab.

Of course, offering a warm and humid environment is critical for health, so I'd try not to push the amount of time they are out of the tank. And do take into consideration, your crabs health and safety is paramount so ensure that they are being handled appropriately - wash hands well without scented soaps... only allow crabs on the surface for out of tank freeroam, and try to not loose them in hard to reach places - and I'd avoid carpets, which trap a lot of bacteria/debris.

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Thank you so much for your insight. I know that at least one of my crabs will not do well with this, so she will not be a part of this mini experiment. Because I've had to move around a lot, my guys are no strangers to time in critter keepers (with plenty of moist moss of course!). That being said, they will need some more work before I can confidently say that they "enjoy" it.

I'll have to get a bigger critter keeper I think, to truly mimic "out of tank" time. Oftentimes, when I have to pick them up, Speedy and Toby will stretch out of their shells rather than retreating in. Could this be a sign that they'd be more receptive to this experiment?

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Re: Crab Taming?

Post by aussieJJDude » Wed Oct 09, 2019 7:49 am


Fledgling wrote:Thank you so much for your insight. I know that at least one of my crabs will not do well with this, so she will not be a part of this mini experiment. Because I've had to move around a lot, my guys are no strangers to time in critter keepers (with plenty of moist moss of course!). That being said, they will need some more work before I can confidently say that they "enjoy" it.

I'll have to get a bigger critter keeper I think, to truly mimic "out of tank" time. Oftentimes, when I have to pick them up, Speedy and Toby will stretch out of their shells rather than retreating in. Could this be a sign that they'd be more receptive to this experiment?

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Do take into consideration that even with all the 'work' you throw at them, theres still a likelyhood chance that they will not like the experience. Even if they dont outwardly show it.

There's a huge guessing game, which is why many are just happy to leave them be in their tank. If it's not broke don't fix kinda thing.

A small tub could work, or a hard plastic kiddie pool. Something like a bowl of water or a small humidifier to keep their gills happy, some climbing and hiding areas you could really observe well if they enjoy the experience. After multiple weeks, if they continuing to hide, its probably best that they left within the tank and not taken out for playtime. A hiding crab is usually a stressed crab, at least in this situation.


As for stretching out, I would view it more as a sign of being inquisitive... but it could as well be a sign that they are tolerant of being held to some degree. But it could also be a sign they are trying to get away, and stretching out to climb down or run away. It really is hard to gauge, since they highly individual animals and is very much situationsl and what you perceive is happening.

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Re: Crab Taming?

Post by Kydra » Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:18 am

Interesting. I'll keep an eye on this thread if you decide to try this out with a few of your crabs. I have three and my original two will always reach out when picked up which isn't often typically. On the other hand, my adopted guy refuses to come out at all when picked up. If picked up and placed outside of crabitat he will stay tucked in his shell for a good 15 minutes (possibly longer) until he's back on the usual substrate.

With a few bacterial blooms and whatnot lately they've been handled more so I did note this observation between the boardwalk guys vs the adopted guy. Interesting how they all are so different with everything from behavior to food to handling in this case.

Keep us posted if you do decide to do this. I've pretty much strictly followed this forum for everything. After my bacterial blooms, I wet the sub a bit less than what I thought was sandcastle consistency, but another reputable crab site doesn't even recommend wetting sub (basically if you are able to keep the humidity consistently at 80 the sub should then be fine to dig is my understanding just from the little I've read here RE the different instructions).

Went a bit off topic, but will be interested to see how things go. Good luck!

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Re: Crab Taming?

Post by Motörcrab » Tue Nov 05, 2019 6:09 am

If you Google Jonathan Livingston Crab and Carol Ormes they have a very unique living situation. Carol helps Jonathan while molting and lets him roam on the floor. Her care techniques are nothing like on here or other sites. It has been working for them for 43 years. In videos Jonathan really seems to be bonded with Carol. They have a one of a kind situation.

https://youtu.be/2jPGbZRGKpo
https://youtu.be/bVPnOvO2H58
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Re: Crab Taming?

Post by Sillymel » Wed Nov 06, 2019 12:00 am

I really enjoyed watching these videos. Thank you for sharing.


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