Species Care Sheet: Strawberry (Coenobita perlatus)

User avatar

Topic author
Posts: 62
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 4:37 pm
Location: The HCA

Species Care Sheet: Strawberry (Coenobita perlatus)

Post by HCADirectors » Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:51 pm

Strawberry (Coenobita perlatus)

Other Common Names: Candy Cane Straws

Forum species nickname: Straw (plural straws)

Below are the specialty characteristics of this species. For information on enclosures, housing size, diet, water needs and general care that apply to all species, please see our Crab Care Brochure, located here: http://hermitcrabassociation.com/phpBB/ ... hp?t=92457

Description: Straws are known for their vibrant red and dark orange coloration and bright white setae (similar to hair follicles). They have elongated eyes that are deep black but have an opalescent sheen, which is unique among land hermit crabs. Juveniles are paler in color, ranging from white to pink to pastel orange. Most young crabs have white or cream striping on their joints and legs, which gives them the nickname "candy cane" crabs. These markings will disappear as the crab grows. Rarely full adults are found that are nearly white, or oppositely, black cherry in color.

They are one of the larger species of hermit crabs that are kept in captivity, and are thickly built. This species is also known for being the hairiest hermit crab, as some individuals can be covered in massive amounts of bristle-like setae.

Native Habitat: They are found in a wide band from the islands off the west coast of Africa, through the South Pacific, and into the northern tip of Australia's Great Barrier reef. Straws are not known to inhabit any main continents, and instead are spread out over thousands of islands, both volcanic and coral. Conditions on these islands vary from rocky coasts, to mountains, mangroves and tidal pools.

Temperatures: 80 degrees is mostly recommended, but temperatures from 78 to 90 appear to be safe. Some keepers suggest maintaining Straws at a constant temperature with absolutely no variation, but others find no problem with keeping straws the same as with other exotics and allowing variations from day to night.

Humidity: At least 80%. Higher humidity is safe for any hermit crab, although it can lead to mold growth in the enclosure over time.

Water: Strawberries appear to be more reliant on the ocean than other species of hermit crabs. Because of this, it is vitally important to have a large saltwater pool available to them where they can submerge fully and swim when needed. Using a proper marine saltwater mix (for saltwater fish) is also extremely important for their health.

Diet: Foods that are high in beta carotene and astaxanthin have been noted to help with keeping their coloration strong.

Activity Level: Extremely high. When conditions are proper this species is known for being constantly active. They do like to dig and will spend time underground building tunnels even when not molting.

Enclosure: Straws must have a deep substrate in order to molt properly and be protected from other hermit crabs. Unlike other species, it's highly recommended to have at least 10 to 12 inches of substrate when straws are kept. The number one cause of death in straws appears to be attacks from other crabs when they molt, so providing them the space to find a safe location is important.

UVB has been noted as being very beneficial to this species. Increased activity levels and better coloration has been noticed by keepers who utilize UVB lighting in their enclosure.

Life Expectancy: Strawberries have a reputation for being delicate and for dying prematurely. Most straws in captivity will only live between 1 and 3 years, though some are still alive at 6 or more years. We don't yet know the cause of why this is, but it could have something to do with how rare they still are in the pet trade so that every death is noticed more as compared to more common species. External problems while molting have been mentioned as the leading cause of death, so making sure they are able to molt safety and without stress is very important. Unlike other species, when they are disturbed during a molt they do not seem to have the same capacity to heal and bounce back like other species.

Shells: Like other species they are known to heavily modify the shell they are wearing, and therefore are often found in shells that seem to be much too small for them. They appear to be fine with thicker and heavier shells as well. Turbos (all species) are the most popular with silvermouth (also known as green or calico) turbos being the most common, but they have also been found to wear king's crown, frog shells, Japanese Fairy Tail shells and other oddball shapes.