can hermit crabs hear music?

Do Hermit Crabs Like Music?

Hermit crabs do not have ears as part of their anatomy. This does not mean that hermit crabs are deaf. Like all crustaceans, hermit crabs pick up on acoustics through vibrations. This includes music.

There is no scientific evidence that hermit crabs actively listen to, or enjoy, music. Speakers will create vibrations that hermit crabs can detect. They are likeliest to detect low- and medium-frequencies, so playing an acoustic instrument will not register. Loud, bass-heavy music from a speaker will likely lead to more of a reaction.

Plants provide the closest comparison to a hermit crab’s audible capabilities. Many believe that playing music to plants encourages growth due to vibrations. The same may be true of hermit crabs.

How Do Hermit Crabs Hear?

As hermit crabs do not have ears, their hearing capacity differs from humans. Hermit crabs respond to vibrations, which are felt by the hermit crab’s 10 legs. This influences how a hermit crab responds to music.

Hermit crabs will alter their behavior according to certain sounds. This is especially common in marine hermit crabs. As per the Proceedings of the Royal Society, these animals ‘hear’ the song of predatory fish. This adjusts behavior, encouraging foraging elsewhere.

Some hermit crabs will turn this to their advantage. Biology Letters explains how hermit crabs will vibrate in their shells to ward off competitors. An experiment found that a rival hermit crab ceased shell rapping and fled when an incumbent vibrated heavily in its shell.

Can Hermit Crabs Hear Music?

This depends upon the frequency and volume of the music. This is because different volumes and sounds create variable vibrations.

If you play an acoustic guitar around your hermit crabs, they are unlikely to notice. Play a loud, bass-heavy song through speakers and the vibrations will garner a reaction. Whether this response is positive or negative depends upon the rhythm of these vibrations.

Further research is required to assess what frequencies hermit crabs are most sensitive to. It is believed that low- to mid-frequencies are most impactful, though. Think of a low, deep throb.

Boat noise, for example, is believed to distract hermit crabs. It makes them less attentive to predators. Higher-pitched sounds are unlikely to create vibrations and will thus be ignored.

what kind of music do hermit crabs like?

What Kind of Music Do Hermit Crabs Like?

Choosing relaxing music for hermit crabs is an exercise in trial and error. In theory, any genre could fall under the banner of music that hermit crabs like. This is because ambient music may block out other sounds.

When hermit crabs first enter captivity, they experience stress. Think about the life cycle of a hermit crab. These animals live free on the beachfront, before being captured by sellers. They are then placed in tanks in busy shops, surrounded by unfamiliar sights, sounds, and smells.

This will potentially be magnified when a hermit crab enters your home. Just some of the sounds that a hermit crab will be exposed to include:

  • Loud conversation
  • Thumping footsteps
  • Household appliances, such as vacuum cleaners
  • Outside stimulus, such as car horns

Some of these sounds will not register with a hermit crab. Others, especially footsteps or voices, may provoke anxiety in hermit crabs. In such instances, a steady beat of the music – with accompanying vibrations – will be calming. The music blocks out threatening sounds.

Test how hermit crabs react to music through trial and error. Place a speaker in the same room as your aquarium. Don’t place it too close to the hermit crab habitat. You don’t want to rattle the aquarium.

Experimenting with Hermit Crab Music

You should conduct a series of experiments with music and assess the response of your hermit crabs. Start by not playing any music and simply approaching the aquarium, and then steadily try different sounds.

No Music

To understand how hermit crabs react to music, you first need to learn how they behave. Upon placing your hermit crabs in a tank, give them time to destress. It takes hermit crabs a while to adjust to life in captivity.

If your hermit crabs are burrowing and hiding, leave them be for a while. This suggests the hermit crabs are anxious in their new surroundings. Be patient. Your hermit crabs will eventually come around, especially after dark. These animals are nocturnal by nature.

Once your hermit crabs start to build in confidence, start approaching their tank and calling out their names. This activity should take two forms:

  • Approaching with no food
  • Approaching with food

This is an important distinction, as hermit crabs have a keen sense of smell. If they detect food, they are likely to automatically be interested. You may need to enhance humidity in a tank and place the food inside before your hermit crabs show any significant reaction.

Once you learned the mannerisms of your hermit crabs. Some are friendly and curious by default. Others will be nervous and prefer to hide in your presence. Once you understand how your hermit crabs behave, you can experiment with music.

Classical Music

Classic music has long been linked with enhanced growth in plant life. It is also believed to appeal to common household pets, like dogs and cats. This suggests that hermit crabs may also enjoy classical music, though any evidence of this is purely speculative.

The International Journal of Environmental Science and Development furthers the claim that classical music enhances plant growth. New age thinking claims this is an empathetic response from the plants.

The Journal of Integrative Agriculture takes a more scientific tack. This journal suggests that the vibrations caused by classical music provoke an increase in protective enzymes and hormones.

As hermit crabs, like plants, react to music according to vibrations, it suggests that these animals will also respond to classical music. Again, let us stress – this is strictly theory. All the same, it will make for an interesting experiment.

Try playing classical music around hermit crabs. Watch for any signs that your hermit crabs enjoy this through behavioral changes. If your hermit crabs are more active than usual, climbing and playing, they are happy. If the music bothers your crabs, they will hide.

Pop, Hip Hop and Dance Music

These genres of music will theoretically appeal to hermit crabs. This is because they offer a reliable, steady, and repetitive beat. This will create a series of vibrations that the hermit crabs will respond to. The more bass in the music, the more interesting it will be.

This could be a blessing and a curse for hermit crabs. On the one hand, it will provide a steady distraction from everyday noise. Your hermit crabs will learn to expect and follow the rhythm of the music. Many hermit crabs will find this relaxing.

Do watch the behavior of your crabs carefully, though. As we have discussed, noise can distract crabs. This makes them vulnerable to predators. External threats are not a concern in an aquarium. Hermit crabs can remain opportunistic, though.

If a larger hermit crab covets the shell of a smaller counterpart, it may become aggressive. If the smaller crab is not expecting this, conflict can turn nasty. Hermit crabs are sociable and friendly. Like all animals though, instinct can lead to serious repercussions.

While playing this music, observe your hermit crabs from a safe distance. At the first sign of any inter-species warfare, switch if off. The damage may be done. The hermit crabs may have their blood up. Separate them and avoid playing this music in the future.

Rock Music

In theory, rock music will have a little impact on hermit crabs. More than any of the other types of music we have discussed, rock music relies more on treble than bass. This suggests that it will create fewer vibrations.

This ignores the fact that ‘rock music’ is a broad definition. To discuss this further, we need to go full circle and return to our plant comparison. Classic rock or country music appeared to have little impact on the growth of plant life, especially compared to other genres.

An episode of the popular TV show Mythbusters played a variety of music to plants, with surprising results. Plants exposed to death metal music sprouted more than any others, including those that were played classical music.

This is presumably due to the reliance on deep, guttural rumblings in this music style. That will result in steady, constant vibrations. Hermit crabs may respond well to extreme metal music. It is up to you as to whether you can tolerate this soundtrack yourself.

Does Loud Music Bother Hermit Crabs?

Having established which genres of music hermit crabs theoretically enjoy, we need to consider volume. Do hermit crabs like loud music, or do they prefer a gentle, low-volume hum?

You’ll need to turn the music loud enough to create vibrations, Remember, it is not the sound itself that your hermit crabs listen to. They pay no attention to the lyrics or instruments in a song. They react to the vibrations caused.

do hermit crabs like loud music?

Hold your hand to the speaker and you’ll sense the vibrations yourself. You are aiming for a low- to medium-frequency. If your stereo has equalizers, turn the bass up and treble down for enhanced vibrations. This will create a frequency that hermit crabs acknowledge.

There is an elephant in the room when it comes to loud music and hermit crabs, though. Hermit crabs are nocturnal. Playing loud music by day will disturb their slumber. You are likely to cause stress to your hermit crabs by playing loud music during daylight hours.

Naturally, you will not want to turn up the volume after dark. This will keep you from sleeping and potentially annoy your neighbors. You’ll need to find a compromise, potentially by playing music at moderate volume with a speaker close to the aquarium.

How Loud is Too Loud for Hermit Crabs?

As always, this will be a matter of observation. You need to know how your hermit crabs react when content, and when distressed. Nobody likes the idea of upsetting a pet in the spirit of experimentation. It is sometimes necessary, though.

As discussed, you assess and determine to set a base behavior standard for your hermit crabs. Some hermit crabs will be quiet and nervous by default. Learn how your hermit crabs behave when relaxed and happy.

Once this is established, play music at what you deem an acceptable volume. If your hermit crabs are indifferent, make a judgment call. You can continue playing music if you like it. If not, you may as well turn it off. It is adding nothing to the lives of your crabs.

Steadily increase the volume of the music at this point. There is no need to go louder than you are comfortable with. Hermit crabs are not so concerned with music that you need to shake the foundations of your home. Watch for a reaction from your crabs.

If they start to flee, hide, scurry and burrow, the hermit crabs are bothered by the noise. This means you have exceeded a comfortable volume. Turn it back down, or even better, turn it off completely. Your hermit crabs need time to destress and recover.

Music is a matter of personal taste. There is no scientific evidence that hermit crabs actively enjoy music. As a result, there seems little point in building your listening habits around these animals. If you wish to play music at an appropriate volume though, hermit crabs are unlikely to mind.