Can you feed watermelon to hermit crabs?

Can Hermit Crabs Eat Watermelon?

Last Updated on: 2nd September 2023, 06:58 pm

Hermit crabs crave sweet tastes, so fruit is a much-loved snack treat. Watermelon is mouthwatering to hermit crabs due to its delicious flavor and fleshy, juicy texture.

Watermelon can be offered to hermit crabs alongside other fruits, perhaps once or twice a week.

Although watermelon is sweet-tasting, it’s not that high in sugar. Watermelon is a good source of vitamins A and C and potassium. Melon is also refreshing and hydrating.

When feeding melon to hermit crabs, offer the flesh. The rind is too tough for hermit crabs to break down before eating, and the seeds contain traces of the chemical amygdalin.

You’ll also need to break watermelon flesh into small, manageable chunks.

Melon will spoil within hours in a hot hermit crab enclosure. Once watermelon starts to turn, it becomes increasingly sour, meaning hermit crabs may lose interest.

Do Hermit Crabs Like Watermelon?

Many hermit crabs enjoy sweet tastes, making watermelon irresistible.

If you place a freshly sliced piece of watermelon in a tank immediately before pet hermit crabs awaken, expect to see sudden movement underneath the substrate.

The smell of watermelon will initially attract the attention of hermit crabs. If a tang of vinegar or sourness emanates from watermelon, it’s turning bad.

As natural scavengers, hermit crabs may not be overly concerned by the rancid scent of rotting watermelon. Alas, consuming rotten fruit isn’t recommended.

While the sour taste of bad watermelon will deter some hermit crabs, others will eat what’s available.

Is Watermelon Good for Hermit Crabs?

Having determined that hermit crabs will likely enjoy the taste of watermelon, we need to assess whether it’s suitable for their consumption.

Here’s the nutritional value of one cup (152 g) of diced watermelon:

Total Fat0.2 g
Saturated Fat0 g
Cholesterol0 mg
Sodium1.5 mg
Potassium170.2 mg
Carbohydrates11.5 g
Dietary Fiber0.6 g
Sugar9 g
Protein0.9 g

Despite its sweet taste, watermelon is surprisingly low in sugar. The natural sugars provide a sweetness that plays a significant part in the appeal of watermelon to hermit crabs.

Advantages of Watermelon

The main benefit of watermelon to hermit crabs is its water content. The flesh of watermelon comprises 92% water, so hermit crabs will be rehydrated while enjoying a sweet-tasting snack.

While the sugar content is moderate, appropriate amounts promote the development of chitin. As per Advances in Carbohydrate Chemistry, chitin and calcium are needed for a strong exoskeleton.

Watermelon is high in potassium, which optimizes fluid levels, muscles, and nerves. Watermelon also contains vitamin A for healthy vision, and vitamin C bolsters the immune system.

Disadvantages of Watermelon

While the sugar in watermelon is fructose, it can attract insects, notably flies. Be wary of pests entering a hermit crab tank and disrupting the natural ecosystem.

The other concern surrounding watermelon is its lifespan. Watermelon starts to spoil within 2 hours when left out at room temperature, and it’ll turn even faster in a warm hermit crab tank.

Only offer melon when hermit crabs are active and hungry so that it’s quickly consumed.

What Parts of A Watermelon Can Hermit Crabs Eat?

To feed watermelon to hermit crabs, you need to understand the various components of the fruit.

According to the International Food Research Journal, watermelon is broken into 3 core parts – flesh, rind, and seed. Also, we’ll assess the suitability of watermelon juice for hermit crabs.

Watermelon Flesh

The flesh of a watermelon is where the health benefits – and great taste – lie for hermit crabs. Slice pieces of the flesh or use a melon baller, removing any rind and seeds.

Watermelon Rind

Watermelon rind is very tough and devoid of nutrients. While the skin of watermelon is high in fiber, this doesn’t offer hermit crabs enough reward to justify the effort of consuming it.

Hermit crabs don’t have teeth, so they’ll find watermelon rind tough to swallow. They need to break it down into tiny pieces using their claws.

Watermelon rind is so tough it may be difficult to break apart. A hermit crab risks damaging its large cheliped (claw) in its attempts to tear the rind apart, which won’t regrow until its next molt.

can land hermit crabs eat watermelon?

Watermelon Seeds

The seeds should be removed first if offering watermelon to a hermit crab.

Seeds are often considered hazardous to hermit crabs, posing a choking risk. Watermelon seeds also contain trace amounts of amygdalin, which converts to cyanide in the body.

As per the Research Journal of Environmental Sciences, the amount of amygdalin found in watermelon seeds is negligible, but this is judged on a human’s size, body weight, and digestion.

In hermit crabs, watermelon seeds are likelier to have life-ending consequences.

Watermelon Juice

Watermelon juice is a popular addition to water because it’s refreshing.

The water in the flesh is enough to keep hermit crabs hydrated. Hermit crabs enjoy the taste of a bowl of watermelon juice, but they’ll be ingesting more sugar.

Hermit crabs also like to submerge themselves in water and would do the same in a bowl of watermelon juice. This means hermit crabs will get very sticky, causing them to feel uncomfortable.

The smell will also attract bugs and other pests, while the watermelon juice will likely mingle with a pure water source when the hermit crab tries to wash it off.

How To Feed Watermelon To Hermit Crabs

Moderated portion sizes are important when feeding watermelon to hermit crabs. An entire watermelon weighs over 4 kg, and the nutritional data provided previously covered 152 g.

Thankfully, much of the weight comes from the rind and water content. Remove the rind and seeds. Then, chop the flesh into small chunks or use a melon baller.

Place the pieces of watermelon in the tank and wait for the hermit crabs to descend on the food.

How Much Watermelon Can Hermit Crabs Eat?

Ideally, give hermit crabs watermelon once per week. This may feel wasteful as the fruit is so large and spoils quickly, but you could get a smaller portion or share a watermelon with the family.

Offer watermelon to hermit crabs twice a week, perhaps more during the year’s hottest months. Avoid offering melon on consecutive days because hermit crabs will lose interest in the second serving.

Animal Behavior explains that hermit crabs instinctively look for food that differs from something they’ve recently eaten. Offer something equally hydrating, like blueberries or sliced cucumber.

Watermelon is a good addition to a hermit crab’s diet, especially during the summer when hydration is important. Feed hermit crabs a variety of fresh fruits so they get more nutrients.