Last Updated on: 19th October 2023, 02:22 pm
Hermit crabs aren’t natural travelers. Given a choice, hermit crabs would never leave the beach, so you need to think long and hard before subjecting them to a long, bumpy, noisy, and stressful journey.
Maintaining safe temperature and humidity conditions in transit isn’t always easy. Hermit crabs should never be forced to travel unless it’s entirely unavoidable.
If you must travel with hermit crabs, keep the trip short and as stress-free as possible.
Are Hermit Crabs Comfortable with Travel?
Almost all new pet hermit crabs experience post-purchase syndrome (PPS).
This is a stress-centric concern during which hermit crabs adjust to their new surroundings. Travel, whether by road or air, will magnify this issue.
Sometimes, it becomes necessary to transport hermit crabs from one locale to another. If this is the case, take precautions to keep your pet hermit crabs comfortable.
How Can You Travel with Hermit Crabs?
As discussed, travel isn’t a pleasurable experience for hermit crabs. Alas, it’s sometimes necessary. Examples of when you may need to travel with hermit crabs include:
- Purchasing hermit crabs on vacation and bringing them home.
- Moving to a new home with hermit crabs.
- Take hermit crabs to a friend or family member to care for them while you’re away.
Realistically, your only options are making the journey by road or air.
Before planning a trip with hermit crabs, ensure they’re well enough for the journey. Sick or molting hermit crabs shouldn’t be forced to travel because they’re already stressed.
Before preparing to travel with hermit crabs, ask yourself if it’s necessary. If travel is unavoidable, you must consider the following factors:
- Maintaining appropriate temperature and humidity levels.
- Keeping a supply of food and water.
- Managing light and dark cycles.
- Reducing the impact of bumps and turbulence.
Above all, keep the time in transit short, as hermit crabs aren’t equipped for cross-country road trips that last for days. If necessary, consider shipping hermit crabs by air to speed up the transition.
Can Hermit Crabs Travel in Cars?
If hermit crabs need to travel, a car is the safest method. Driving is preferred if you’re taking a short journey of under a few hours.
If you take hermit crabs on the road, you’ll need at least one passenger. This person will monitor and care for the hermit crabs. Never leave hermit crabs in the trunk of the car.
You’ll also need to make preparations before starting the journey, including:
- Purchasing a tank for transporting the hermit crabs.
- Preparing an isolation tank for molts or sudden aggression.
- Prep the tanks ahead of time, applying the optimal temperature and humidity. Keep a misting spray handy in case more humidity is needed.
- Fill the tanks with a substrate, as hermit crabs will burrow during the drive.
- Provide a blanket to warm up the tank and moderate light.
- Follow a schedule, and avoid traveling after dark if possible.
- Never start the journey if hermit crabs are about to molt or seem unwell.
Travel will never be pleasant for hermit crabs, but here are the things that can help:
Keep Hermit Crabs Together
In theory, placing each hermit crab in a separate Tupperware container will provide privacy. It also, theoretically, means that one poor reaction won’t impact other hermit crabs.
Stress may provoke aggression in one or two hermit crabs during travel. Consider keeping one small isolation tank handy. A particular hermit crab may need time alone to unwind.
Enforced separation of hermit crabs will magnify the stress of travel. Separation from their colony is among the main reasons hermit crabs grow anxious when entering captivity.
Hermit crabs seek safety in numbers, but this doesn’t mean they’ll huddle together. According to Animal Behavior, ambient noise impacts grouping instincts in hermit crabs.
Engine noise may lead to hermit crabs seeking solitude. However, this doesn’t mean you should take the option to assemble away from the hermit crabs.
Temperature And Humidity
The environment is one of the main challenges when transporting hermit crabs by road.
The 80/80 rule – 80% humidity and a temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit – will be difficult to maintain. Temperature can fluctuate in a car, and humidity must be reviewed throughout.
Don’t take a car journey without a hygrometer and thermometer. Don’t rely on hermit crabs showing you they’re too cold or overheating through body language, as they’ll likely be hiding away.
Keep a misting spray handy and apply more humidity to the enclosure regularly. You may also consider adding hermit crab sponges to the temporary enclosure for more humidity.
A small oscillating fan will keep air circulating in the enclosure. Don’t create a constant draught because hermit crabs are ectothermic, relying on their environments for warmth.
Hermit crabs spend the entire car journey buried under the substrate. Burying in the sand is a classic technique for de-stressing hermit crabs because they want to avoid exposing themselves to stimuli.
All the same, hermit crabs may emerge from the substrate on occasion. Some hermit crabs may overcome their discomfort and stress to explore what’s happening or to get food or water.
You can give hermit crabs toys to amuse themselves, such as:
- Chunks of cuttlebone or hermit crab-safe wood to chew on.
- Things to destroy, which helps hermit crabs to de-stress.
- Hiding places, like plastic pots, are secured in place.
It remains unlikely that you’ll see any hermit crabs during travel.
Can Hermit Crabs Fly on A Plane?
Every major airline has different policies concerning traveling with pets. However, hermit crabs are rarely considered applicable for travel on airlines. If so, expect to pay an additional fee.
If you take hermit crabs on an airplane, they’ll be treated as a carry-on.
Checked luggage will be handled roughly and tossed into an unseated and unpressurized cargo hold. The likelihood of hermit crabs surviving the flight is slim.
Speak to the airline staff and learn if they’ll permit hermit crabs in the cabin.
At best, there will be strict rules for hermit crab travel. The container must be escape-proof, and you may need to stow it under the seat.
If one airline refuses, explore the alternatives. Don’t just arrive at the airport and hope for the best. The hermit crabs will be identified, and you can be denied permission to board.
You’ll need to check on the well-being of the hermit crabs. Airplanes aren’t famed for their humidity, so mist the enclosure because the risk of suffocation is high.
Air pressure in flight is much lower than the sea level that hermit crabs are used to.
You won’t be permitted to travel overseas with hermit crabs by plane. Some countries won’t permit the entry of hermit crabs due to concerns over the local ecosystem.
Also, most nations have strict rules against importing live animals.
If you must transport hermit crabs by plane due to moving home to another state, they must be shipped overnight by FedEx or UPS.
How To Ship Hermit Crabs by Air
Shipping is the only option if you send hermit crabs long distances and can’t carry them on a plane. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee the hermit crabs will survive.
Use a guaranteed next-day delivery service, like FedEx or UPS. Pay extra to ensure delivery within 24 hours and ensure somebody will be available to receive and sign for the package.
Now comes the challenging part – packaging the hermit crabs to keep them safe. The following steps will make the delivery as tolerable as possible for hermit crabs:
- Locate a box large enough for all hermit crabs and punch some air holes.
- Cover the box with the word FRAGILE.
- Line the box with protective material, like bubble wrap, ensuring air can get in.
- Bundle each hermit crab in cheesecloth to retain warmth.
- Wrap the hermit crabs in a damp sponge or towel. Don’t place terrestrial hermit crabs in a sealed body of water. Even if they don’t suffocate, they’ll drown in water.
- Place the hermit crabs in the box and pad with insulation to retain heat and mask sound.
- Get the package mailed. Remember, next-day delivery is non-negotiable.
Don’t lie about the box’s contents. Equally, only reveal as much information as you must.
The average delivery driver will likely be unfamiliar with legislation surrounding shipping live animals. They may refuse the package, erroneously considering it illegal.
What Happens to Hermit Crabs After Travel?
Cast your mind back to when you first adopted hermit crabs. They likely burrowed under the substrate for weeks because the journey had caused them stress. The same situation will arise after further travel.
When you unpack the hermit crabs at the end of the trip, expect the following behaviors:
- Prolonged hiding and burrowing.
- Loss of appetite.
- Pinching during handling.
- Shedding of limbs.
- Stress-induced aggression.
If you subject the hermit crabs to a road trip, air travel, or shipping, they’ll re-experience post-purchase syndrome upon arrival. Sadly, this means there’s no guarantee that all hermit crabs will survive.