If you keep hermit crabs, you will spend a lot of time in your local supermarket’s fresh fruit aisle. Fruit offers nutrition, as well appealing to the palate of most hermit crabs.
All fruit is safe for hermit crabs, but most will reject citrus fruit due to the strong scent. You must also ensure that any fruit you serve is not rotten, and contains no chlorine, pesticide, or herbicide. Coconut, pumpkin, bananas, and berries, in particular, are firm favorites of many hermit crabs.
Do not go too far with feeding fruit to hermit crabs. Like all animals, they still need a variety of food groups and a diverse diet. However, an array of different fruits will provide a sound basis for your meal plans.
Can You Feed Hermit Crabs Fruit?
Fruit makes a good addition to the diet of hermit crabs. As they have a sweet tooth, they’ll rarely need encouragement to eat. Many fruits are also packed with nutrition that boosts the health of your pet hermit crabs.
That does not mean that feeding fruit is a free-for-all, though. There are a couple of rules that must be followed when offering fruit to crustaceans. If you stick to these, your pets will enjoy any fruit-based snack that you offer.
Always shop organic. This makes it unlikely that the fruit will have been treated with pesticides, herbicides, or anything else untoward. Hermit crabs are delicate, and exposure to such chemicals can be fatal.
Also, the fruit must be fresh and ripe. If it’s on the turn, that is fine. Hermit crabs will happily eat grapes that are a little too wrinkled to appeal to humans, for example. Do not treat your pets as garbage disposals, though. If the fruit is rotten, do not feed it to hermit crabs.
Serving Fruit to Hermit Crabs
As discussed, hermit crabs must not be offered rotten fruit. Follow a simple guideline before choosing if a piece of fruit is a safer hermit crab snack. Ask yourself if the fruit would make you unwell. Other guidelines must also be followed when offering fruit to your pets, such as:
- When washing fruit, never use tap water. This leaves traces of chlorine on the fruit, which is toxic to hermit crabs. Use purified, distilled, or bottled water
- Unless instructed, do not remove the skin from the fruit. This often contains most of the vitamins
- Chop fruit into claw-sized chunks. Hermit crabs have small mouths and appreciate appropriately-sized food morsels
- Remove any cores and pips from fruit to minimize the risk of choking hazards, or worse if the seeds contain cyanide
- As soon as your hermit crabs finish eating fruit, remove it from a habitat. Do not let fruit rot and become a bacterial hazard
Ensure that keep saltwater in an enclosure so your pets can scent the fruit. As explained by BMC Neuroscience, hermit crabs pick up on smells in the air. This sense relies upon the presence of saline water vapor in the atmosphere.
How Often Should Hermit Crabs Eat Fruit?
As explained by Animal Behavior, hermit crabs avoid foods they have recently eaten. This is due to the wild scavenging instincts of these animals. On a beachfront, hermit crabs eat anything they find.
Hermit crabs in captivity expect the same level of dietary diversity. By offering fruit occasionally, you will mimic the natural lifestyle of your pets. This helps them adapt to life in an aquarium. Avoid feeding the same fruit more than twice per week.
What Kinds of Fruits Can Hermit Crabs Eat?
There are several ways that fruit can be offered to hermit crabs. There is not necessarily any superior way. As long as you follow the rules detailed above, your hermit crabs will be fine.
Can Hermit Crabs Eat Fresh Fruit?
Hermit crabs may be a little less fussy about a slightly green banana than humans. Ripe fruit will offer the strongest scent. This will be what attracts your crabs and encourages them to eat. Do not stock up on too much at once, leaving it to age and lose flavor.
Can Hermit Crabs Eat Dried Fruit?
Dried fruit, whether you’re considering pre-packaged foods like dates or dehydrated slices of fresh fruit, makes a great hermit crab treat. These fruits should be served more sparingly as they are higher in sugar.
Weight gain through sugar is not a concern for hermit crabs. However, your pets can grow hyperactive if they consume too much sugar. Check the ingredients of pre-packaged dry food for artificial additives.
The addictive qualities of sugar should also be considered. As per the Journal of Chemical Ecology, sugar is a volatile odor that garners an immediate reaction. If your hermit crabs grow to expect sugar-laden treats, they may reject healthier food options.
Can Hermit Crabs Eat Freeze-Dried Fruit?
Frozen fruit is a great way of stocking up on snacks and treats for your hermit crabs without worrying about use-by dates. Provided the fruit has not been stored alongside anything unsafe, such as onions, it’s fine for hermit crabs.
You can either leave the fruit to thaw or serve it as it comes. The former may attract more initial interest. The scent of frozen fruit will not be as strong as when it is at room temperature.
Remember that hermit crab aquariums run at a high temperature, so anything frozen will not remain that way for long. Your pets will soon acknowledge and approach the fruit.
Can Hermit Crabs Eat Citrus Fruit?
A longstanding myth claims that citrus fruit is toxic to hermit crabs. Citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, and oranges are fine for your pets. It is the trees they grow on that are dangerous.
Many forms of citrus trees contain naturally occurring insecticides in their bark, leaves, and twigs. This is what is toxic. If there is no trace of this bark, the fruit itself will not cause any harm. It will even be high in Vitamin C and contain some level of calcium.
These foods have a strong, acerbic scent and an undeniably acidic, bitter taste. Neither of these appeals to the senses of hermit crabs. This is why, although not outright dangerous, we do not recommend citrus fruits.
What is a Hermit Crab’s Favorite Fruit?
There is no such thing as a standout favorite fruit of all hermit crabs. Coconut is often irresistible, but different hermit crabs will show varying levels of excitement for a range of reasons.
All hermit crabs have their own personalities. Each hermit crab in a colony could have different taste preferences. However, hermit crabs are herd animals. If one of your pets starts to eat, the rest will usually follow.
You cannot go wrong with fruits that have a sweet taste and strong scent. These will pique the curiosity of hermit crabs, at the very least. If your pets do not start to eat at once, consider why they may have lost their appetite.
What Fruits are Good for Hermit Crabs?
Let’s look at the many and varied kinds of fruit that are safe to include in the diet of your hermit crabs. Here, we have concentrated on foods that both safe and palatable.
Apples have variable tastes and scents. This means that not all apples will appeal to hermit crabs. Find a type that your pets enjoy, and they’ll benefit from plenty of antioxidants.
Avoid red delicious applies in favor of jazz or fuji apples. Always cut them open and remove the core. Apple pips contain cyanide.
While avocados do not contain as much protein or calcium as other fruits, they’re still great for hermit crabs. These fruits offer high levels of fiber, folates, and vitamins C and K.
Avocado helps the body of a hermit crab absorb beta-carotene. This is a vital antioxidant for your pets. More importantly, hermit crabs find avocado flesh tasty and appealing.
Avocados differ from many fruits in that they must be skinned. Never leave the skin or leaves on this fruit, and you certainly need to remove the large core seed. Scoop out and chop up the flesh.
If your hermit crabs will accept banana in their diet, serve this fruit wherever possible. Bananas are a hermit crab superfood, packed with calcium, beta-carotene, protein, and antioxidants.
Fresh banana is best served mashed in a dish. Hermit crabs are tiny and thus have small stomachs. Even a colony of hermit crabs will struggle to devour a whole banana. The heat of the habitat will quickly set the ball rolling on rotting, making old bananas a bacterial hazard.
You could also freeze-dry your bananas and serve them as chips. This is arguably the best outcome for all parties. You will not be left struggling to use up all your bananas before they go off, and hermit crabs still enjoy the health benefits and great taste of the fruit.
We could wax lyrical about the health benefits of berries, for humans and hermit crabs alike, all day. Rest assured, any of the following are safe for hermit crabs. What’s more, they’ll frequently instigate a feeding frenzy.
- Acai Berries
When feeding berries, the bright the color, the better. The suggests a high beta-carotene level, an antioxidant that provides hermit crabs with their deep, eye-catching skin pigmentation. Berries are bursting with other vitamins that bolster crab health, though.
For a real treat, mix your blueberries with a little oatmeal. That may sound like a conventional weekday breakfast by human standards, but to hermit crabs, it’s a gourmet feast.
Cherries are safe for hermit crabs. Sweet, juicy varieties in particular will go down a storm with your pets. Like citrus fruits, cherries grow on unsafe trees. This means you’ll need to ensure all traces of growth are removed from cherries before feeding.
Chop up and pit cherries before offering them. As these pips are small, they may be unwittingly bitten into by hermit crabs. If you slice and dice cherries, they will quickly become popular with your pets.
The official classification of a coconut is a, “one-seeded fruit.” If we were arranging these fruits by order of preference and benefit rather than alphabetically, coconut would shoot straight to the top.
Coconut is vital to hermit crab health. It provides all the protein, calcium, and fat that any hermit crab could wish for it. It’s also delicious. If your hermit crabs are reluctant to eat, sprinkle desiccated coconut on a meal and witness the change in appetite.
You could place a halved coconut in an enclosure. This will double up as a toy as well as a food source. Hermit crabs love hiding places and will sit inside the coconut shell. This could create unwelcome competition and hostility, though.
As per Estuarine, Coastal, and Shelf Science, while docile, these animals can grow territorial over food and territory. It may be better to offer chopped slices of coconut to ensure an equitable share of this favored food.
Dates are high in fiber and are a great source of antioxidants for your pets. Do check the packaging of any dried dates carefully, though.
Be mindful of sugar content and, more critically, sulfate. Sulfate is found in copper, which is toxic to hermit crabs. Even if fed in tiny, trace amounts, this will eventually prove fatal. Only feed dates if you can be certain they are entirely natural.
Grapes can make up a part of any hermit crab diet. In addition to the obvious appeal of their sweet taste, grapes are also high in antioxidants. Red grapes contain a little more beta-carotene than their green counterparts, but both varieties make find treats.
Grapes are also a minor deviation from our oft-quoted, “ripe and fresh only” rule. Hermit crabs cannot eat moldy grapes. Slightly wrinkled and aged grapes will not concern your pets.
Beta-carotene is the main benefit of offering mango to hermit crabs. Peel off the skin. It’s too tough for a hermit crab’s mouthparts and may be populated with chemicals and growth agents. The flesh within is really healthy.
Mangoes are also high in Vitamin C. While not critical, this is a welcome bonus. There is also plenty of calcium to be found within mango flesh. Most of all, this sweet fruit will appeal to most hermit crab palates.
Melon, Cantaloupe, And Watermelon
Juice melon flesh – whether stemming from a conventional melon, a watermelon, or a cantaloupe – is always a winner with hermit crabs. The seeds are also safe for your pets and offer additional health benefits.
Melon and associated members of the family are great for hydrating your hermit crabs. These animals thrive in hot temperatures but can dry out. By offering these fruits, you can supplement water intake for your pets. It’s the scent and taste of these fruits that mark them out as essential.
Peaches And Nectarines
Always slice a peach or nectarine open and remove any seeds. You’ll also need to wash these fruits thoroughly, as they are doused in insecticides. The sweetness of peaches and nectarines attracts other invertebrates besides hermit crabs, including wasps.
Ideally, wait to serve these fruits when the flesh is almost pure white. This will taste sweeter and carry a stronger scent. Golden flesh can be a little more bitter on the palate. Whatever the color of the flesh, the fruit will offer plenty of antioxidants.
If you wish to feed pears to your hermit crabs, follow the same policy as you would with apples. That means taking the time to remove any traces of seeds. You should also research the profile of different pears.
Concorde pears and Bartlett pears are the likeliest to garner a positive reaction. These pears are juicy and boast a sweet flavor to match their scent. Opuntia, aka prickly pears, are also appealing. Although, as part of the cactus family, they must be skinned.
If you do bring pears into the diet of your hermit crabs, they’ll enjoy calcium and protein, as well as numerous antioxidants. Having said that, they can also be higher in sugar than some fruits, so feed pears sparingly.
Plums And Prunes
As plums are fleshy, they will appeal. Likely, your pets have previously consumed loose plums in the wild. This makes them a fine treat. The deep purple shade of plums also denotes the welcome presence of beta-carotene.
The same applies to prunes. These are usually dried plums, so they boast similar nutritional value. As always with dried fruit, ensure that no artificial additives or preservatives have made their way into the product.
Pumpkin can become a cornerstone of the fruit intake of your hermit crabs. Pumpkin is also versatile. It can be served in a pulp or seed form, both of which provide high levels of protein and calcium.
Tinned pumpkin is best served occasionally, if at all. This long-life produce may contain preservatives that would harm your hermit crabs. Pulp from a fresh pumpkin or pumpkin seeds from a health food store are packed with goodness.
The only drawback of pumpkin is that it’s a messy fruit. At best, you will likely need to spot clean an enclosure following spillages after serving. Keep an eye on your aquarium substrate and ensure it does not need to be completely replaced.
Are Any Fruits Unsafe for Hermit Crabs?
There is no particular fruit that is outright verboten for hermit crabs. By this, we mean that no fruit alone is toxic or dangerous for your pets. Even in the realm of vegetables, only onions and garlic need to be avoided.
As mentioned, while no fruit alone is lethal, any can be dangerous. You must take the time to ensure the fruit is clean, stripped of pips, and contains no sign of any artificial chemicals.
If you are feeding fruit straight from a tree, you should also be aware of the safety of the branches. As covered while discussing citrus fruits, some trees contain natural insecticides.
Can Hermit Crabs Drink Fruit Juice?
Hermit crabs can drink fruit juice, but shouldn’t. We need to consider the habits of drinking hermit crabs. They like to submerge themselves completely in water. If they do this in fruit juice, their skin will grow sticky. This could clog the gills or glue the hermit crabs inside their shells.
Hermit crabs can also be clumsy. They are likely to spill the contents of any bowls in their habitat. Congealed pools of sweet-smelling fruit juice will attract flies. While hermit crabs eat insects, flies can be a real pain.
If you pick up safe and appealing fruit for your hermit crabs, they will love it. Just be aware that, like all foods, fruit cannot be fed to hermit crabs daily. They will quickly grow bored. A varied menu of sweet, juicy fruits alongside other sustenance will keep your hermit crabs in good health.