Top 16 Common Types of Hermit Crabs As Pets

Top 16 Common Types of Hermit Crabs As Pets
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Hermit crabs are an exciting pet. They are relatively inexpensive, easy to care for, and require minimal maintenance. However, several types of hermit crabs are commonly kept as pets.

Here are the top 16 common species of hermit crabs as pets.

Land Hermit Crabs As Pets

Caribbean Hermit Crab (Coenobita clypeatus)

Caribbean hermit crab

The Caribbean hermit crab has become one of the more popular land-based hermit crabs because it is very hardy and adaptable. It does well in both freshwater and marine settings. Caribbean crabs are also known by their scientific name Coenobita clypeata. Caribbean hermit crab has first discovered this animal on the island of Jamaica, where it lives in caves near rivers. Its shell size ranges from 3 inches up to 6 inches long.

This hermit crab is not native to North America but rather originates from South America. If you want to keep this particular hermit crab, then make sure that you purchase it from reputable sources such as Petco or Amazon or some local pet stores. You should never buy any kind of exotic pet from someone off Craigslist or eBay. There are some unscrupulous sellers out there who sell their unwanted pets without proper documentation.

Ecuadorian Hermit Crab (Coenobita Compressus)

Ecuadorian hermit crab

Another great option if you live in Florida is the Ecuadorian hermit crab. Like the Caribbean hermit, Ecuadorian crabs are extremely hardy and adapt easily to various conditions. It thrives in both freshwater and saltwater environments. Although it originated in Central America, it now resides throughout much of the world.

Ecuadorian crab shell size varies between 2 1/2 – 4 inches long. When purchasing this hermit crab, look for a healthy specimen with bright eyes and no signs of disease.

Cavipe Hermit Crab (Coenobita Cavipes)

Cavipe Hermit Crab

If you prefer keeping a smaller hermit crab than the ones mentioned above, consider buying a Cavipe hermit crab instead. A cavipe hermit crab measures only about half an inch when fully grown. It comes in two varieties: white and black. Both colors are equally attractive and appealing.

These small hermits come in three sizes; 5 mm, 10mm, and 15mm. Make sure that you choose the right sized hermit crab before placing them into their new home. They need room to grow and expand.

Indonesian Hermit Crab (Coenobita Brevimanus)

Indonesian hermit crab

The other choice for those living in tropical climates would be the Indonesian hermit crab. This hermit crab is similar to the other land-dwelling hermit crabs listed here, except it prefers slightly cooler temperatures.

It is usually sold in pairs since males and females do not get along too well together. Males tend to fight over territory while females lay eggs. For this reason, it is important to select a pair of hermit crabs carefully.

Rugosus Hermit Crab (Coenobita Rugosus)

Rugosus hermit crab

Another good choice for those looking for a larger hermit crab would be the Rugosus hermit crab. This large hermit crab grows to 0.59 inches long. Rugosus’ coloration changes depending upon which part of the globe they inhabit. They are typically brownish-red in color but sometimes turn green or blue. Some individuals even turn completely orange. Regardless of how colorful they become, this hermit crab always looks adorable.

Red Hermit Crab (Coenobita Violascens)

Red Hermit Crab

Although all of the hermits mentioned above are quite beautiful, none compare to the Red Hermit Crab. This amazing creature is often called “the clown of the sea” due to its unique coloring. They are a member of the same family as the true clownfish.

The Red Hermit Crab was originally discovered on the island of Madagascar, where it lives in warm waters near coral reefs. Today, however, Red hermit crab can also find this hermit crab in warmer regions like Australia, Hawaii, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Blueberry Hermit Crab (Coenobita Purpureus)

Blueberry Hermit Crab

Another interesting option for anyone interested in owning a hermit crab would be a Blueberry Hermit Crab. Although this particular animal isn’t native to North America, there are some places where it does live. One such location is Florida.

This hermit crab is very easy to care for because its diet consists mainly of algae. Its favorite food source includes kelp, seaweed, and various kinds of plants. If you want to keep one of these creatures, make sure that you provide plenty of space for them to roam freely. You should place them in a tank that contains lots of rocks and sand.

This hermit crab doesn’t need any special lighting conditions either. Just let them bask in natural sunlight whenever possible. Keep in mind that if you don’t give them enough time to adjust to their surroundings, they might become stressed out. That could lead to behavioral problems. 

Strawberry Hermit Crab (Coenobita perlatus)

Strawberry hermit crab

If you prefer something more exotic than the other options mentioned above, then perhaps the Strawberry hermit crab is right up your alley. It is commonly known by two names: Strawberry Hermit Crab and Strawberry Hermit Crab. Both terms refer to the bright colors that cover this hermit crab’s entire body.

They come in several shades of purple, yellow, white, and black. When fully grown, this hermit crab reaches an overall size of about 3.1 inches. Like the others discussed here, they need ample room to move around. Make sure that you provide them with plenty of hiding spaces and allow them access to clean water.

They enjoy eating small pieces of fruit, vegetables, and insects. A healthy diet consisting mostly of fruits and veggies is perfect for keeping this hermit crab happy.

Marine Hermit Crabs As Pets

Elegant Hermit Crab (Aniculus Elegans)

Elegant Hermit Crab
One first option worth mentioning is the Elegant hermit crab. This is another name used to describe the marine hermit crab. Unlike the previous examples, which were terrestrial animals, this one belongs to the ocean realm.

It is usually brownish-red in color, but sometimes it appears blue. There are three distinct markings located along each side of its shell. Each marking looks similar to a starburst pattern. The first mark starts from the front edge of the carapace and extends down to the tip of the abdomen. Another mark begins just below the second one and continues until reaching the end of the tail. Finally, the third mark runs across the middle of the backside of the shell.

Like the other hermit crabs listed here, this creature requires adequate amounts of space to explore. They like to hide under large stones and logs when danger threatens. Their habitat must also contain plenty of vegetation.

The elegant hermit crab eats almost anything except fish eggs. Some of their favorites include lettuce leaves, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, peas, beans, apples, oranges, bananas, strawberries, grapes, melons, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, corn on the cob, asparagus, onions, garlic, mushrooms, and shrimp.

Dwarf Hermit Crab (Clibanarius sp)

Dwarf hermit crab

Another great choice for those looking for a unique pet is the Dwarf hermit crab. Although not quite as big as some other varieties, this animal has a distinctive appearance nonetheless.

Their shell is much smaller compared to the rest of the group. At only 1/4 to 3/4 inches long, they are considered a miniature version of the larger ones. However, unlike the others, they do not possess claws. Instead, they use their pincers to grab food items such as worms, snails, slugs, and even baby sea stars.

This particular hermit crab prefers living near the bottom of the ocean floor, with abundant sunlight. If you want to keep them safe while exploring underwater, make sure to place them inside a plastic container filled with sand. You should also ensure that they get enough oxygen through the air holes provided in the lid.

If you plan to feed them live foods like snails, clams, mussels, and oysters, you need to do so slowly. Otherwise, they might get sick if they swallow too fast. Also, avoid feeding them any kind of meat because they could choke on it.

Scarlet Reef Hermit Crab (Paguristes Cadenati)

A very rare variety of hermit crab is known by the scientific name Pagurus catenates. It was discovered in Australia during the early 1900s. Since then, scientists have studied this unusual specimen extensively.

Although it is extremely difficult to breed this hermit crab, researchers successfully produced offspring using artificial fertilization techniques. Unfortunately, none survived past their infancy stage.

As far as appearances go, P.cadenatus resembles an ordinary hermit crab. Its body measures about three 1-1/2″ inches long. Unlike the others, however, it possesses two pairs of legs instead of four. This makes it appear more spiderlike than normal hermits.

Unlike the other creatures mentioned above, this hermit crab lives exclusively in coral reefs. Because of this, it needs to stay close to the surface of the water. To protect itself from predators, it hides underneath rocks and corals. It feeds mostly on algae but sometimes consumes small invertebrates like mollusks, polychaete worms, bryozoans, hydroids, and jellyfish. The latter three are especially dangerous since they sting easily. 

Polka Dot Hermit Crab (Phimochirus Operculatus)

Polka Dot Hermit Crab

One of the smallest members of the hermit family, Phimochirus operculate, is often referred to as the Polka dot hermit crab. They look similar to their cousin, the red-striped hermit crab, which is why they share the same color pattern.

However, unlike the striped one, Polka Dot doesn’t have stripes running down its back. Their shell is covered with tiny dots arranged in rows. When viewed up close, each dot appears to look like a little circle.

The reason behind this design is unknown. Some believe that it serves as camouflage against predators. Others think that it helps prevent overheating when exposed to direct sunlight. Whatever the case may be, this hermit crab enjoys spending time basking under bright lights.

He spends most of their life hiding beneath stones and logs. During the day, they stay out of sight until nightfall. Then they come out to bask in the sun before returning to hide again.

He eats various kinds of food such as sea urchins, shrimp, fish eggs, and even insects. However, they do not eat seaweed due to its high concentration of iodine. Instead, they rely solely on algae for nourishment.

Electric Blue Hermit Crab (Calcinus Elegans)

Calcinus elegans - Blauer Einsiedlerkrebs
Thanks to its unique appearance, this Electric blue hermit crab has become quite famous over the last few decades. Although it belongs to the genus Calculus, it differs greatly from all other hermit crabs. For starters, it lacks claws. Furthermore, it also lacks eyes and antennae.

Instead, it has large pincers located near its mouth. These appendages resemble those of spiders. Their purpose is to grab prey items and crush them into smaller pieces.

It uses its powerful jaws to capture whatever it wants. Once inside its stomach, it digests the meat through enzymes produced by special cells called cnidocytes. Afterward, it regurgitates the partially digested remains onto the ocean floor, where bacteria break down the rest of the meal. Like any other hermit crab, Electric Blue likes to spend time basking in the sun. But unlike the others, it prefers to do so while swimming rather than sitting motionless on the seafloor.

Its diet consists mainly of planktonic organisms such as copepods, amphipods, euphausiids, krill, and mysids. Occasionally, it will consume larger marine animals like squid, octopuses, and cuttlefishes.

Halloween Hermit Crab (Ciliopagurus Strigatus)

Halloween hermit crab

If you want an unusual-looking hermit crab, then Halloween hermit crab should make your list. Halloween hermit crab named this creature after the holiday because of its striking orange coloring. Its body is completely black except for two white spots on either side of its head.

These spots appear to glow in the dark. That’s how their name came about: “Halloween” means ghostly in English. The animal itself isn’t spooky; instead, it just happens to enjoy being bathed in light during the evening hours. It hides away during daylight hours.

Like most other hermit crabs, Halloween hermit lives primarily off of algae. Unlike the majority of its relatives, though, it feeds mostly on diatoms. Diatom is simply another word for phytoplankton. It refers to microscopic plants that float freely in oceans and seas. Unlike other hermit crabs, this one doesn’t need to go anywhere else to get its daily dose of nutrients. All it needs is sunshine and plenty of space to move around. However, if you keep them indoors, they might start eating more frequently since there aren’t enough natural sources available.

Their favorite foods include brine shrimps, mussels, clams, snail shells, and small fish. They enjoy consuming both soft-bodied and hard-shelled creatures alike. When their appetite gets too big, he stores excess energy in their fat reserves.

Electric Orange Hermit Crab (Calculus Elegans)

The electric orange hermit crab is probably the second most well-known member of the family. It looks very similar to the previous example but with some minor differences. One notable difference between the two is that the former has no legs, whereas the latter does. Instead, it possesses four pairs of walking limbs.

In addition, it also has three pairs of long tentacles that serve as sensory organs. These appendages allow the animal to detect objects nearby. Another interesting feature of this particular hermit crab is its ability to produce electricity when touched.

This power comes from specialized muscle fibers located near its heart. Whenever the animal receives a shock, those muscles contract, causing tiny electrical currents to flow throughout its entire body. Some scientists believe that this phenomenon helps protect the animal against predators.

When not using its electricity-producing abilities, the electric orange hermit spends much of its day hiding under rocks and logs. Like all hermits, it eats mostly algae. However, unlike others, it prefers to eat sea lettuce rather than seaweed. Sea lettuce is a plant that grows along rocky shores. It contains high levels of calcium carbonate, making it an ideal food for hermits.

It’s important to note that although the electric orange hermit is commonly referred to as a true hermit, it’s only half of the story. While it does spend time alone, it often associates with other members of its kind. For instance, if you place several individuals into a tank together, they tend to stay close by each other.

It’s believed that this behavior stems from the fact that they share similar environmental conditions. Since they live close to one another, they don’t feel like they need to venture far outside to feed themselves. 

Staghorn Hermit Crab (Manucomplanus Varians)


Look no further than the Staghorn hermit crab if you want an even bigger version of the electric orange hermit. This creature measures up to about five inches across. Its shell is covered in spines which give it a rough appearance. The spiny covering makes it difficult for predators to grab hold of the animal.

Unlike the electric orange hermit crab, the staghorn Hermite cannot generate any sort of static charge.

Instead, it relies on camouflage to avoid detection. If it senses danger, it quickly retreats inside its burrow, where it hides until things calm down again. Once safe, it returns to its normal activities.

Like the electric orange hermit before him, the staghorn crab doesn’t consume large amounts of food. Rather, it feeds primarily off of algae. Although it consumes plenty of it, it rarely leaves the safety of its home.

As mentioned earlier, the staghorn can create a small amount of electricity whenever something touches its skin. Scientists think that this energy source allows the animal to communicate with other members of its group.

Since there aren’t too many creatures living alongside the staghorn, they usually remain hidden away during daylight hours. When night falls, however, their activity increases dramatically. During this period, they begin exploring new areas looking for potential mates.

How To Choose a Pet Hermit Crab

Choosing a suitable habitat for your hermit crab depends largely upon how big you plan to make it. Smaller specimens require smaller tanks, while larger ones should reside in larger enclosures. You also need to consider whether you intend to keep the animal indoors or outdoors.

The size of the enclosure you choose will depend on the number of hermit crabs you wish to house within it. A single specimen requires less space than two or more. The next thing you must decide is whether you want to purchase a wild-caught or captive-bred hermit crab. Wild-caught hermit crabs come directly from the ocean, whereas those raised in captivity are born in a laboratory setting. Both options offer advantages and disadvantages.

Wild-Caught Animals:

One advantage of purchasing a wild-caught hermit crab is that you get exactly what you pay for. There’s nothing else involved when buying a wild-caught animal. It comes straight out of the sea without having had time to adapt to human care. However, if you buy a wild-caught specimen, you won’t receive any information regarding its background. For example, you might not learn anything about its diet or breeding habits.

Captive Raised Animals:

On the flip side, you benefit by knowing all sorts of details about your chosen hermit crab. Captive raised animals are kept under constant observation as well as being fed regularly. Their health status is monitored closely. Additionally, you can ask questions such as “What does my hermit crab eat? How often do I feed it? What kind of tank would work best for it?”

When choosing between the two options, you should always choose one that offers you the greatest benefits.


Can Different Types of Hermit Crabs Live Together?

Yes, but only if they were originally collected together. This means that you shouldn’t mix individuals from different sources unless you first determine which hermit crab species each individual belongs to. Otherwise, you could end up with an unbalanced population.

Do All Species Eat Algae?

No, some prefer meaty foods like shrimp and fish. Others enjoy eating vegetables. Some even thrive on fruit.

Should You Purchase Your Hermit Crabs Online?

If you live near a large city, then you probably already own everything required to start raising your hermit crab. If you don’t, though, then ordering through an internet supplier is worth considering. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also avoid shipping costs from the pet store.

Is It Safe to Keep my hermitCrab Indoors?

It certainly isn’t safe to leave your hermit crab inside a home unattended. Even if you place them into a cage, they need plenty of room to move around freely. They should never be confined to just one spot.

What is the rarest type of hermit crab?

There aren’t any rarer varieties of hermit crabs than others. Each has its unique characteristics and behaviors. One way to tell the difference between various species is by looking at their shells. Most hermit crabs have hard exteriors made of calcium carbonate. Those with softer shells tend to belong to other groups.

How many species are there of hermit crabs?

Over 1100 distinct species exist worldwide. Many of these are native to Australia, while others originate from Asia.

Our Hermit Crab Shells Hard Enough To Protect Them From Predators?

Shell hardness varies greatly depending upon the species. Some are very tough, while others are quite fragile. Regardless of how thick the shell is, predators can easily break open and consume the hermit crab. Therefore, it’s important to keep your pets away from potential dangers.

Do hermit crabs recognize their owner.

Some hermit crabs seem to remember where they came from. When placed back into their original habitat, they return to their old homes. Other hermit crabs appear to forget where they come from after spending time outside of their natural surroundings.

What Animals Can you put with terrestrial hermit crabs?

Terrestrial hermit crabs can coexist peacefully alongside almost anything else. However, certain creatures might not get along too well with them. For example, snakes, lizards, frogs, turtles, birds, and mammals can cause problems when living together.


The world of hermit crabs is full of interesting facts about these fascinating little critters. Hopefully, our list of the top sixteen common types of hermit crabs as pets helped answer all of your questions regarding these amazing invertebrates. Please feel free to share your thoughts below.

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