can hermit crabs have carrots?

Can Hermit Crabs Eat Carrots? (Dried, Baby + Raw)

Fresh carrots are at the top of many recommended feeding lists. Owners cannot go wrong with giving this bright orange vegetable to their hermit crabs. The color reveals a lot about their nutritional qualities.

Carrots are among the healthiest vegetables to feed hermit crabs. This is because carrots contain carotenoids. These are plant pigments packed with antioxidants that ensure hermit crabs retain a bright, lustrous coloring. Carrots are also high in calcium, which is essential for a strong and robust exoskeleton.

Carrots are not a superfood, so you’ll still need to take certain steps to ensure they are eaten safely and in moderation. However, you may be surprised by how good carrots are for hermit crabs.

Are Hermit Crabs Allowed Carrots?

The presence of carotenoids alone is reason enough to introduce carrots to the diet of your hermit crabs. However, eating carrots regularly offers far more health benefits than most people realize.

Why Do Hermit Crabs Need Carotenoids?

There are over 600 different types of carotenoids. According to Marine Biology, the five most commonly found in hermit crabs are:

  • Astaxanthin
  • Beta-carotene
  • Canthaxanthin
  • Lutein
  • Polioxyxanthophill

The primary benefit of carotenoids is their antioxidant properties. Hermit crabs are delicate and susceptible to illness in captivity. Bacterial infection, in particular, is a common cause of mortality in hermit crabs.

Carotenoids are not a miracle cure. You still need to replicate wild conditions as closely as possible in a hermit crab aquarium. Carotenoids in the diet can boost immunity and extend life expectancy, though.

Another reason to bring carotenoids into the diet of hermit crabs is aesthetic. Carotenoids, including those found in carrots, ensure that hermit crabs retain a bright, lustrous color to their exoskeleton.

Hermit crabs that lack carotenoids will typically fade in hue to a dull gray. This suggests their diet is lacking. Such hermit crabs would benefit from consuming carrots in greater quantity. Be aware, this fading in color can also be attributed to an impending molt.

how to feed hermit crabs carrots

Do Hermit Crabs Like Carrots?

The healthiest food choices are not always the tastiest. Thankfully, this not applicable here. Many hermit crabs like the taste of carrots.

This is because hermit crabs enjoy sugary foods. The presence of maltose, fructose, sucrose, and glucose in carrots will meet this desire and keep your hermit crabs interested. Kuroda carrots are the sweetest of their kind.

One concern is that carrots lack a distinct scent. This may make it tricky to engage the interest of hermit crabs initially. If your hermit crabs show no desire to eat carrots, try pumpkin or sweet potato as alternatives.

Are Carrots Good for Hermit Crabs?

We have been at pains to point out the benefits of carotenoids for hermit crabs. Let’s delve deeper into the nutritional value of a 100g carrot:

Vitamin A0.835 mg
Vitamin C5.9 mg
Vitamin E0.66 mg
Vitamin K0.0132 mg
Thiamin (Vitamin B1)0.066 mg
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)0.058 mg
Niacin (Vitamin B3)0.983 mg
Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)0.138 mg
Folates (Vitamin B9)0.019 mg
Sodium69 mg
Potassium320 mg
Calcium33 mg
Copper0.017 mg
Iron18 mg
Manganese0.143 mg
Magnesium12 mg
Zinc0.24 mg
Carbohydrates4.7 g
Protein0.93 g
Fat0.24 g
Dietary fibers2.7 g
Energy41 kcal

Carrots have other benefits for hermit crabs that also merit focus. The high levels of Vitamin A, for example. This is due to the presence of beta-carotene, arguably the most critical of all carotenoids. 

Notice the calcium content of carrots, too. Just as calcium helps build strong teeth and bones in humans, it benefits the exoskeleton of hermit crabs. Carrots are a great source of this mineral, as are cuttlebones.

Carrots are primarily made up of water. This keeps their calorie count down. That is not a huge concern as hermit crabs do not become obese. They do struggle with dry skin, so any water intake is to be welcomed.

The biggest concern with carrots is their relatively high sodium content. This could lead to hermit crabs drying out.

It’s possible to have too much of a good thing. As much as beta-carotene is important for hermit crabs, it should be consumed in moderation. Beta-carotene turns to Vitamin A once consumed.

As per Biological Reviews, Vitamin A benefits vison in hermit crabs but is not considered essential. In most animals, excess Vitamin A can cause toxicity. It is better to err on the side of caution.

Types of Carrots For Hermit Crabs

Hermit crabs can eat these root vegetables in most forms. The most important thing is to choose high-quality, fresh carrots. Avoid any carrots with signs of black rot.

Can Hermit Crabs Eat Raw Carrots?

Raw carrots are safe for hermit crabs. Raw carrots, especially when organic and plucked from the ground, contain the highest amount of nutrition.

Be aware that hermit crabs do not have teeth. While they often enjoy crunchy food textures, raw carrots may pose a challenge to break down. Slicing and dicing the carrots into cubes is recommended.

Hermit crabs pick up a chunk of carrot with the claws before the secondary antennae guide it into the mouth. This means the smaller the serving, the better. Do not leave a whole carrot in the enclosure and walk away.

Many hermit crabs like eating carrot tops. Leafy greens are another great addition to a hermit crab diet. These tops will not contain any carotenoids, but nothing in them harms hermit crabs.

Can Hermit Crabs Eat Baby Carrots?

Baby carrots are the ideal choice of vegetable for hermit crabs – with a sizable caveat. Baby carrots are made from larger carrots. The raw carrots are picked before full growth and cut down to size to make baby carrots.

This means the vegetables contain much of the same nutrition. A small amount is lost in the peeling process, but not enough to raise concern. Perhaps more importantly, baby carrots are sweeter than their raw counterparts. This makes them more appealing to hermit crabs.

These vegetables are doused in a ‘chlorine bath’ for cleansing. Chorine is lethal to hermit crabs. By the time the baby carrots reach the supermarket, all chlorine traces should have evaporated. Buy from reputable suppliers.

Can Hermit Crabs Eat Dried Carrots?

You can get dried carrots from a store or buy a dehydrator and complete this process yourself. This is a way to keep a constant supply of carrots at hand. You can even freeze the carrots to prolong their life.

Dried carrots should be rehydrated before serving to hermit crabs. This is a simple process. Just leave the carrots in a bowl of room temperature water. Within an hour, they will be ready to serve to your hermit crabs.

Place dried carrots in a habitat shortly before your hermit crabs wake up at night. This way, they can absorb the moisture created by the humid conditions. This makes the carrots tastier and easier to eat.

Can Hermit Crabs Eat Boiled Carrots?

Carrots must never be boiled or baked before feeding to hermit crabs. They will not understand the concept of hot food and likely burn themselves. Even if you let the carrots cool down, you are doing your pets no favors.

It could be argued that boiling carrots makes them softer. This, in turn, would make carrots easier for hermit crabs to chew and eat. In the process, heat kills the vast majority of goodness found in carrots.

If you inadvertently wipe out the nutritional value of carrots, your hermit crabs are just consuming empty calories. Stick to cold carrots, even if your hermit crabs are initially ambivalent to their charms.

Can Hermit Crabs Drink Carrot Juice?

If your hermit crabs will not eat carrot juice, how about drinking it? On paper, juicing carrots into a liquid is a way of getting carotenoids into your hermit crabs. It’s not really advisable, though.

Unless you have a slow masticating juicer, the blades run hot. As discussed above, this heat kills elements of nutrition. When we consider how messy carrot juice can be, it becomes more a hindrance than a help.

Carrot juice is sticky and messy. Your hermit crabs may not decide to drink the juice but splash and bathe in it. This will cause staining.

do hermit crabs like carrots?

How To Feed Hermit Crabs Carrots

Any carrots you feed your hermit crabs must be washed in cool, unchlorinated water. Even if you bought organic carrots – which is advisable – they still need to be cleaned up.

Organic carrots have not been treated with pesticides or herbicides. They could have traces of soil on them, though. While hermit crabs have no aversion to living in soil, wild dirt may contain fungi or bacteria. Some carrots even host tiny mites.

It is up to you if you decide to peel your carrots. This should not be necessary if you have washed them well. Peeling removes a tiny amount of nutrition, but not enough to harm your hermit crabs. Peeling may also release more scent from the carrot.

Once your hermit crabs have finished eating, or if they show no interest, remove any leftover carrots. These vegetables do not last long in warm, humid conditions. Once a carrot develops black rot, it is unsafe to eat.

How Often Should Hermit Crabs Eat Carrots?

Carrots may be good for hermit crabs, but this does not mean they can be fed every day. Hermit crabs need variety in their diet.

In the wild, which is where 99% of captive hermit crabs start life, they scavenge daily. This creates a smorgasbord of culinary choices. Hermit crabs rarely eat the same thing twice in a row.

This means that hermit crabs quickly grow bored if offered familiar food. Hermit crabs retain memories and will recall what was on yesterday’s plate. To keep hermit crabs engaged with carrots, limit servings to once or twice a week.

If you can convince your hermit crabs to eat carrots, they will benefit from the experience. The presence of carotenoids in carrots makes them more than just safe for hermit crabs. They are recommended as a weekly addition to the diet of your pets.