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can hermit crabs have oranges?

Can Hermit Crabs Eat Oranges?

The leaves and bark of the orange tree are toxic to hermit crabs, and orange peels and citrus are widely used as insect repellents.

The good news is that oranges and other citrus fruits are safe for hermit crabs to eat. Additionally, oranges contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.

This will improve your hermit crabs’ digestion, energy levels, mobility, and the strength of their exoskeletons. The softer and mushier the orange, the more your hermits will enjoy eating it.

Because hermit crabs are scavengers, they prefer oranges that have passed their sell-by date. As long as oranges aren’t moldy or rotten, you can offer them this delicious fruit.

Can You Feed Hermit Crabs Oranges?

Oranges are a welcome addition to your hermit crab’s diet. As tropical fruit, they can be found in many of the same regions that hermit crabs call home.

Wild hermit crabs eat fruit that gathers along shorelines that have fallen off trees. In fact, the world’s largest hermit crab, the coconut crab, earns its name from doing just that.

Of course, oranges don’t usually grow near beaches, and hermits don’t often wander into in-land orchards, but that doesn’t stop them from being a healthy food option.

Hermit crabs can smell great distances in humid weather and are drawn to fruit near their habitats. In the wild, if oranges are nearby, hermit crabs can find them, pick them apart, and digest them.

Hermit crabs are omnivores, so they can eat plant and animal matter.

Do Hermit Crabs Like Oranges?

There are many different types of oranges, which have subtly different tastes and flavors. Most oranges are sweet, fleshy, and juicy and carry a strong scent, which makes them appealing to hermit crabs.

Hermit crabs dislike oranges with sharper, tangy variations, such as Seville oranges and blood oranges. Hermit crabs prefer sweet-flavored oranges, such as Valencia oranges and navel oranges.

Other popular choices are tangerines, mandarins, and clementines. These aren’t technically oranges but are often considered part of the same family as they look and taste similar.

Clementines appeal to hermit crabs as they are small, sweet, and seedless.

Are Oranges Good for Hermit Crabs?

Here’s the nutritional value of a typical 140 g sweet orange:

Calories66
Total Fat0.2g
Saturated Fat0mg
Cholesterol0mg
Sodium0mg
Potassium237mg
Carbohydrates14.8g
Dietary Fiber2.8g
Sugar12g
Protein1.3g

A hermit crab will likely only eat a single slice of this orange.

As well as an appealing taste sensation, the benefits of oranges for hermit crabs include:

  • Vitamin C keeps the immune system healthy
  • Potassium provides energy
  • Fiber to aid digestion
  • Calcium for a robust exoskeleton
  • Antioxidants, such as flavonoids and carotenoids

The only risk from overeating oranges is excessive Vitamin C, which can lead to stomach upsets.

What Parts of an Orange Can Hermit Crabs Eat?

Learning what parts of orange are safe and which elements are harmful is essential:

Orange Flesh

The flesh of the orange is what hermit crabs should be eating, as this is where all the health benefits lie.

Consider removing the pith – the white, stringy material between the flesh and peel of the orange – when feeding orange to hermit crabs. This is a choking hazard and offers no flavor and limited nutrition.

Orange Peel

Fresh orange peel contains a natural repellent that deters hermit crabs from approaching. However, this fades once an orange grown on a tree falls to the ground.

Wild hermit crabs encounter orange peel while scavenging for food. While a hermit crab’s claws are somewhat dexterous, they lack the flexibility to peel an orange before eating. Ergo, wild hermit crabs can and do eat the peel.

Food Chemistry stated that orange peel is rich in flavonoids and antioxidants. Unfortunately, orange peel is harsh on hermit crabs’ digestion, leading to stomach upsets.

Nibbling on a small scrap of orange peel won’t harm a hermit crab.

Orange Seeds

As with all fruits, the seeds of an orange contain trace levels of amygdalin, which converts to cyanide once ingested. The levels of amygdalin aren’t high enough to harm a human, but a hermit crab is at risk.

However, the Proceedings of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences explain how orange seeds have antioxidant qualities. The same is true for the flesh of an orange, so don’t risk giving hermit crabs seeds.

You can give hermit crabs seedless varieties, such as navel oranges and clementines.

Orange Leaves

If you remove the peel from an orange, it stands to reason that you’ll also have removed any leaves from an orange tree. To be clear, orange leaves shouldn’t be placed in a hermit crab’s tank.

The bark and leaves of citrus trees contain three compounds toxic to hermit crabs:

  • Psoralen
  • Limonene
  • Linalool

Additionally, the leaves of an orange tree have likely been treated with pesticides.

are oranges safe for hermit crabs?

Orange Juice

Hermit crabs are attracted to orange juice due to its aroma, and they’ll benefit from Vitamin C from drinking it. However, too much Vitamin C causes digestive issues.

Hermit crabs are also messy eaters and drinkers, so they’ll likely spill orange juice, creating sticky floors and attracting bugs that smell the sugar in the liquid.

How To Feed Oranges To Hermit Crabs

Peel the orange thoroughly, removing any trace of leaves. Separate the segments of the orange and extract any seeds if necessary. You can now offer the orange to your hermit crabs.

Hermit crabs can eat an orange slice. If necessary, a hermit crab will cut the portion to size with the large cheliped. You can cut the pieces in half if you like, but there’s no need to pulp or mash the orange.

Hermit crabs almost prefer oranges that are starting to turn through age. If you consider the flesh too soft and pulpy to be appetizing, your hermit crabs will find it delicious.

How Often Can Hermit Crabs Eat Orange?

Keep orange feeding sessions to once a week. Hermit crabs grow bored of food they’ve recently eaten, and you want them to remain interested in eating orange segments due to their health benefits.

Alternatives to Oranges for Hermit Crabs

Here’s a list of citrus fruits that hermit crabs can eat:

  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Grapefruit
  • Papeda
  • Citron
  • Kumquat
  • Akamatsu

How much hermit crabs gravitate toward these alternatives to oranges depends on their preferences. Many hermit crabs dislike the sourness of lemon and lime but enjoy grapefruit.

Oranges are a favorite of hermit crabs in terms of taste, and these colorful fruits balance palate appeal with many nutrients and health benefits.

Hermit crabs shouldn’t be fed oranges too often, partly for health reasons and partly because they’ll grow bored. Offering oranges occasionally will keep pet hermit crabs happy and healthy.