can you feed hermit crabs watermelon?

Can Hermit Crabs Eat Watermelon?

Hermit crabs are decomposers, known for their willingness to scavenge for leftover food. Of course, that doesn’t mean that it’s okay to feed your pet hermit crabs just anything. Hermit crabs love eating sweet foods, such as watermelon and blueberries, but you still need to control how much your hermit crabs eat.

Watermelon can be good for hermit crabs to eat. However, they contain natural sugar, and you should avoid letting your hermit crabs rely on sugary foods for energy. Watermelon is classified as a low-acid fruit, which can negatively impact your hermit crabs’ sense of smell and activity levels if eaten to excess.

According to Animal Behaviour, a reduced ocean pH of less than 6.8 was found to have a profound effect on wild hermit crabs. They struggled to detect optimal shells to move into the post-molting period. This study concluded that the lower water pH levels can affect the decision-making and appetite of hermit crabs.

Is Watermelon Good for Hermit Crabs?

Watermelon is a sugary fruit that contains a large quantity of water, as well as essential vitamins and minerals. These can benefit your hermit crabs’ health as it contains:

  • Vitamin C (boosts immunity)
  • Vitamin A (aids vision)
  • Potassium (higher energy levels)
  • Calcium (maintaining the hardness of the exoskeleton)

Watermelons aren’t empty calories. Of course, the daily values of the average hermit crab’s diet will vary, depending on a number of factors. These include age, weight, species, and overall health.

For now, let’s take a closer look into the recorded nutritional values of watermelon, as determined by the United States Department of Agriculture. These are as follows:

FoodWater ContentSugar ContentVitamin CVitamin APotassiumCalcium
Watermelon91.4 grams6.2 grams8.1 milligrams28 micrograms112 milligrams7 milligrams
Watermelon Seeds5.05 grams0 grams0 milligrams0 micrograms648 milligrams54 milligrams

Space out feeding your hermit crabs any watermelon or acidic fruits. For instance, if you have fed your hermit crabs an acidic fruit the day before, skip the watermelon and its seeds the next day.

Instead, feed your hermit crabs bits of watermelon every few days as a supplement to their current diet. This will ensure that your hermit crabs remain well hydrated and don’t dry out during hot weather.

Can Hermit Crabs Eat Watermelon Rind?

According to the International Food Research Journal, around 1/3 of the entire watermelon is comprised of the rind. It does have its fair share of nutrients stored within. Unfortunately, it is unwise to feed your hermit crab watermelon rind.

The rinds contain few nutrients that are valuable to hermit crabs. Hermit crabs like tearing apart their food as a form of entertainment. However, they should not have to work too hard to eat their meals.

The tough exterior might be too hard for your hermit crabs to tear through safely. Therefore, you shouldn’t give your hermit crabs any watermelon rinds, even as a treat.

The watermelon rind is often thrown away due to its tough, fibrous exterior. Alternatively, some people pickle watermelon rinds to make them sweeter or easier to eat.

This is obviously not something you want to feed your hermit crabs. There are harmful chemicals added to the pickling process. They don’t bother humans, but they are dangerous to hermies.

do hermit crabs like watermelon?

Do Hermit Crabs Like Watermelon?

When introducing a new food into your hermit crab’s diet, it will be a matter of trial and error. This is largely due to the smell of watermelon, how often your hermit eats it, and your hermie’s own preferences.

The hermit crab’s keen sense of smell is one of its biggest assets. It allows the crustacean to determine which foods are safe to eat and which should be avoided.

Indeed, the Journal of Experimental Biology and Ecology found that hermit crabs tend to avoid foods they have eaten within a 24-hour time span. This preference for variety leads them to having a much broader diet. This, in turn, supplements the lack of nutrients found in the foods they had previously chosen to eat.

Variety is a large part of the hermit crab’s diet and is not affected by the sex or age of the creature. According to Animal Behaviour, hermit crabs preferred different foods they had not eaten recently, regardless of nutritional value.

The study placed these crustaceans on different nutrient-focused diets (carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids respectively). The hermit crabs consistently avoided foods they had at least smelled for hours beforehand.

Researchers concluded that this broader diet allows for higher relative growth rates among hermit crab populations. This makes it a benefit rather than a sign that your hermit crab is picky with its food.

How To Feed Watermelon To A Hermit Crab

If you want to introduce a new food to your hermit crab, slide it into its enclosure with other familiar foods that it may have eaten recently. Slicing up the watermelon into small pieces and presenting it with other familiar fruits, vegetables, and pellets is a good start.

Your hermit crab might smell the sweet watermelon, immediately recognize it as new food and flock to it. If your hermit crabs avoid the watermelon, discard any uneaten parts the next morning.