do hermit crabs like rice?

Can Hermit Crabs Eat Rice? (White vs. Brown)

Last Updated on: 19th October 2023, 08:02 am

Hermit crabs may not be drawn to rice as it lacks an enticing scent. According to the Proceedings of the Royal Society, hermit crabs identify food by aroma near a water source.

Rice (Oryza sativa) doesn’t contain enough calcium and protein to keep hermit crabs healthy. However, it’s a good source of carbohydrates, giving them energy for climbing and burrowing.

Hermit crabs will show more interest in eating rice supplemented with meat, fruit, or vegetables.

Different Types of Rice for Hermit Crabs

With over 40,000 different types of rice, listing all the options isn’t realistic. One way to categorize rice is by assessing whether the contents of a bag are long-grain (indica) or short-grain (japonica.)

We’ll look at the 5 different types of rice you’re likely to keep in the pantry:

Brown Rice

Brown rice is a pure form that hasn’t undergone milling, which means it contains more nutrients.

If you want to introduce traditional rice to hermit crabs, brown rice is recommended. It takes longer to cook and is higher in calories due to its density, but the nutritional value is a worthy trade-off.

White Rice

While most rice starts as brown rice, it’s put through a mill and converted into white rice. White rice lasts longer on the shelf than brown rice, making it a staple of most kitchens.

Unfortunately, the milling process destroys some of the nutrients in brown rice. White rice is less beneficial than brown rice to hermit crabs.

For this reason, some owners avoid white rice because the ratio of calories to nutrients is unfavorable.

Basmati or Jasmine Rice

We have grouped basmati and jasmine rice as they’re similar.

Both are often referred to as ‘aromatic rice’ and are staples of Asian cuisine. As these types of rice smell stronger than standard rice, they may attract the attention of hermit crabs.

Jasmine and basmati rice are comparatively interchangeable in terms of nutritional value.

Jasmine rice is a slightly shorter grain, so it may be stickier and clump when offered to hermit crabs, but both are low in fat and provide much-needed energy.

Wild Rice

Wild rice isn’t rice but a form of grass native to North America. It’s dark brown or black and has a distinct, nutty aroma and taste. This can make it a firm favorite of hermit crabs.

In some respects, wild rice is the best option to feed hermit crabs. It provides more vitamins and minerals than other rice varieties.

Arborio Rice

Arborio rice (risotto rice) is medium grain, offering the best of both worlds. It holds more moisture than long-grain rice and isn’t as starch-heavy as short-grain rice.

Arborio should be served while warm, as it’ll be fluffy and appealing to a hermit crab’s palate. As the rice cools down, it clumps, making consumption more challenging.

is white rice safe for hermit crabs?

Is Rice Good for Hermit Crabs?

The main benefit of rice for hermit crabs is that it provides them with carbohydrates. It’s also a good source of vitamin B1 (thiamin), which the metabolism needs to function optimally.

Hermit crabs will be more energetic and can explore their surroundings with greater vigor, burrow underground, play with toys, and climb the tank’s walls.

Rice contains selenium, a natural antioxidant, and magnesium, bolstering the exoskeleton.

The purer the rice, the more nutrients it’ll contain. Brown rice contains fiber, aiding digestive transit. The bran (seed coat) is removed from white rice, reducing the quantity.

Varieties of purple and red rice contain the antioxidant anthocyanin. These flavonoids prevent oxidation by removing free radicals and reducing oxidative stress.

The issue is that hermit crabs need substantial amounts of protein and calcium to flourish. While rice isn’t toxic or overly calorific, it may fill the stomach at the expense of more nutritious foods.

How To Serve Rice To Hermit Crabs

Rice must always be served alongside another food rich in calcium and protein.

Consider adding eggs, chicken, fish, or fresh fruits and vegetables. These other foods should make up the bulk of the meal, with rice as an addition.

Cooked vs. Uncooked Rice

In many respects, uncooked rice is better for hermit crabs than boiled rice.

Some nutrients are destroyed whenever rice comes into contact with heat. Raw rice won’t clump or spoil in the heat of a hermit crab’s tank.

Short-grain rice may be safer because the grains are smaller and easier to swallow.

Seasoning Rice

As hermit crabs judge their foods by scent, adding seasoning to rice can make it smell more palatable.

Never apply the following seasonings to rice as they’re toxic:

  • Cinnamon.
  • Garlic powder.
  • Onion powder.
  • Rosemary.
  • Thyme.

Avoid seasoning and sprinkle some fresh basil or parsley on the rice if in doubt.

How Much Rice Can Hermit Crabs Eat?

Hermit crabs rarely encounter rice in the wild, so accepting this food may take a while. If you can tempt hermit crabs into eating rice, they’ll enjoy an energizing, low-calorie food that boosts energy.

Rice can be offered to hermit crabs 2-3 times a week, provided you keep portion sizes under control and change what you feed alongside it.

According to Animal Behavior, hermit crabs rarely eat the same food twice in 24 hours.

Rice isn’t an essential part of a hermit crab’s diet, but there are advantages to offering it to them. However, if the hermit crabs aren’t interested in rice, there are alternative foods.

If the hermit crabs enjoy rice, pair it with other essential foods to maximize the health benefits.