Hermit crabs can eat plant matter. Hailing from tropical areas, hermies occasionally find brightly colored fruit. However, strawberries don’t grow on beaches, and hermit crabs never encounter them in the wild. That can leave owners concerned about possible dangers in feeding hermit crabs strawberries.
Strawberries contain no toxic or harmful compounds that would negatively affect your hermit crabs. In fact, they can become a regular part of their diet. Strawberries are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that will keep your hermies healthy and energetic. Even the juicy meat and tiny seeds will serve as a source of enrichment.
With that said, strawberries should not be the only thing your hermit crabs eat. They make a good supplement, as they can improve your hermit crabs’ exoskeletons, immune systems, and energy levels. However, they do not contain all the nutrients a crustacean needs, so they should be fed in moderation. Large strawberries can easily feed all of your pets for several meals, so you can offer this once per week.
Can A Hermit Crab Eat Strawberries?
Strawberries are seen as a dessert, but that doesn’t take them off the menu. These bright-red fruits are jam-packed with health benefits and flavor. In particular, they contain compounds that will improve your hermit crabs’:
- Immune systems
- Energy levels
This can help them ward off illness, better survive any falls or fights, and stay active. Because hermit crabs aren’t very social pets, their greatest appeal is scavenger hunting and shell-picking. With the right amount of strawberries, your hermit crabs will be eagerly exploring their new home for another taste.
Even if you do not live in a region that grows strawberries, they’re easy to find in most supermarkets. You don’t have to worry about buying the freshest kinds since hermit crabs are scavengers. They predominantly eat food left over by larger predators and clean up decaying plants or carcasses on beaches.
Although strawberries are more expensive during the off-season, hermit crabs don’t eat much. One large strawberry might even be the size of your hermit crab, giving it a healthy meal it can take its time on.
The one downside to strawberries is how quickly they age. Once they become soft and spongy, most people won’t enjoy the flavor, but hermit crabs will. These decomposers will make short work of a strawberry past its sell-by date. The soft texture and the more powerful smell will entice the scavengers to tear it apart and feast.
Are Strawberries Good For Hermit Crabs
Despite what the name claims, strawberries are not actual berries. They’re a fruit, and hermit crabs thrive on whatever rare pieces of fruit they locate in the wild. In fact, the world’s largest hermit crab, the coconut crab, gains its name from feasting on the thick, mildly sweet fruit of the coconut tree.
Of course, safe doesn’t always translate to healthy – but it does for strawberries and hermit crabs. Here are the health benefits you can expect from this hermit treat:
High In Calcium
Calcium is one of the most important minerals when it comes to a hermit crab’s diet. Because these crustaceans don’t have proper bones, they rely on their exoskeleton. This acts like hardened skin that:
- Protects them from harm
- Keeps their organs and muscles contained
- Allows the unique little pets to function properly
The calcium found in strawberries can help improve the strength and durability of that exoskeleton. This is especially true during the molting period.
Hermit crabs shed their old skins and grow new ones to increase their size and recover from harm. As such, calcium helps to create more productive molts. It also ensures that the new skin efficiently protects the hermits from whatever they encounter.
Strawberries are rich in vitamin C, which does impressive things for the immune system. Hermit crabs are mostly wild-caught, so this can help them resist bacteria, diseases, and viruses. Vitamin C has also been linked to better iron absorption, so your hermits will process other nutrients they eat more efficiently.
Best of all, vitamin C can help create healthier, stronger exoskeletons. That’s because vitamin C is necessary for the creation of collagen. According to the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, this is directly linked to denser, stronger bones – or, in the case of hermit crabs, stronger exoskeletons.
Along with calcium and manganese, vitamin B9 is another compound linked to healthier bones. Also known as folate, Nutrients claims that it dramatically improves how the body absorbs other B vitamins and fortifies the bones. For a hermit crab, this means healthier molts and better disease resistance.
Strawberries are full of antioxidants. These compounds help the body prevent oxidative stress, which is caused by free radicals. Free radicals have been linked to the negative effects of aging, such as vision loss, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer.
Free radicals occur naturally in the environment, making them hard to avoid. Thankfully, a meal of strawberries can fortify your hermit crabs against trouble. This ensures they will live longer, and enjoy a better lifestyle.
In particular, strawberries contain high levels of an antioxidant called anthocyanin. In fact, they’re packed with more than 25 different anthocyanins, according to Food Science and Technology. Anthocyanins give the strawberry its bright red pigment, so you can see its health benefits with a glance.
Strawberries also contain a high number of phenolic antioxidants. According to Nutrition, strawberries actually contain 2-11 times more phenolic antioxidants than other fruits.
Phenolic compounds have been linked to numerous health benefits. The main ones include antibacterial properties and a lowered risk of cancer.
One of the most abundant phenolic compounds found in strawberries is ellagic acid. Ellagic acid works to improve cognitive function. That can make your hermit crabs smarter, more active, and more reactive for years to come.
Do Hermit Crabs Like Strawberries?
Hermits aren’t picky eaters and will opt for anything edible. With that said, owners report that hermit crabs eagerly swarm any strawberries placed in their enclosure. That’s a sure sign that the hermits approve.
If you buy your hermit crab food pre-mixed and commercially, then check the ingredients list. You’re likely to find dried strawberry chunks in the mix. The bright coloring, the enticing smell, and the texture are all selling points.
With that said, every hermit crab is different. Yours might refuse strawberries when they’re first introduced. You can help the crustacean warm up to the new food by:
- Offering it whole strawberries: Hermits will enjoy tearing them apart
- Providing slightly old strawberries: This will make the smell irresistible and the texture even more appealing
- Cutting the strawberries into chunks: At first, smaller hermits may need to sample their fruit with the juicy meat opened wide for inspection
Are Strawberries Safe For Hermit Crabs?
Strawberries do not contain anything that is toxic to hermit crabs. As long as it is given in moderation, and as a part of a broad, balanced diet, strawberries are fine.
Can Hermit Crabs Eat Strawberry Seeds?
Hermit crabs will eat a wide range of fruit, but occasionally, the seeds are poisonous while the meat is not. For example, the seeds of apples, cherries, and peaches all contain cyanide. That chemical is toxic to hermit crabs and must be avoided at all costs.
However, that’s not true for strawberries. The seeds do not contain any toxic compounds. The pale dots that pepper the outside of the fruit are edible. They do not need to be picked out in advance, and hermit crabs will enjoy tearing through them with ease.
In fact, the seed-like dots that coat a strawberry aren’t seeds at all. Biologically speaking, they are the fruit of the strawberry plant. We think of the “fruit” as the receptacle tissue that connects the flower to the stem. When the plant is pollinated, this tissue grows and turns red.
No other plant does this, and science has yet to determine why strawberries are so unique. Nonetheless, strawberry seeds, whether you call them seeds or not, are perfectly safe for your hermit crab to eat.
Can Hermit Crabs Eat Strawberry Leaves?
Strawberry leaves are safe to feed to your hermit crab. The stem and leaves have no harmful toxins, and they do not react negatively in your hermit’s digestive system. Likewise, the calyx, better known as strawberry tops, are safe for hermit crabs to eat.
However, it should be noted that some owners prefer to remove the leaves, stem, and tops. That’s because these parts tend to contain more pesticides.
Washing these parts should remove enough to make them safe for your pets. If you are worried, though, you can leave out the greens without sacrificing too many nutrients.
Can Hermit Crabs Drink Strawberry Juice?
Strawberry juice allows you to condense some of the nutrients found in the plant. In theory, it should make it easy for hermit crabs to get more vitamins and minerals without getting overly full. However, the opposite is true for hermits.
Strawberry juice contains fewer nutrients than the fruit itself. Hermit crabs will also be less interested in juice, as they prefer to tear through food as a kind of enrichment. No matter how many vitamins are preserved, hermits will absolutely lose out on the fiber that strawberries contain. Since this is a valuable tool in aiding their digestion, it’s always best to offer proper strawberries to your hermies.
If you have strawberry juice on hand, though, you can offer it to the crustaceans. Just be sure to avoid commercial juice at all costs. It will usually contain additives that make the juice more palatable. When matched to the added preservatives, it could make your hermit crab very sick.
Hermit crabs rely on freshwater and saltwater to survive. Because of this, there’s no need to add salt to your juice or modify it in any way. The fresher it is, the better it will be.
Hermit crabs will eat any strawberries that you place in their tank. As long as they’re free from pesticides, the pets can enjoy a health boost and a flavorful treat.