life cycle of the land hermit crab is unique. It starts by the
release of eggs into an ocean tide pool, where the zoea
go through a series of moults and development stages.
A baby hermit crab zoea
will be a part of plankton
until it grows and starts to resemble hermit crab form. Once they
have developed to maturity, hermit crabs leave their watery home,
making the long journey to land to find a shell for the protection
of the soft abdomen
Once ashore, land hermit crabs go
through a metamorphosis,
gills that act as lungs to enable them
to breathe air. Once on land, they live in a variety of environments
including trees, mangroves and areas up to 1-2 miles away from
In the wild some land hermit crabs
can spend a long time away from a water source, some only returning
to the sea when they are heavy with eggs which they will flick
into the intertidal
pools to start the cycle over again.
Land hermit crabs are instinctive and will access moisture from
dewdrops found on leaves of plants. They are able to go without
food for a time if necessary and store water in their shells for
crabs are able to regenerate - or regrow - any lost or broken
limbs during the moulting
process. Hermit Crabs moult
because their hard exoskeleton does not grow with their body,
and so they must shed it and infuse the new tissues with moisture,
then harden these tissues to develop into an exoskeleton
with the aid of 'chitin'.
During this time, you will need
to keep your hermit crab in a comfortably warm and moist environment
and offer substrate
into which they may burrow within. Some hermit crabs like to dig
down deep into the substrate
and hide out while their new exoskeleton
hardens and they will return to normal activity. For the next
10 or so days heir new skin hardens with the aid of 'chitin'
which hermit crabs will obtain by eating their discarded exoskeleton.
During this time of natural wonder, you will find your hermit
crab is soft, vulnerable, and inactive.
your crab will need a bigger shell to protect their newly moulted
body. Your hermit crab may be a little crabby after a moult and
you should offer a variety of shells for them to choose from.
Hermit crabs love to size up new shells and will often change
shells for hours on end until they find their favourite.
Copyright © 2000 Vanessa