If you own a hermit crab or are thinking of bringing one home as a new pet, providing him with healthy food is an important part of hermit crab care. There's a wide variety of commercial hermit crab foods available for a reasonable price; you can find them at your pet store and purchase them ready-made. But these foods aren't always the best for our pets.
Instead, you might decide to make your own hermit crab food with fresh foods and ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. This varied diet can be beneficial for your little pet, and since you can source all of the important ingredients from grocery stores, it's easy to make your own food.
How to Make Hermit Crab Food
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A healthy hermit crab food will have a mix of these as a base:
- Animal Protein
The healthy grains are probably already in your pantry! Depending on the number of hermit crabs you have, you won't even notice any ingredients missing.
Start with the base and gather up all grains, seeds and nuts to cover the basic grains and fat categories:
- Grains: Oats, wheat bran, wild rice, yeast flakes, granola mixes
- Seeds: Flax, chia, pumpkin, sesame
- Unsalted Nuts: Walnuts, pistachios, almonds
In the wild, hermit crabs are foragers, so they also need a good source of animal protein. This can be incorporated into their diet a variety of ways. Dried insects are the easiest way to make sure they're getting protein. You can also feed them a few pieces of a high-quality, high-protein dog kibble.
Protein additions include:
- Dried Insects: Crickets, mealworms, river shrimp, blood worms, dried shrimp, brine shrimp
- Dry Dog Food: A few pieces of high protein kibble, crushed.
Another important part of their balanced diet is calcium. I mix calcium powder into the mix, or you can give them egg shells to munch as another added source of calcium.
Adding Variety to the Diet
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Hermit crabs have been known to have a sweet tooth, and while it is important to keep them happy, it is important to feed anything sugary in moderation. This includes fresh and dried fruits or any sugary cereals.
- Dried/Fresh Fruits: Goji berries, mango, pineapple, raisins, coconut, papaya, applesauce.
You can also feed your hermit crabs fresh veggies. I make a habit of saving a little portion of whatever vegetables I have around to feed to the hermies. It is important to remove any fresh fruit or veggies within 24 hours. This variety of foods can help ensure a balanced diet for your hermit crab.
My hermit crabs also particularly love popcorn. It is very important that they get the air-popped kind, and not the microwavable kind with butter and flavoring on it. You can make a small portion of popcorn by mixing kernels with coconut oil in a brown paper lunch bag, and microwaving until kernels pop!
In general, leave foods like garlic, onions, and citrus out of a hermit crab diet. Other than that, feel free to try different variations of your own! You may find out a few of your crab's favorite foods in the process!
You can find specific recipes here.