Hermit crabs love sweet tastes, so fruit is often a favored option when offering snacks and treats. Watermelon is mouthwatering to a hermit crab due to its appealing flavor and fleshy texture.
Watermelon can be offered to hermit crabs occasionally – ideally around once a week. As this fruit is so sweet, it needs to be used sparingly. High potassium levels temper this sugar content, along with the presence of Vitamins A and C. Watermelon is also very hydrating.
If serving watermelon to hermit crabs, stick to the fruit’s flesh. The rind is too tough for hermit crabs to break down before eating, and the seeds contain traces of the lethal chemical amygdalin.
You’ll also need to break watermelon flesh into small, manageable servings. This fruit will spoil almost immediately in a hot hermit crab enclosure. Once watermelon flesh rots, it becomes increasingly sour, so hermit crabs will likely lose interest on the spot.
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 your pet hermit crabs wake up, 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 can cause digestive issues.
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 is suitable for their consumption.
Here’s the nutritional value of one cup (152 g) of diced watermelon:
|Total Fat||0.2 g|
|Saturated Fat||0 g|
|Dietary Fiber||0.6 g|
Watermelon is low in fat and surprisingly low in sugar, despite its sweet taste. The sugar provides a natural 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 consists of 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 create a strong exoskeleton.
Watermelon is high in potassium, which provides hermit crabs with energy and vibrancy, enabling them to walk, burrow, climb, and do other activities.
Watermelon contains Vitamin A, which enhances eyesight. Also, Vitamin C bolsters the immune system.
Disadvantages of Watermelon
While the sugar in watermelon is fructose, it can attract insects – most notably flies. Be wary of pests making their way into a hermit crab tank and disrupting the natural ecosystem.
The other concern surrounding watermelon is its lifespan. Watermelon starts to spoil within two hours when left out at room temperature, and it’ll turn even faster in a warm hermit crab tank.
Only offer this food when hermit crabs are active and hungry so 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 this fruit.
As per the International Food Research Journal, watermelon is broken into three core parts – flesh, rind, and seed. Also, we’ll assess the suitability of watermelon juice for hermit crabs.
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 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 that it may be problematic to break apart. A hermit crab risks damaging its large cheliped (claw) in its attempts to tear the rind apart, which will not regrow until its next molt.
The seeds should be removed first if offering watermelon to a hermit crab.
Seeds are often considered hazardous to hermit crabs as they pose 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 much likelier to have life-ending consequences.
Watermelon juice is a popular addition to water, as it’s refreshing on the palate.
However, this doesn’t apply to hermit crabs. The water found 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 consuming sugar.
Hermit crabs also like to submerge themselves in water and would do the same in a bowl of watermelon juice. This will get very sticky, causing hermit crabs 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 the most important part of 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 and chop the flesh into small chunks, or better yet, use a melon baller.
Place these pieces of watermelon in the tank and wait for the hermit crabs to react.
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 entire family.
You could offer watermelon to hermit crabs twice-weekly feeding during the year’s hottest months. Avoid offering it on consecutive days, as hermit crabs will lose interest in the second serving.
Animal Behavior explains that hermit crabs instinctively look for food that differs from something they have recently eaten. So, offer something equally hydrating, such as blueberries or sliced cucumber.
Watermelon is a good addition to a hermit crab’s diet, especially during the summer when hydration is particularly important. Give hermit crabs a variety of fresh fruits.