Hermit crabs are usual and unusual creatures at the same time. It is usual in that they are not unavailable, and is not an about-to-be extinct species. But their active, inquisitive, nature brands them apart from many other pets. And to complete the quota of their unusualness is their exclusive habit of going through their lives with a shell that they borrow from snails. These shells are their survival hats without which they cannot exist.
People love to keep them as pets. Feeding them is easy because they are not fastidious about food. They are omnivores who eat both vegetable matter and animal matter. Leaves, grass, litter, and decaying wood or fruit, are victuals for them. Besides that, they eat many of the things that humans eat.
While they may eat everything that their owners feed them, owners should make sure that they are getting a balanced diet. It is important that they have enough of the plant pigment carotene, as well as calcium in their diet. Hermit crabs that have carotene deficiency will typically have a faded colour after they moult.
Sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables in the diet is enough to rectify the problem.
The following are the things that they can be fed to keep them healthy:
o Brightly coloured vegetables like corn and carrot will satisfy their carotene requirement.
o Hermit crabs need extra food after moulting. Dairy foods like cheese at this stage will provide them with sufficient calcium and will also help them to recuperate fast.
o Tropical fruits like coconuts, papayas, bananas, and mangoes are recommended in their diet.
o Meat is all right for hermit crabs, but should be without the sauces and oils that humans add to it.
o Many things that humans love, like nuts, raisins, popcorn, cereals, crackers, and peanut butter are the favourites of hermit crabs also.
Besides these things, which are generally available in all households, pet stores will have special hermit crab feed. These are generally things like seaweeds, fish food flake, escargot, dried shrimps, brine shrimps, or frozen fruit. All these are rich in nutrients that crabs need.
After observing the crabs for a while the owners will understand the food preferences of their pets. They can make the diet interesting by mixing nutritive food and foods that their pets like.
Crab food recipes are also available over the internet. These are also a good way for balancing taste and nutrition.