Your hermit crabs might be picky about their food. One day they might enjoy a certain food, and the next, they might ignore it entirely. This means you cannot get one food and feed it to your hermit crabs every day.
Hermit crabs can eat tomatoes, but they contain few of the nutrients that hermit crabs need. Because tomatoes are so acidic, so it’s advisable to only offer them as an occasional treat.
Tomatoes are a good source of vitamins C and A, as well as essential minerals such as potassium and beta-carotene. These all provide benefits to your hermit crab’s health.
Can You Feed Hermit Crabs Tomatoes?
Vitamin C can boost immunity, while vitamin A is good for vision. Potassium boosts the energy levels of hermit crabs.
Beta carotene is a special mineral that can make the color of your hermit crab’s exoskeleton far healthier. This can help it stand out more among potential mates. The nutrient also counts as an antioxidant. Since tomatoes contain high amounts of this nutrient, earning them a bright-red color, tomatoes can thus aid in molting.
Antioxidants also ensure that your hermit crab deals with less oxidative stress. That can improve its lifespan. Since hermit crabs generally live for up to 30 years, every little bit counts.
Overall, tomatoes offer a great many nutrients that your hermit crab can stand to benefit from.
Are Tomatoes Good for Hermit Crabs?
Tomatoes are highly acidic, which can be harmful to hermit crabs if fed too much. According to Animal Behaviour, wild hermit crabs in slightly more acidic waters have difficulty finding optimal shells after molting.
They were also less likely to move their antennae to smell or move at all. Researchers concluded that the reduced pH level might result in reduced decision-making functions in hermit crabs.
It can be assumed that acidic foods have the same negative effect on hermit crabs’ health. Tomatoes have an average pH of around 4 to 4.6, making them quite acidic compared to other vegetables. Therefore, you don’t want to feed your hermie too many pieces of tomato, nor too often.
This doesn’t mean that all acidic foods are bad for hermit crabs. As a rich source of vitamin C, tomatoes are a good snack for your hermit crabs’ health, alongside potassium and other nutrients.
Can Hermit Crabs Eat Grape Tomatoes?
Grape tomatoes are tomatoes that are the size and shape of grapes. They are mainly used in salads, but scraps can easily be shared with your hermit crabs.
One entire grape tomato or a half-grape tomato should suffice. The daily nutritional values a hermit crab should consume will differ depending on its:
- Health condition
Around 40 percent of its daily meals should consist of fresh fruits or vegetables. Let’s look at the United States Department of Agriculture recorded nutritional values of 100 grams of tomatoes:
|Tomato||Water||Vitamin C||Vitamin A||Potassium||Beta-Carotene|
|Roma Tomato||94.7 grams||17.8 milligrams||24 micrograms||193 milligrams||276 micrograms|
|Grape Tomato||92.5 grams||27.2 milligrams||49 micrograms||260 milligrams||393 micrograms|
Can Hermit Crabs Eat Cherry Tomatoes?
Cherry tomatoes are the size and shape of cherries. These tomatoes are slightly bigger than grape tomatoes. As such, it’s wise to cut a whole cherry tomato into smaller pieces for your hermit crabs.
While your hermit crabs can cut down the tomato itself, this may take too long. You shouldn’t leave the tomato in the enclosure as a toy to whittle down over time. It’s likely to rot during this period.
Compared to grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes will have much softer skins that might be more palatable to your hermit crabs. Unfortunately, this also means that they tend to rot faster than grape tomatoes.
Cherry tomatoes are similar to grape tomatoes in the benefits they provide. According to UC Davis, cherry and grape tomatoes have high concentrations of both sugars and acids.
However, cherry tomatoes are also found to be far sweeter than grape tomatoes. As such, provide cherry tomatoes as a rare treat. Otherwise, your hermit crabs’ blood sugar levels may rise.
Do Hermit Crabs Like Tomatoes?
Hermit crabs are omnivorous scavengers, meaning they will eat pretty much anything they can.
This includes garbage washed up on the beach, fish, and other food lying around. Of course, every hermit crab is different, and you should not feed it just anything you find.
The University of Michigan found that hermit crabs avoid food they may have consumed within at least a 9-hour timespan. It didn’t matter what sex or age the hermit crab was, nor did it matter what the diet consisted of.
Essentially, a hermit crab has a sharp sense of smell and memory that will tell it if the food presented is something it has eaten recently. If so, it will gloss over it in favor of any new foods, regardless of nutritional value.
This broader diet is thought to allow hermit crabs to eat a more nutritionally-balanced diet overall. Any nutrients lacking in previous foods they have eaten would then be supplemented by other foods later on. It does not mean that your hermit crabs will avoid that food forever. It means that it may be time for you to vary its diet.
How To Feed Tomatoes To Hermit Crabs
If you want to introduce tomatoes into your hermit crab’s diet, you need to do so slowly. Washing the tomatoes and cutting them up into smaller pieces for your hermit crab is a good start.
Present the new tomato in a mix of other fruits and vegetables it has eaten before. The new smell might entice your hermit to try the tomato first. Your hermit crab may skip over the tomato altogether.
You can also experiment by giving your hermies different tomatoes at different intervals to see which they like best. Whether globe, cherry, or grape, your hermit crabs may come to love these treats.