All hermit crabs are scavengers (even those that live under the ocean). They are omnivores, and eat other animals as well as plants. In the wild terrestrial hermit crabs will travel a long way each night to forage for food. In the terrarium you will want to make sure that you choose the best hermit crab food possible so that your crabs can live a long and healthy life.
Hermit Crab Food
There are many hermit crab foods out there. More of them are full of fillers than those that are full of really high quality foods. If you are going to feed a hermit crab food then you should make sure that you don't rely on this as their only food source. It is often a good idea to offer more than one hermit crab food because they can easily get bored with a single food.
Hermit Crab Treats
Many times hermit crab treats are designed to excite the hermit crab. They can be low in nutrition and high on flavor or high on both. In any case they should be offered sparingly because they may choose the hermit crab treats over other foods and over nutrition.
In its make up, fish food is very similar to many hermit crab foods. If you choose a high quality fish food then it is a good thing to add to the food that you feed the hermit crabs every day. However, it is important that this isn't the only food that you feed them. There are a lot of frozen fish foods that hermit crabs will enjoy. This can include brine shrimp, bloodworms, and plankton (just to name a few).
Other Foods From the Pet Store
While you can certainly create a whole diet for your hermit crabs that doesn't depend on specialty foods, there are some things that you can get at the pet store that can be used to feed your hermit crabs. These include frozen fruit and plant based reptile or amphibian foods, escargot, dried sealife including shrimp and plankton, and brine shrimp.
Hermit crabs love fruits. You can give them anything that you eat, but make sure you clean them thoroughly. Some great options are tropical fruits such as mangos, pineapples, and papaya. Other options will certainly work including watermelon, berries of any sort, bananas, and even apples and pears. Coconut shavings are also a favorite of many crabs.
Hermit crabs also enjoy a variety of vegetables including peas, carrots, broccoli, and so forth. You can serve them cooked vegetables as long as they don't have a lot of seasoning on them. You also want to make sure that they are not spicy, hot, or contain garlic. You can also serve them raw vegetables. Sea vegetables are also great choices and can include dried seaweed that is sold at Asian markets and health food stores. Spirulina powder is another good addition. It is actually and algae, but is really healthy. It can be found in fish food items and at the health food store (for people).
Just like people, hermit crabs should have whole grains instead of just junk food. You can feed them whole grain pasta, crackers, whole grain bread, and healthy cereals. You should make sure that you don't feed them a lot of sugar in your grains. Cooked rice, barley, and oatmeal are some other options that are good choices for the future.
Your hermit crabs will enjoy meat as well as other foods. You can feed them cooked meat that hasn't been seasoned or you can feed them raw meats. They will also enjoy and appreciate seafoods. You can share your foods or your can buy them their own.
Leaves and Bark
We normally don't pick up crunch leaves or bark, but hermit crabs do. They will enjoy a variety of dried crunchy leaves and bark. You can also give them drift wood, cholla wood, and even worm castings as added nutrition. Clean grass can be another option, but you want to make sure that it is free of chemicals, washed, and dried before giving it to them.
Nuts and Seeds
Hermit crabs also like nuts and seeds. You should choose ones that are organic and that are either dry roasted, unsalted or are raw. You can choose any type of nut or seed, but you will want to chop it all up.
There are a lot of great treats that hermit crabs like. This includes honey, peanut butter, and even popcorn (without butter). Boiled eggshells are also a good treat and they will even add calcium to the hermit crabs. Because hermit crabs need calcium it is also a good option to putt cuttlebone in their cage or in their food. You can also feed them baby food for a bit of variety and to meet their sweet tooth.
Things to Avoid
Hermit crabs can enjoy a lot of foods, but you should take care to avoid somethings. When looking at commercially prepared foods you want to avoid the chemicals ethoxyquin and copper sulfate, because they can cause harm to your hermit crabs. You should not feed them hot or spicy foods. You should also make sure that you avoid feeding them preservatives and pesticides. Organic is always a good idea because they are more sensitive to dangerous chemicals than we are. Two groups of foods that should also be avoided are plants from the Allium family such as onions and garlic, and citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons.
Hermit crabs pick up their food with their smallest pincher. You want to consider this when you serve them their food. It should be in small peices so that they can actually pick it up to eat it. You should also make sure that at least some of their food is dry. Let fruits, vegetables, washed leaves, grasses, and so forth sit out for a while to dry. Serve the food on a shallow dish or shell and make sure that you change it everyday. You may also want to remove the uneaten portion in the mornign to prevent flies, mites, and other creatures from coming into your crabitat.
Hermit crabs aren't picky eaters, but they are used to having a lot of variety. Hermit crabs have been found traveling two and three miles a night in search of food and often come across a wide variety of options. You should feed them at least two options each night and switch it up. You should never feed the same foods two nights in a row. Hermit crabs are fairly easy to feed, but it does take a little thought. Over time you will find yourself saving out foods that your family is eating to feed it to the hermit crabs as a quick and easy food.