My hermie has been out of its shell for hours please help

Questions about hermit crabs that abandoned their shell.
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Connorsbrat
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My hermie has been out of its shell for hours please help

Post by Connorsbrat »

What is the volume of your main tank?
10 Gallons

How many hermit crabs do you currently have? How big are they?
Four

How long have you had the hermit crab(s) that you are concerned about?
A Month

What substrate or combination of substrates are you using? How deep is it?
Play sand/ coconut fiber mixture

What do you feed your hermit crabs?
Organic foods: coconut, berries, lettuce, honey, peanut butter, chicken, mashed potato

Do you use distilled, bottled or tap water? If you are using a dechlorinator, what brand is it? Does it state to remove all heavy metals, chlorine and chloramines?
Bottled water with Zoo Med crab water conditioner

What brand of sea salt are you using to supply your hermit crabs with salt water?
Zoo Med salt water conditioner

What heat source are you using and where is it positioned?
None, we are in Arizona.

Have you calibrated your thermometer(s) and hygrometer?
yes

What is the air temperature range and humidity inside the tank? If you are using an under tank heater, what is the temperature range of the substrate (it is likely to be different to the air temperature range)?
77-80 temperature range, and 77-80% humidity

Do you have any photos of your tank or hermit crab(s) of concern? If yes, please attach them to your post.
no.

We have a crab that is getting ready to moult that refuses to return to a shell. He is still moving and his eyes seem alert so I didn't realize he was getting ready to moult. We bought him almost a month ago. He was in a painted shell when we purchased him but moved to a new shell about a week ago. He hasn't seemed very comfortable in the new shell but hasn't wanted to move to any of the others we have provided him. We have provided 7 other shells for him to choose from and as much as it galls me have kept his painted shell just in case he didn't like his new home. We have tried everything we know to do to get him to go back into a shell and he is still not. We tried the glass cup method. We bathed him before putting him in a cup with his old shell. We have taken all of the shells out and boiled them in salt water and allowed them to cool before giving them to him. We checked the inside of all of the shells to make sure there was nothing in them... his old shell was the only one with a sharp ridge. We have made sure that he is now isolated in the main tank with his own food and waters and in a hiding place with 4 shells to choose from. We are very careful about changing their food and water every day, making sure the crabitat is spot cleaned, and misting to keep the humidity where it needs to be (we are in the desert) The top is covered so the tank maintains the heat and humidity really well. We have made sure we are using the same water that we give them to drink to mist the tank so that there isn't chlorine, etc. I am at a loss as to what to do next? Please help. He has been out of a shell for about 7 hours now...
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ladybug15057
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Re: My hermie has been out of its shell for hours please help

Post by ladybug15057 »

It is late here, but I do see your cry for help. Hopefully I can touch base here to help until somebody else can possibly have more time to help.

The bottle water, what type of bottle water? (spring, distilled, water sold for hermies?)
The ZooMed part 2 is not the right kind of salt mix to use. Hermies need to be offered an ocean/sea mix sold specifically for salt water tanks.
You would need to take the temp of the substrate to make sure there is a warmer and cooler side to it. (especially if you use any type of air conditioning or coolers)
Sometimes the more we fuss over a hermie in attempt to get them into a shell the more stressed they become. At this point it sounds as though you have done all that can be done to try to get him back into a shell. If you believe he is about to molt, make the iso’ed area dark where he is and just leave him be. Worse case, put his painted shell back in with him… it is not the best, but sadly even a painted shell at this time is better than no shell so he doesn’t dehydrate. Meanwhile, try to tweak the couple things above and good luck!
Please keep us updated.
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Connorsbrat
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Re: My hermie has been out of its shell for hours please help

Post by Connorsbrat »

The bottled water that we have been using is Reverse Osmosis water that we buy from the grocery store. We add crab water condidioner to it before we give it to the crabs. The actual substrate temperature ranges from 74 at the deep end to 78 at the shallower end.

I didn't realize that the salt water we have been using isn't good because it is made for hermit crabs.... I did see that you shouldn't use commercial crab food, but hadn't seen anything about the salt water. We will fix that in the morning.

We aren't doing anything else to handle our little guy to avoid overstressing him. Now it is a waiting game. He is in ISO with food and waters and multiple shells. Hopefully he will make it. I appreciate the help. :) Thank you. Will post when either he returns to his shell and seems to be doing better will still keep him in Iso for a few days to a week depending on his moult status.
Happy owner of 8 beautiful PP's: Doser, Tiger, Taz, Mayhem, Strawberry, Ferdinand, Loco, and K.C.; 2 E's: Thing 1 and Thing 2; 2 Blueberries: Violet and Blue; 1 Indo: Gentle Ben
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ladybug15057
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Re: My hermie has been out of its shell for hours please help

Post by ladybug15057 »

Per chance would you happen to know what species he is? Sometimes certain species do prefer certain style shells that feel a bit more comfy to the torso of their body. Sadly, most of the time pet stores do not sell the appropriate style shells either, or they have paint on them. Which style shells are you offering?
Unfortunately after one does begin to research hermies one does find that more times than not items sold for hermies actually do not have the hermies best interest at heart.
You mention you have 4 hermies, what size are they? (shell and all... dime, nickle, quarter, plum, etc.)
Chelipeds crossed here for your little one to pull through.
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Connorsbrat
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Re: My hermie has been out of its shell for hours please help

Post by Connorsbrat »

We lost Tickles this morning.... He was a PP. We were offering him all shells with round holes and mother of pearl insides because I read on a forum ahead of time that is what they like. There were a variety of them from just a little bit smaller to larger than his original shell. We discovered this morning after we lost him that he had an injury on the underside of his abdomen where the sharp edge had been in his painted shell. We also figured that was why he always seemed uncomfortable in the second shell he put on and wouldn't go back into one yesterday.... we were careful not to handle him other than putting him in a cup with his shells... and then back into isolation....

The other 3 we have are all PP's and are all very active and healthy. We are in the process of boiling all the shells, the toys and cleaning the crabitat just in case.... All three of the others seem to be just fine though. We bought all of them in natural shells and I will never buy another painted crab again... the two we had are both gone and didn't make it through their first moult....The range in size from a quarter to a plum.

I am sad about our crabby, but at least he isn't hurting anymore..... :(
Happy owner of 8 beautiful PP's: Doser, Tiger, Taz, Mayhem, Strawberry, Ferdinand, Loco, and K.C.; 2 E's: Thing 1 and Thing 2; 2 Blueberries: Violet and Blue; 1 Indo: Gentle Ben
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Re: My hermie has been out of its shell for hours please help

Post by Gizaroo »

Aww, so sorry to hear about your crabbie :(
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ladybug15057
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Re: My hermie has been out of its shell for hours please help

Post by ladybug15057 »

Connorsbrat I am ever so sorry to hear of your loss. :( This is a heartbreaking situation, but you did what could of been done. If only the pet stores were a little better informed too.
Sympathies,
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Re: My hermie has been out of its shell for hours please help

Post by Wai »

Pretty much any pet store product with a picture of a hermit crab or says "hermit crabs" on it is not safe for hermit crabs. Manufacturers of such products aren't exactly well-informed people. Sorry for your losses. :(
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Re: My hermie has been out of its shell for hours please help

Post by Connorsbrat »

Thank you all for your kindness and help. I have switched the salt water additive I was using. I had already given up any of the other "hermit crab" items from the pet store... This loss gave me the opportunity to truly educate my kids... I wish it would have ended better, but at least there was a lesson on saying NOOOOOOOOOOOO painted shells. My 8 year old got another little PP and made a stand against my ex husband about getting one in a shell painted like a football.....
Happy owner of 8 beautiful PP's: Doser, Tiger, Taz, Mayhem, Strawberry, Ferdinand, Loco, and K.C.; 2 E's: Thing 1 and Thing 2; 2 Blueberries: Violet and Blue; 1 Indo: Gentle Ben
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Re: My hermie has been out of its shell for hours please help

Post by CrabbyJo »

Good for your 8 year old! He saw what a painted shell can do. Poor little guy.
Those little crabs are also forced into those shells, and have no choice, and unfortunately he probably has been injured for a very long time.
It sounds like you really love these little guys, aren't they so addicting! So very happy to hear the whole family is advocating for proper treatment! :)

Best of luck to you with the rest, it sounds like you are well on your way to owing (ahem) too many hermies. lol! Wait.. it's never too many! :D
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