Crab leg turned red

Questions about the body parts of a hermit crab.
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concernedmommy
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Crab leg turned red

Post by concernedmommy »

I've had my crab for a couple weeks now and i've noticed that he has changed shells alot. he changes shells at least once a day, particularly after i've held him. 2 days ago i noticed that once of his back legs has turned a bright red, while the rest of him is brown. Is this something i should be concerned about? I'm wondering if it has to do with me handling him, or him changing shells so often.
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Re: Crab leg turned red

Post by ladybug15057 »

Usually a color change in an exo is due to diet. Or if a hermie seems to be turning a lighter coloring as time goes on can be an indication of an impending molt around the corner.
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Re: Crab leg turned red

Post by emmac350 »

Nope! Crabs' color only changes with nutrition. Do you know what kind of crab he is? Being that you're from the US, I'd imagine that a brown crab would be an Ecuadorian. If he is, a bright red back leg (is it the back left leg?) is perfectly normal - some of mine have different colored rear left walking legs. I had one whose back leg was a beautiful red-orange, and one of my others has a nice orange color.

I'd imagine that the color change has to do with the fact that the crab is finally getting the nutrition that he needs. I am curious about how the color changed without the crab molting...unless...did the crab molt before you started handling it?
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Re: Crab leg turned red

Post by Suebee »

ive seen a crab after a fall have a leg turn color and then the leg is usually droped. Also in a pet shop i saw a crab that got to close to a heat lamp have the legs on one side turn a orange red. I would just keep a eye on him. I dont think handling him would do any harm.
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Re: Crab leg turned red

Post by concernedmommy »

To emmac350: I got him from a pet store and they didn't really tell us much about either of the crabs. So i don't know if he molted recently before we got him, but since he has been at our house, he hasn't molted. The red leg is his left leg, although when i went back and checked it, it looked like the tips of the other legs were starting to turn as well. If he were preparing to molt, would he still come out of his shell when i picked him up?

Thank you guys for your responses. :)
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Re: Crab leg turned red

Post by Suebee »

a crab that has recently molted will have sharp toes. Pins on the ends of the feet at first. If he was in a darker or different substrate or even dirty being in a tank with clean sand could make him seem like he is changing color. Its normal for crabs to have different colors on tips of legs. If he is going to molt he will still come out of his shell for you. He will start to take in extra salt water and eat foods high in calcium and protein. Mostly you will see him dig. He will dig down and sometimes come back up to find a new place to dig down that better suites him.. I would try not to worrie. In case he is about to molt i would offer some worm castings, powdered oyster shell, cuttle bone and shrimp exos or foods high in both protien and calcium. Waiting is somethimes the hardest part. If you have some photos we might be able to see what kind of crab it is for you and check to see if we see any thing to be alarmed of. Blessings, Suebee
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Re: Crab leg turned red

Post by ladybug15057 »

Not always will a hermie burrow to molt. Some will find a safe place above substrate to molt. Hermies vary with how they act when in premolt. Some do become much more active and will poke out of their shells to see you. Some hermies will become very shy and not come out of their shells and become lethargic. Each hermie has their own personalities so it can vary.
You mention his other leg tips are changing too, to the red/reddish coloring or lighter shade in coloring?
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Re: Crab leg turned red

Post by Suebee »

In many years with many tanks the only time i had a surface molt was when i mistakenly listened to some who said more or all ee was a good substrate. Now that i use 5 parts sand to one part EE ive never had a surface molt. Indos will molt shallow but they still dig down. Hope all is well with your hermit crab. Take care,Sue
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Re: Crab leg turned red

Post by kgbenson »

emmac350 wrote:Nope! Crabs' color only changes with nutrition.


I an not entirely certain that is a fact. Some species change color with age, others may depending on things like incident UV light and so forth. I have heard credible anecdotal reports of some crabs becoming better colored after they settle in post shipping.
I'd imagine that the color change has to do with the fact that the crab is finally getting the nutrition that he needs.
Something that striking, if it is nutritional, would most likely happen when the animal molted, not during intermolt. Perhaps something damaged the darker pigments and this is allowing the reds to show through. Overheating a leg or two can do this.
I am curious about how the color changed without the crab molting...unless...did the crab molt before you started handling it?
That would make the most satisfying explanation were this a nutritional thing.

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Re: Crab leg turned red

Post by CrabbyJo »

I've not noticed any real color change in any of my hermies except when they have molted. This is the first I've heard of the color change due to overheating, I did not know that could happen.
I did have a crab overheat (when I was still a very new crabber), but he was a bright red anyway (PP) so cannot say that it caused any color change.

Suebee:
In many years with many tanks the only time i had a surface molt was when i mistakenly listened to some who said more or all ee was a good substrate.
Please, do not blame the EE for your surface molt. There are many many people who have had nothing but success with all EE. It could have been that the crab that surface molted was used to another substrate and was reluctant to dig, or perhaps there were other factors, specific to the crab himself. There really is no way of knowing.
You could say that you have found that your crabs seem to prefer the EE mixed with some sand, but please, don't make it sound like all EE is a huge mistake. It is an excellent substrate, and my crabs love to dig in it and have molted in it many times.
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