The pineapple is the tropical fruit of the Ananas comosus plant. Pineapples are most commonly grown in Latin America, particularly Costa Rica, although they also grow in parts of Africa. Pineapples are widely known for their distinctive appearance and sweet, sharp taste.
The sweetness of pineapple, especially when coupled with the unmistakable aroma of the fruit, will appeal to most hermit crabs. It’s unlikely they’d ever encounter pineapple in the wild, but captive hermit crabs will likely learn to love this fruit.
Pineapple has no toxic parts, so it’s safe in this regard, but you’ll need to exercise caution when feeding hermit crabs. The acidic nature of pineapple flesh can be uncomfortable for hermit crabs’ mouths. Pineapple is also high in sugar, which hermit crabs crave.
Pineapple contains calcium, bromelain, phenolics, Vitamin C, and flavonoids. Pineapple will never be considered a staple food for hermit crabs, but it’s okay to feed them in moderation.
Is Pineapple Good for Hermit Crabs?
There are advantages to introducing pineapple to a hermit crab’s diet. Here’s the average nutritional content of one cup of fresh pineapple.
Pineapple is low in fat but high in sugar. BMC Neuroscience explains how hermit crabs immediately respond to sugar, potentially overeating at the expense of healthier alternative foods.
Benefits of Feeding Pineapple to Hermit Crabs
Pineapple contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, most notably flavonoids, phenolics, and bromelain. These will bolster the already-impressive immune system of hermit crabs.
They rarely get sick, and adding some pineapple to their diet will be beneficial. The presence of Vitamin C in pineapple also optimizes immunity levels.
While pineapples aren’t a citrus fruit, they rival an orange for Vitamin C content. Your hermit crabs will also find traces of calcium in pineapple, though not as much as in other fruits.
Drawbacks of Feeding Pineapple to Hermit Crabs
As discussed, the sugar content is the main issue. If your hermit crabs get a taste for sweet snacks, they may reject other foods that are higher in essential calcium and protein.
Pineapple is also high in nonvolatile acids, most notably citric, malic, and ascorbic acids. The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry explains that further unknown acids are also found in pineapple, lending the fruit its sharp taste.
While these acids are non-toxic, they create a burning sensation when combined with the fruit’s enzymes. While the human tongue is large enough to cope easily, hermit crabs are likelier to face discomfort if they consume an excessive amount of pineapple.
What Parts of the Pineapple Can Hermit Crabs Eat?
If you’re serving fresh pineapple to hermit crabs, you must cut it open to give them a chance to enjoy the benefits found in the flesh. It’s more work but better than offering tinned pineapple chunks.
Feeding fruit to hermit crabs fresh from a produce market is always preferable. Buy organic if you can, although it’s still advisable to thoroughly wash the pineapple to be on the safe side.
The pineapple crown, the distinctive leaves on the top of the fruit, is safe for hermit crabs once washed. It’s unlikely that your hermit crabs will eat them because they’re tough and lack flavor.
A pineapple crown is best used as a decoration or climbing toy in the tank because hermit crabs enjoy scaling walls and objects.
You could also use a crown to grow fresh pineapple. You’ll find stems protruding from the leaves, known as pineapple slips. Again, these are safe to eat, but few hermit crabs will show interest.
The rind of pineapple is tough and should be removed before serving. Hermit crabs don’t have teeth, so even if they use the chelipeds to cut pineapple rind down to size, it remains a choking hazard.
Another consideration surrounding pineapple rind is the spiky skin. Pineapple is a fusion of countless fruits, and the spikes surrounding the fruit are the legacy of many different plants.
These spikes are harmless if eaten but could cause discomfort if your hermit crabs brush against them.
The flesh of the pineapple is where a hermit crab will gain all the goodness this fruit offers. You should remove the skin and stalk before serving the flesh in chunks or mashed.
Tinned Pineapple Chunks
Tinned chunks of pineapple are a popular snack and may seem more convenient than cutting up the fruit yourself, but canned goods carry more risks.
Tinned pineapple may contain added sugar and be preserved in brine. There’s no way of knowing what preservatives are used in brine, so it’s best avoided.
If you browse the freezers of a supermarket, you’ll find frozen chunks of pineapple for sale. These are primarily intended for use in smoothies but are usually safe for hermit crabs.
Check the ingredients of frozen pineapple, ensuring it hasn’t been treated with additives or preservatives.
If the fruit is natural, allow it to thaw before adding it to a tank. A few ice flakes aren’t a concern, as the temperature in the tank will perform the remainder of the defrosting.
How To Give Pineapple To Hermit Crabs
You should cut or mash chunks of fresh pineapple for your hermit crabs. Place these in a feeding dish and put them into the tank before your hermit crabs are due to wake up.
The scent of the pineapple will stimulate your hermit crabs, especially if you place the fruit close to a water bowl. Most hermit crabs wake up hungry.
Pineapple is hardier than most fruits, even when exposed to a hermit crab enclosure’s intense heat and humidity. Don’t leave it uneaten for longer than 24 hours, or it’ll start to go bad.
How Much Pineapple Can Hermit Crabs Eat?
Hermit crabs can eat a few chunks of pineapple once a week.
If your hermit crabs enjoy other fruits, limit pineapple to once every two weeks. The sugar and acidity of pineapple must be considered when creating a diet plan.
Pineapple is a treat for hermit crabs, but it shouldn’t be considered a cornerstone of their diet. Feed pineapple occasionally to prevent them from overindulging on exclusively sugary foods.