what vegetables are good for hermit crabs?

What Vegetables Can Hermit Crabs Eat?

Fresh, organic vegetables are the cornerstone of a hermit crabs meal plan. Veggies provide hermit crabs with the nutrition they need, as well as appealing to their varied palate.

Among the best vegetables to feed hermit crabs are carrots, bell peppers, cucumber, and leafy greens. Most vegetables are fine, but onions and garlic must be avoided as they are toxic to hermit crabs.

You cannot feed your hermit crabs the same vegetables every day. They’ll quickly grow bored, as these scavenging animals are used to a varied diet. Fresh veg and other foodstuffs will keep your hermit crabs in good health.

Can Hermit Crabs Eat Vegetables?

Hermit crabs can eat almost any vegetable. The brighter the vegetable’s color, the better it will be for hermit crabs. Bright colors suggest that a vegetable is rich in carotenoids. These are natural antioxidants that give hermit crabs their deep, vibrant skin color.

If serving vegetables to hermit crabs, shop organic. While these foods are considered healthy, the presence of pesticides or herbicides can be lethal. You’ll also need to be careful about offering home-grown vegetables.

Wash vegetables before serving them to hermit crabs, but never use tap water. The heavy metals and chlorine found in tap water are toxic to hermit crabs. Use purified, distilled, or bottled water for any food preparation.

Hermit crabs are small and have appetites to match their diminutive size. Do not leave fresh vegetables to rot in the heat and humidity of an enclosure. Remove any uneaten food once they’ve had their fill.

What Vegetables Do Hermit Crabs Like?

As a rule, hermit crabs will always gravitate to sweet tastes over anything else. This means that they are likelier to prefer eating bell peppers, for example, than anything bitter. You can, of course, make sour vegetables more palatable by adding some honey.

Hermit crabs are rarely fussy about what they eat. As natural scavengers, any ripe and flavorsome vegetable should meet with approval.

what veggies do hermit crabs eat?

What Vegetables Can You Feed Hermit Crabs?

Almost all vegetables will be consumed by hermit crabs, although some are undeniably better than others. Let’s look more closely at the vegetables that hermit crabs eat, and why they should be offered.

Asparagus

Asparagus is packed with vitamins that benefit hermit crabs. Vitamins A, C, E, and K are all present in this vegetable. Asparagus is also a natural source of fiber. This is not a priority, but it is a bonus.

The best way to serve asparagus to hermit crabs is to dehydrate the whole vegetable, then chop it into flakes. Don’t feed them too much.

Beans And Legumes

Beans and legumes, such as kidney beans or chickpeas, can be added to a hermit crab diet. As these are a natural source of protein, they will be good for your pets. Beans are also high in flavonoids and antioxidants, offering further health boosts.

Do not just pour tinned beans into a food dish, though. Most of the products are stored in brine, containing components that are harmful to hermit crabs. The beans will also be tough – arguably too hard for hermit crabs to comfortably eat.

Instead, cook and simmer the beans before serving to soften them up. This may take up to two hours. You’ll need to let the beans cool off before serving them.

Beetroot

Beets are deep purple, which means they contain plenty of carotenoids. However, beets are also high in oxalic acid. This acid blocks calcium absorption, so feed these vegetables sparingly. They’re safe as an occasional treat, but not a nutritional cornerstone.

Broccoli

Hermit crabs are unlikely to climb over each other for the chance to eat broccoli. What this vegetable lacks in taste, it makes up in nutrition. It’s advisable to attempt to get broccoli into their diet in any way you can.

Raw broccoli is the likeliest to get the best response. Chop this into pincer-sized chunks but be sure to retain the stem. This contains the most nutrition, and many hermit crabs will enjoy chewing through it. You can try steaming broccoli, but this may reduce interest.

This vegetable is high in calcium and protein, the two most important aspects of a hermit crabs’ diet. It also contains many other vitamins.

Cabbage

All varieties of cabbage are safe for hermit crabs. High quantities of calcium and vitamin K ensure that cabbage keeps the exoskeleton of hermit crabs tough and sturdy.

Cabbage also contains carotenoids and antioxidants, both of which are great for hermit crabs. You’ll need to feed the cabbage raw to maintain these benefits, though. This means that the cabbage must be washed and chopped into safe serving sizes.

You could also grind up your cabbage and serve it alongside other vegetables as a powdered supplement. Broccoli is among the best side dishes when taking this approach.

Carrots

Carrots are arguably the finest vegetable that hermit crabs can eat. For a start, your pets will relish the crunchy texture of carrots. More importantly, carrots are packed with carotenoids. These provide the vegetable with its distinctive orange color.

The best way to serve carrots is sliced, or in small batons that are easily picked up. The green tops of carrots are also safe for hermit crabs, though. You can serve a whole carrot, provided you remove it from a habitat once the hermit crabs have eaten their fill.

There is a slight caveat to feeding carrots – keep them to once or twice a week. Carrots are also high in vitamin A. This is a health benefit when served in appropriate doses, but too much can be toxic.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower is sage for hermit crabs in all its forms. This is good news, as cauliflower is a versatile vegetable. You could offer it in chunks (complete with leaves), slice and dice it into rice, or even grind cauliflower and apply it to other foods as a powder.

The biggest benefit of cauliflower for hermit crabs is high calcium. This ensures that your pets enjoy a strong and sturdy exoskeleton. It’s high in fat, too. This makes powdered cauliflower a useful snack for hermit crabs expected to molt shortly.

Cucumber

Cucumber is another vegetable that should be regularly offered to hermit crabs. Cucumber is filled with water, which is important as hermit crabs can easily dry out. It’s also high in calcium, while the skin is packed with carotenoids.

Fresh, sliced cucumber is great for hermit crabs, but you can dehydrate it. The latter may be more palatable to your pets. They are likelier to enjoy the chewy texture of cucumber chips.

Alas, there is an issue with cucumber – it carries no scent. This means that some hermit crabs will ignore it completely. Try to make cucumber more appealing by adding a dab of honey.

Eggplant

The fleshy interior of the eggplant is appealing to the palate of hermit crabs. The deep purple flesh is also filled with carotenoids. This means that eggplant is recommended for hermit crabs.

All the same, the size of these vegetables must be taken into consideration. No colony of hermit crabs will eat an entire eggplant before it starts to rot. You’ll need to slice appropriate chunks of this vegetable to meet the needs of your pets.

Better yet, slice the eggplant completely and dehydrate the chunks and strips. This will provide a regular stream of healthy, tasty snacks for your hermit crabs. Serve these up every 3-4 days to keep your pets interested.

Green Beans And Peas

Green beans and peas are fine for hermit crabs. This makes these vegetables a useful side addition to their meals.

Hermit crabs can eat green beans or peas that have been boiled up in a pan of water. They can also be enjoyed raw. Just let the ingredients defrost before serving. This is arguably preferable, as it remains the high levels of vitamin K in the ingredients.

You can also dehydrate beans and chop them into flakes or grate them into a fine powder. Either way, your hermit crabs will still enjoy the impressive amount of calcium found in green beans and peas.

Kale

Kale is considered a human superfood, and the same applies to hermit crabs. Dark, leafy greens are always healthy for these animals. Kale is packed with protein, making it ideal for hermit crabs, in addition to high levels of calcium, vitamins, and antioxidants.

Kale is also versatile. Applying fresh kale to an enclosure will typically be enough to bring your hermit crabs running. If you want to sustain the lifespan of the vegetable, dehydrate it. Hermit crabs will enjoy kale chips.

Lettuce

As we just intimated, when serving leafy greens to hermit crabs, darker invariably equals better. This is never truer than when discussing lettuce. Lettuce leaves of a darker green shade are fine. Iceberg lettuce should be avoided, though.

Iceberg lettuce contains calcium but otherwise offers limited nutrition. It is also pretty tasteless and devoid of scent, so your hermit crabs are unlikely to pay much attention. It will taste like solid water.

Romaine or Boston varieties of lettuce are likelier to excite your hermit crabs. Shred these lettuce leaves, and your pets will enjoy vitamins A and C, in addition to calcium. These leaves also carry an appealing flavor.

Mushrooms

If you wish to offer mushrooms to hermit crabs to hermit crabs, follow a simple rule. If you are unsure if the mushrooms are safe for human consumption, keep them out of your pets’ aquarium. Stick with store-bought organic produce.

Hermit crabs may be able to eat wild mushrooms. Remember, in their natural habitat, hermit crabs scavenge. They likely encounter all manner of organic fungi. With so many toxic varieties of mushroom, though, it’s not worth taking chances.

Chestnut mushrooms from a supermarket are often a delicacy for hermit crabs. They offer the perfect blend of taste and chewy texture. They’re high in antioxidants, and are also a source of protein and calcium.

Parsnips

We have declared a handful of root vegetables as safe for hermit crabs. Parsnips are no exception. The presence of vitamins C and K are the biggest selling point of parsnips for hermit crabs. Your pets will also enjoy the taste.

Avoid the temptation to peel your parsnips too deeply. The majority of appealing flavor in these vegetables is just below the coating. Hermit crabs will not mind chewing through the skin of parsnips, so feel free to leave it on, as long as it has been washed.

Like most root vegetables, parsnips contain more nutrition before cooking. If you don’t wish to offer raw parsnips, dehydrate them and cut them into fine flakes and chips. These make a fun snack for hermit crabs.

Peppers

Peppers, especially bell peppers, are another optimum vegetable for hermit crabs. These foods are bright and packed with carotenoids, making them great for hermit crab skin. They are also high in vitamins A and C, as well as potassium.

Bell peppers are also tasty to hermit crabs. Your pets are likelier to be drawn to orange or yellow peppers, due to the sweet taste and scent. Many hermit crabs will also crunch through red or green peppers.

To be on the safe side, cut the bell peppers into small chunks. You could leave a whole pepper in an enclosure for your crabs to chew at leisure, but they’ll prefer picking up bite-sized pieces. It is also advisable to remove seeds to minimize choking risk.

Potatoes and Yams

Potatoes – and their sweeter counterparts, yams – are safe for hermit crabs. Caveats apply, so offer these foods as an occasional treat. They offer little nutritional value, and hermit crabs should not eat too much starch.

Cook the potatoes up to remove any lingering threat of pesticides or herbicides and let them cool off. Chop the potatoes into small chunks. Your hermit crabs should be able to comfortably pick up the potato and swallow it with minimal chewing.

Avoid any potato that is not fully ripe. Green skin should be kept away from hermit crabs. Peel the skin for the safest serving option, too. The stems on a potato, commonly referred to as eyes, can be toxic.

Radishes

Radish falls under the category of vegetables that hermit crabs enjoy, but do not need. These vegetables offer limited nutritional value to your pets, especially the green appendages. That does not mean they should be avoided, though.

As discussed, hermit crabs often enjoy eating radishes. This makes them a great treat, or even a tool for training. If fed appropriately sparingly, most hermit crabs will do anything for a radish. Although not be considered a health food, radishes do contain Vitamin C.

Just remember, radishes can grow to oversized dimensions. Your hermit crabs should not be left with an entire radish – this will rot before they finish it. Chop chunks of radish and apply to a food bowl.

Sea Vegetables

“Sea vegetables” is quite a generic term. Check your local supermarket, though, and you’ll find a range of products that fall under this remit. Seaweed is most common, although you’ll also find algae in some locations.

Hermit crabs love these foods as they mimic a natural diet. Unsurprisingly, it’s aquatic hermit crabs that enjoy sea vegetables most. Wild terrestrial hermit crabs scavenge seaweed and algae when the tide is low.

Spinach

Like other leafy greens, such as kale, spinach is bursting with protein. This makes spinach leaves a great addition to the diet of your hermit crabs. Hermit crabs can eat spinach raw or cooked.

You could also take a trip to a health food store and pick up spinach spirulina. This is essentially powdered spinach and offers all the same nutrition. Sprinkle this in a food dish, and the scent will tempt your hermit crabs to tuck in.

Sprouts

Brussel sprouts may be largely considered a holiday food, but hermit crabs love them all year round. These vegetables are best enjoyed dehydrated and shrunk in size. The chewiness and texture of sprouts will appeal to the vast majority of hermit crabs.

Sprouts are the ideal side dish for hermit crabs. Serve them alongside meat for maximum impact. Alternatively, if you’re seeking health benefits (which include high levels of protein and Vitamin C), grind sprouts up. In powdered form, they make a great filler to a hermit crab meal.

Tomatoes

We appreciate that we are opening a can of worms here. Are tomatoes a fruit or a vegetable? Botanically, they are considered a vegetable, and that’s good enough for us.

Tomatoes alone offer limited nutrition to hermit crabs, but they’re a great addition and supplement to other foods. For the best results, slice tomatoes – or better yet, dehydrate them. As always, the smaller the portion, the likelier your hermit crabs are to eat the lot.

If you are serving whole tomatoes, there is no need to cut off the greens. These are safe for hermit crabs and are an additional delicacy.

Zucchini (Courgette)

Zucchini is packed with antioxidants that bolster the health of your hermit crabs. These vegetables are appealing to the palate of your pets.

Zucchini can be dehydrated, making it a great vegetable to offer in flakes. You could even mix dehydrated zucchini with oats to make small muffins. These will create a feeding frenzy in your tank.

Another great use of zucchini is to shred it in a mandolin, creating courgetti. As the name suggests, this is a vegetable-based form of spaghetti. Your hermit crabs will enjoy picking at the small strips.

Are Any Vegetables Unsafe for Hermit Crabs?

Onions and garlic are the only vegetables that are strictly verboten from a hermit crab diet. Like all animals, hermit crabs react poorly to these foodstuffs. Onions and garlic can cause breathing restrictions due to their toxic properties.

This becomes complicated if you also offer your hermit crabs pellets to eat. Check the ingredient list of these foods, and you’ll likely find garlic powder. This is applied in trace amounts, designed to create a strong and enticing scent for your pets.

Trace amounts are unlikely to harm hermit crabs. All the same, there is no nutritional value to onions or garlic for these animals. This means applying this powder yourself is a needless risk. Many experts also advise against pellets, which is one reason they are considered superfluous and dangerous.

Beyond these restrictions, any vegetable we list above is safe for hermit crabs. Just remember the limitations surrounding moderation, freshness, and cleanliness. Never feed rotten vegetables to hermit crabs, and never wash the ingredients with chlorinated water.

what vegetables do hermit crabs like?

How Often Should Hermit Crabs Eat Vegetables?

In most pets, vegetables are advised to be fed sparingly due to concerns over gastric issues. This rarely applies to hermit crabs. Vegetables in the diet should not make hermit crabs eliminate more than usual or cause any other upset stomach.

This does not mean that hermit crabs can eat the same vegetables constantly, though. These animals are scavengers in their natural surroundings. This means they eat a wide and varied diet. They expect the same while living in captivity.

You can feed hermit crabs fresh vegetables daily, but only as an addition to other foods. To keep your pets engaged with their food, mix vegetables with other, dry foods and snacks. This will also reduce the risk of vegetables going uneaten and rotting.

Why Won’t My Hermit Crabs Eat Vegetables?

As discussed, hermit crabs will often gleefully eat anything offered to them. Despite this, all hermit crabs have their own personality and preferences. A solitary crab may have an innate distaste for vegetables.

Usually, this will only apply to one hermit crab at a time. If multiple hermit crabs reject vegetables at the same time, something is amiss. Check the vegetables have not spoiled. If not, the aversion is likely due to one of three core explanations.

Overfamiliarity

As discussed, hermit crabs are natural scavengers that enjoy a varied diet. This means that hermit crabs can quickly grow bored of familiar foods. As per The Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, hermit rarely crabs eat the same thing twice in 24 hours.

If your hermit crabs enjoy vegetables one day but seem indifferent the next, this is the likeliest explanation. Your pets have not taken against vegetables as a food group. They just want something different for this particular meal.

Inappropriate Environment

If all your hermit crabs stop eating vegetables at once, there is likely an environmental issue. Check the temperature and humidity of the habitat are at optimum levels. An inappropriate environment can cause stress, which results in a loss of appetite.

Perhaps more likely is an absence of saltwater. Hermit crabs choose food by scent, and as per Animal Behavior, rely upon saltwater to stimulate this scent.

Check the pool of saline water in your hermit crab tank. If this is empty, refill it immediately. Once you do so, you will likely find that your hermit crabs regain their appetite.

Negative Prior Experience

Hermit crabs have impressive memories when recalling bad experiences. This may taint their relationship with food. For example, as per PLoS One, some hermit crabs may come into conflict over food. Each crab may be waiting for another to eat first to avoid a repeat.

There is also the possibility that a previous serving of vegetables made the crabs unwell. A rotten tomato, for example, may have caused physical distress. As per The Biological Bulletin, this will not be forgotten. Your pets may avoid this vegetable in the future. 

If served appropriately and in moderation, almost any vegetable is a great addition to the diet of hermit crabs. Pay particular attention to colorful, sweet, and crunchy vegetables. These will be most attractive. Most organic veggies will be welcomed by your pets, though.