As natural scavengers in the wild, captive hermit crabs enjoy a varied diet. As per Marine Ecology, they’ll eat anything they find but seldom consume the same food twice in 24 hours.
Hermit crabs are drawn to sweet tastes and aromas, which makes bananas an appealing fruit. The Cavendish banana, the most common type in grocery stores, is hermit crab-safe.
Bananas are high in calories, so 1-2 slices will give hermit crabs energy to get through the day. Immediately remove any uneaten banana, as it’ll spoil in the heat and humidity.
As hermit crabs have no teeth, the softness of banana makes them easy to swallow and digest.
Are Bananas Good for Hermit Crabs?
This table outlines the nutritional value of one Cavendish banana:
|Total Fat||0.4 g|
|Saturated Fat||0.13 g|
|Dietary Fiber||3.1 g|
Some of the reasons to introduce banana to the diet of hermit crabs include:
- Manganese: An essential trace mineral used to convert carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into energy.
- Calcium: This is essential for building and maintaining the exoskeleton. It also assists with the molting process, which is when hermit crabs shed their old exoskeletons and grow new ones.
- Potassium: This is important for the development of the exoskeleton because it leads to the creation of calcium carbonate, which makes up the hard outer layer.
- Fat: Some chunks of banana are a good snack for a hermit crab pre-molt because molting hermit crabs hide, living off the fat they’ve stored.
- Carbohydrates: Provides the energy needed for climbing, digging, and foraging.
- Soluble and insoluble fiber: This is good for digestive transit, preventing constipation.
The flesh of a banana is easy for hermit crabs to swallow, so there’s no choking risk.
Disadvantages of Bananas
The risks primarily revolve around the sugar and calorie content of bananas. While this will provide hermit crabs with the energy required to climb, play, and explore, a little banana goes a long way.
Hermit crabs will find their stomachs full, so some banana will go to waste if you offer too much at once.
Hermit crabs can grow too fond of the taste, rejecting other foods. Also, they can get bloating, stomach pain, and diarrhea due to sudden dietary modifications.
How Do Hermit Crabs Eat Bananas?
With all hermit crab nourishment, the antennae is the first body part to react.
If you place the banana chunks in the tank, you’ll notice the hermit crab’s antennae will start to twitch. This means they’re sniffing the air and detecting the food.
After this, the hermit crabs will likely descend upon the banana. Sometimes one dominant hermit crab leads the way, and others follow. Alternatively, there may be a feeding frenzy unfolding.
Hermit crabs pick up banana with their chelipeds – the claws at the forefront of the body. These will be used to guide the banana toward the mouth.
From there, the secondary antennae detect the taste and guide the banana into the mouth.
Hermit crabs have small mouth parts that grind down food.
How to Feed Banana to Hermit Crabs
If you’re offering banana to hermit crabs, ensure it’s fresh.
While hermit crabs are less fussy than humans about fruit that’s turning, a black or bruised banana will be covered with mold spores.
Green bananas are unappealing to the human palate but arguably the best choice for hermit crabs.
According to the Journal of Agriculture and Social Sciences, humidity causes rapid ripening in bananas. A green banana will be ideal for hermit crabs due to the humidity of their tank.
Can Hermit Crabs Eat Banana Peels?
The peel of a banana contains as much goodness as the flesh, but it’s unsuitable for hermit crabs.
While there’s nothing toxic about banana peel, it’s too rubbery due to a tough outer layer of cells called the epicarp. While this protects the banana, hermit crabs will struggle to swallow and digest the peel.
Sliced or Mashed Fresh Banana
You can slice or mash up the banana. If hermit crabs leave any uneaten banana, remove it from the cage. Banana can become a bacterial hazard if left to turn in the high humidity of a hermit crab tank.
Freeze-dried banana is often sold in supermarkets and health food stores as banana chips.
Many banana chips contain artificial additives and preservatives, while some manufacturers add more sugar than naturally found in a banana, which can cause digestive upset.
If you want to offer banana chips, it’s best to get a dehydrator and make your own at home. This way, you can control the ingredients that are consumed.
As banana turns and rots quickly in humidity, frozen slices of banana kept in an icebox make sense.
Thaw some slices of frozen banana at a time, serving this and removing anything uneaten. While frozen, the banana won’t release any scent and will be too tough for the hermit crab.
As hermit crabs prepare to molt, they’ll stock up on fat reserves. So, you could offer banana milk as an occasional treat, as hermit crabs aren’t lactose intolerant (they can process lactase).
Use a blender or food processor to make banana milk at home, as prepackaged drinks sold by stores will be laden with sugar. Only offer a small quantity and remove what’s left once they’re done drinking.
How Often Should Hermit Crabs Eat Banana?
One chopped-up medium-sized banana is more than enough for a colony of hermit crabs. Start small by limiting each hermit crab to one slice of banana.
You can feed hermit crabs banana 1-2 times per week. As banana appeals to hermit crabs, it’s best held back as a training reward. The less frequently you give them banana, the more effective it’ll be.
Banana shouldn’t be the cornerstone of a hermit crab’s diet, but it’s a good supplementary snack. Hermit crabs like the taste and smell of banana, and consumption will benefit their health if fed in moderation.