Hermit crabs don’t have ears, but they still respond to certain noises. In the wild, hermits chirp at each other to scare off rivals. This is done by rubbing their body parts together and against their shells to make a sound. Hermit crabs also vibrate within their shell as a warning, so clearly, these animals can hear. That makes it confusing when your hermit doesn’t react to the sound of your voice or a loud TV.
Hermit crabs don’t have good hearing. They can only detect low- to mid-range frequencies and only those in a nearby radius. They use their antennae and the sensory hairs on their 10 legs to pick up vibrations. These are then translated as a kind of sound that hermits use to avoid predators. Since they mainly rely on their sense of smell, hermit crabs don’t need excellent hearing.
Instead, they only react if the sound is intense and very close by. You will only scare your hermit by playing loud music directly beside its tank. Loud talking and roaring TVs will be undetected, or perhaps just ignored, depending on how far away the sounds are. Hermits can hear their owners, but they’ll mostly listen for vibrations as you move. Your voice may be too subtle for them to catch.
Do Hermit Crabs Have Ears?
Like most crustaceans, hermit crabs do not have ears. Instead, they absorb and respond to sounds using their:
Of course, it’s difficult to tell exactly how well a hermit crab can hear. Although we can’t give them a hearing test to figure out their exact range, we can see how they respond to dangers based on sound.
According to Biological Sciences, sounds made by predatory fish can alter how marine hermit crabs behave. Instead of foraging for food where the predator is, the hermit crab will search elsewhere. This means they can indeed hear. In fact, they take whatever information they gain very seriously.
Do Hermit Crabs Hear With Their Legs?
Hermit crabs have 10 legs. These are coated with a series of hairs, like tiny antennae, which can pick up vibrations. Just like a human’s inner ear translates this into sound, a hermit crab’s legs will take in low to mid-range frequencies and understand them as noise. This helps the crustaceans to:
- Navigate away from predators
- Detect encroaching hermits
- Issue warnings of their own
Vibrations aren’t the only sensory information these hairs can gather. Using the statocyst structure, hermit crabs can also detect changes in their balance or orientation. That can help them readjust should they fall over or understand how to balance when climbing over a clunky object.
Do Hermit Crabs Hear With Their Antennae?
Hermits also rely on their antennae, just like most arthropods. These appendages are located on their head and intake:
- Temperature differences
- Changes in air pressure
- Vibrations of every kind
This allows hermit crabs to detect changes in the weather but also hear the world around them. Even if they don’t have strong hearing, it can still warn hermit crabs if a predator is nearby.
How Well Can A Hermit Crab Hear?
Despite having 10 legs and up to 4 antennae, hermit crabs don’t have great hearing. They can only detect sounds and vibrations that are rather close by. They’re also deaf to anything beyond a low to mid-range frequency.
A hermit crab’s main defense is still retreating into its shell, and it spends its day cleaning up decomposing matter. Being able to hear long distances is unnecessary. This may be why hermit crabs didn’t evolve to have a better range.
However, that doesn’t mean hermit crabs are unaware of their surroundings. Most will rely on their sense of smell to pick up where their hearing left off. A hermit crab’s ability to smell will increase dramatically in humid environments, and especially underwater. As such, if a marine hermit crab is unable to hear a predator fish at a distance, it can still smell it coming.
Are Hermit Crabs Sensitive To Noise?
Hermit crabs are not sensitive to noise. It will depend on the intensity of the sound, and how close they are to it.
Hermit crabs have a neurological response to a wide range of frequencies, and they use this ability to avoid their enemies. As such, if the hermit crab doesn’t think the sound is close by, it may not be concerned. Likewise, if it’s in a higher frequency, the hermit crab may not hear it at all. You don’t have to worry about spooking your hermit just by:
- Playing an instrument
- Watching TV
- Listening to loud music
Your hermit crabs are unlikely to hear this at all. However, if the noise is directly beside the tank, then lower frequencies (like a solid bass) may cause your hermits distress. They may react by moving away or chirping.
If you’re in doubt, try playing the sound for a couple of minutes and watch how your pets respond. If they do not scurry away, chirp, or retreat into their shells, then they don’t care. Continue as you would.
Do Hermit Crabs Like Noise?
Hermit crabs have a limited hearing range, so it’s difficult to tell if they like or dislike noise. After all, when a sound is close enough (and strong enough) to be detected, that often means danger is nearby for a hermit. It can also mean it’s about to fight an unwilling rival for its shell or have to defend its own home.
Were this not the case, and hermits had a broader hearing range, they may enjoy sounds. As of now, we can conclude that hermits are indifferent to noise. If it’s far away or too gentle to indicate danger, they appear to ignore it. If it’s up-close and personal, hermits may fear what the sound indicates, not the sound itself.
As such, there’s no real benefit to playing music for your hermit crab as it may:
- Not hear it.
- Not respond unless it detects a frequency that resembles a predator.
- React in fear if the vibrations become intense, whether or not the melody is pleasant.
Do Hermit Crabs Like Loud Noises?
Hermit crabs neither like nor dislike loud noises. That’s partly because what a human classifies as a loud noise may be silent to a hermit crab. On the flip side, what feels like a quiet noise can be overwhelming to a hermit when placed near its tank, exposing it to heavy vibrations.
Cranking your TV up to full volume is unlikely to bother your hermit crab. However, stomping up to its enclosure may get a reaction, especially if the tank rattles at all. The latter will be a form of sensory input that your hermit crab can process, and it may interpret it as dangerous.
Can Hermit Crabs Hear Music?
Many hermit crab owners like to play music as entertainment for their pets. While some claim that hermits love it, others find no reaction whatsoever.
This will mostly depend on the kind of music you play. Strumming a guitar next to your hermit’s enclosure is far more likely to get a reaction than playing a song on your phone. That’s because the vibrations from yourself and the guitar have a greater chance of being registered by a hermit.
Likewise, high-pitched music may be completely outside of your hermit crab’s range of hearing. That means playing the violin may be less effective than playing on a drum.
If you want to experiment with what music your hermit crab can detect, a little trial and error will help. You can adjust an equalizer to increase or decrease the bass and treble accordingly. Then, watch how your hermits react.
Can Hermit Crabs Hear You?
A hermit crab may be able to hear the sound of your voice. The deeper and louder your voice is, the more likely the sound is to be detected. Higher-pitch voices or those that are very quiet will have little effect.
Most of all, a hermit crab will hear you based on your footsteps and movements. Approaching the tank with heavy strides will produce stronger vibrations than a speaking voice. Likewise, tapping your finger on the substrate within the tank will make your presence known better than calling your hermit.
The closer you are to your hermit, the more likely it is to hear you. The idea is to let the sensory hairs along the crustacean’s legs and antennae pick up the vibrations. The lower the range of the sound and the heavier the vibration, the better your hermit will detect it.
Don’t expect your hermit to respond to your voice at all times. It will mainly rely on identifying you by sight and smell. If the environment is humid enough, and your hermits approach the tank’s glass to greet you, they probably smelled you coming first.
Do Hermit Crabs Make A Noise?
Hermit crabs are not silent creatures. They make chirps as a way to communicate. It can often be interpreted as musical in nature, according to Crustaceana. Some researchers compare it to the strings of a violin being plucked, while others compare it to a bird.
Owners even liken it to a cricket sound, but this depends on the hermit. A cricket sound may be more accurate, as hermit crabs use stridulation just like insects. This involves rubbing two body parts together to create a sound.
Even though they produce this sound at night, they can also do so during the day. That’s especially true if the hermit is in distress. According to the Ecological Society of America, hermit crabs make this sound as a way to defend themselves. Chirping in rapid succession can register as very loud to fellow hermits and clearly say “back off.”
While some owners claim the chirping noise also indicates excitement, there are no official studies to confirm this. Some also claim that hermit crabs chirp as a mating call. This isn’t quite true, but you will notice hermit crabs making the sound during mating season. It’s a way to scare off other males so that the loudest hermit can have a chance at reproducing.
With that said, hermit crabs rarely breed in captivity. If you hear this sound, it’s likely because a fight is breaking out for other reasons.
Do Hermit Crabs Vibrate?
Aside from chirping, hermit crabs know how to communicate with their own vibrations. According to the Journal of the Marine Biological Association, this usually means rubbing against the inside of their shells. For example, if one hermit crab is being evicted from its shell by another, it may begin to shake. These tight, controlled vibrations will unleash a frequency that the nearby hermit crab not only feels but hears.
This is a hermit crab’s way of saying “leave now.” If a chirp isn’t enough, a full-bodied shake will help do the trick. Depending on how intense or persistent it is, the attacking hermit may get annoyed (or scared) and decide to move on.
Hermit crabs don’t have good hearing, but they aren’t deaf either. They can detect sounds in a limited frequency range and only ones that are close by. Watching TV at full volume or talking in a loud tone of voice shouldn’t bother your hermits. As long as you don’t expose it to too many vibrations, that loud music won’t make a difference to your hermit.