Accidently brought a hermit crab home from Cozumel..What now

Questions about identifying the differences between species.
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Oakende Rex
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Accidently brought a hermit crab home from Cozumel..What now

Post by Oakende Rex »

My wife and I took a cruise to Cozumel a few weeks ago, while on the beach we collected some shells and coral for our son. When we got back and were examining the shells with our son, one of them contained a still living hermit crab. I remember finding that particular shell and it was in a hole in a rock in the surf, under the water, not on the land. We have been keeping him (it) in a cereal bowl with some of the coral and sand we collected from Cozumel and I bought some salt water solution (for hermit crabs) and some hermit crab food from Petsmart. I suggested taking him to Galveston and returning him to the wild, but my wife and son protested. So we have opted to keep him. What now? how should I set up a habitat for this guy? I have perused the internet and most of the information is about land hermit crabs, I think this crab is a saltwater dwelling hermit crab. In the cereal bowl there are spots where he can be completely submerged in the salt water and coral he can crawl out on and get out of the water. He spends most of his time in the water submerged. Also I need to note that this is a very small crab and shell. The shell at its widest point is about a wide as a dime the crab inside is about as big as a peanut. So my questions are...
1. Is this a saltwater hermit crab?
2. Do they live predominantly under water?
3. Is there a different habitat that I should use for this crab or are habitats universal for land hermit crabs as opposed to underwater hermit crabs?

Any help or direction will be received with gratitude. Remember, we smuggled this crab into the country by accident and are trying to properly care for it.
Oakende Rex
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Re: Accidently brought a hermit crab home from Cozumel..What

Post by Oakende Rex »

Well, I guess its a moot point now. Our little hermit crab passed away some time in the night last night. Now that he's hanging out of his shell, I can see his colors more clearly and he's blue. Looking online, the tiny blue hermit crabs are underwater, saltwater hermit crabs, that is what I thought he was but my son insisted he'd drown if immersed in water too long. We went to Petsmart and bought a 10 gallon hermit crab habitat and set it up with what information I could find on the internet. I filled a hermit crab drinking bowl with bottled saltwater purchased at Petsmart and filled a separate bowl with hermit crab food that came with the hermit crab set up we bought. He was alive when I moved him from the cereal bowl he'd been living in since January 19th to his new habitat. I placed him in the shallow end of the salt water pool. A few hours later around 7pm, he was in the deep end and my son said he'd drown. I picked him up and placed him in the food bowl, on top of some food. Later, when I checked on hm around midnight, he had moved to a different piece of food and was dead. There was still moisture in his shell, so I don't think his gills dried out. There was possibly something in the aquarium from the store that was toxic to him or the shock of being removed from the shells, coral, sand and seawater that we brought from Cozumel just was too much for him. Now I have an $80 dollar hermit crab habitat and no hermit crab. Now I'm debating on ordering some land hermit crabs to try to get my money's worth out of this habitat. Live and learn!
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Re: Accidently brought a hermit crab home from Cozumel..What

Post by RebsCritters »

i would google "marine hermit crab" and try to match a picture to the crab in your possession as best you can (legs and body, not the shell). if it is indeed a marine hermit (which it sounds may be very likely), the best thing might be to release it back to the ocean... unless you're really keen on the idea of investing in a reef tank (and some friends) for this crab. they live almost exclusively underwater and therefore have a very different setup than that required for land hermit crabs.
that hermit crab salt water solution and food likely won't keep it alive for very long, as neither are generally suitable for even the land hermit crabs they're advertised for. it is a sea creature and so lives off sea matter. you can also google "marine hermit crab care" and find additional need requirements, if you're interested.
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ladybug15057
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Re: Accidently brought a hermit crab home from Cozumel..What

Post by ladybug15057 »

Oakende Rex I am sorry to hear he passed.
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Re: Accidently brought a hermit crab home from Cozumel..What

Post by Oakende Rex »

I really appreciate the advice from the users that replied to my post. Thank you, both. We're still on the fence about getting some hermit crabs for our newly purchased hermit crab habitat. I am remorseful about not taking our stowaway down to Galveston and releasing him into the gulf. I was very surprised that he made the two day trip from Cozumel to Galveston and then the 90 mile trip from Galveston to our home. When we collected the shells and coral from the beach my wife scooped up some of the crushed coral that the beaches are made from in Cozumel. She put them into a sealed water bottle with the intention of making a snow globe type thing with the sand, coral and shells. After we returned home and upon inspection of the booty from the beach we noticed the crab inside the shell. I saw movement and the water in the shell jiggled. I guess being submerged in the water and crushed coral for two days provided him with what he needed to survive and my mistake that killed him was #1 deciding to keep him and #2 putting him in a commercial purchased saline solution and feeding him freeze dried land hermit crab food. Not the ideal situation for him and certainly not the best choices that I made or him. If I had known what type of hermit crab he was and knew that it would require a reef tank and a lot of friends, I would have released him in Galveston. It wouldn't have been a difficult thing for me to do, I travel a lot for work and I am near or in Galveston on a weekly basis. I could have just pitched him into the bay somewhere.

We have had weekends and vacations down in Galveston and our son, when he was younger, always needed to bring a few hermit crabs home in a bucket. He played with them until they would die a few days later and I'd clean up the mess. A few years ago when he was 11 or so, My adult daughter took him and my grandson to the mall one Saturday and they returned with land hermit crabs that had painted shells. Some vendor talked my daughter into purchasing them for the boys. We put that crab into a 5 gallon fish tank and fed him the food from the kit that came with the crab. He lasted a few weeks until the neighbor kid tried to pull him out of his shell to see the whole creature. My son found his crab dead and half out of his shell about 5 minutes after the neighbor kid left. We don't leave the neighbor kid in my son's room alone anymore, that's for sure.

If we do decide to get some land hermit crabs, I'm unsure as to how to go about obtaining them. Catch them on the beach in Galveston? Buy some at PetsMart or a shop somewhere? Order them online from Amazon or a online land hermit crab retailer? I'll have to do some research to see what the land hermit crab community recommends.

Well, I can't say I'll use this forum anymore as we haven't made up our minds about getting any land hermit crabs, but if we do I'll surely be back for care advice. Again, I appreciate the response to my initial inquiry, Thank you.
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Re: Accidently brought a hermit crab home from Cozumel..What

Post by ladybug15057 »

Or adopt them? There are listings sometimes on Craigs lists, and the local papers. But I would suggest not to take them off of the beach. They do go through a bit of a 'transition' period if bought from a pet store. If you go the pet store route, find out when their order will be coming in and go that day to pick out your hermies.
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