Blueberries (vaccinium corymbosum) have a distinct scent, flavor, and texture. Their sweetness will appeal to most hermit crabs, who consider blueberries a delicious fruit.
Despite this, some hermit crabs may be cautious about blueberries. According to Behavioral Processes, the limited spectrum of hermit crab vision makes them apprehensive of the color blue.
Blueberries are rich in antioxidants, which stave off sickness and keep hermit crabs healthy.
Another benefit of blueberries is their versatility, as they can be enjoyed raw, frozen, or dehydrated. You can also cook blueberries and turn them into a jam, although this destroys some nutrients.
Hermit crabs quickly grow weary of eating the same foods repeatedly, so limit feedings to 2-3 berries, no more than twice a week.
Are Blueberries Good for Hermit Crabs?
Here’s the nutritional value of 100 grams of blueberries:
|Dietary Fiber||2.4 g|
Blueberries are considered a superfood, primarily due to the presence of antioxidants. They boost cellular antioxidant activity largely because they contain many flavonoids.
Introducing blueberries to the diet of hermit crabs reduces oxidative stress caused by free radicals.
Blueberries are a good source of phytochemicals, most notably ellagic acid and anthocyanins, which contribute to the blueberry’s rich color.
How To Feed Blueberries To Hermit Crabs
Here are some ways to give blueberries to hermit crabs:
Raw, fresh blueberries are recommended. Shop for organic blueberries to minimize any risk of pesticides or herbicides on the flesh, and rinse them in cool water before serving them in a bowl.
There’s no need to remove the skin from blueberries before providing them to hermit crabs, although you may want to cut them in half to make the berries easier to swallow.
This also releases scent, which according to BMC Neuroscience, attracts the attention of hermit crabs.
Blueberries spoil quickly in the heat and humidity of a hermit crab enclosure. So, offer them in small servings, removing anything uneaten before the berries rot and cause a bacterial hazard.
Cooking blueberries will soften the fruits, making them even more digestible. However, applying heat to fruit can kill some nutrients, which means they’re best served raw.
Check the freezer aisle of a supermarket, and you’ll find a selection of frozen fruits, including blueberries. These are used in smoothies but can be a great way to stock up on blueberries to give hermit crabs.
A large bag of frozen blueberries will contain all the same nutrition as fresh blueberries and last for months in the icebox. This can be more cost-effective than buying raw blueberries.
Allow frozen blueberries to thaw before serving them to pet hermit crabs.
As mentioned, fresh blueberries spoil rapidly. One way around this is to purchase freeze-dried blueberries or get a dehydrator and complete this process yourself.
If you prefer to shop for dried blueberries, go to health food stores. Those stocked in supermarkets are likelier to contain sugar and artificial preservatives to appeal to human tastebuds.
Jam can be used to earn the trust of hermit crabs and build a bond.
Placing jam on your finger will make handling much more appealing. As blueberries have a strong scent, blueberry jam is highly effective.
You can make blueberry jam by heating the fruits on medium heat on the stove, crushing them with a potato masher, and leaving them to simmer.
The jam can then be added to a jar and left in the refrigerator to cool and set overnight.
As heating up the blueberries will kill some of the nutrients, this isn’t the healthiest way for hermit crabs to enjoy them. Jam will only be consumed sparingly as a treat or reward.
Juicing blueberries into liquid form is just as nutritious as fresh fruits. The aroma of blueberries may also tempt hermit crabs into hydrating, especially as they consist of up to 84% water.
The only concern with blueberry juice is that it is likely to be sticky. Also, if blueberry juice is spilled onto the substrate, it’ll attract bacteria, turn rancid, and start to smell.
This means that the answer to the question “can hermit crabs drink blueberry juice?” is yes, but with certain caveats. If you offer hermit crabs blueberry juice to drink, do so sparingly.
Blueberry seeds are so small that many people don’t realize they exist. There’s no need to remove the seeds from blueberries before offering them to hermit crabs, as they’re not a choking hazard.
You could get blueberry seeds from a garden center and sprinkle them over hermit crab food. Blueberry seeds are a light, nutty flavor but have no health benefits.
If you want to buy blueberry seeds, look for the Latin name Vaccinium myrtillus on the label. This is the European blueberry shrub, which is arguably the healthiest option.
How Many Blueberries Can Hermit Crabs Eat?
As healthy as blueberries are for hermit crabs, they can have too much of a good thing. Limiting hermit crabs to 2-3 blueberries per serving is recommended.
If you have multiple hermit crabs in a single enclosure, and one eats more than the others, consider hand-feeding to ensure all of them enjoy their fair share.
How Often Should Hermit Crabs Eat Blueberries?
Regardless of how much hermit crabs enjoy the taste and texture of blueberries, they won’t want to eat them daily. Hermit crabs are scavengers, driven to seek out and experience new taste sensations daily.
Offer blueberries to hermit crabs once or twice a week. This will be frequent enough to provide them with the health benefits of blueberries but sporadic enough to retain interest—alternate blueberries with foods richer in calcium and protein to support a healthy exoskeleton.
Blueberries make an ideal snack or treat for hermit crabs. Introduce these fruits into the diet of hermit crabs to bolster their health and delight their palate.