Confirm your hermit’s food does not contain preservatives – ethoxyquin (often contained in fish flakes, hermit crab pellets, fish pellets, algae wafers, and most commercial food) or BHT. These are known molt inhibitors according to the EPA. Ethoxyquin is also contained in almost all foods ending in the word “meal” – i.e. hermit crab meal.
Most brands lack nutrition leading to cannibalism. Land hermit crabs are omnivores; they eat both plant and animal origin. They are primarily herbivores plant based foods like plant detritus, plant litter, fruits, tubers, seeds, encrusting algae, fungi are leading part for a balanced diet.
- Terrestrial Plant Litter
- Aquatic Plant Litter
- Living Plants
- Fruits and Seeds
- Healthy Fats
Terrestrial Plant Litter
Your crab will snack plant litter to consume the benefits of lignin, cellulose and wood fibers. Woods such as Birch, Maple and Grapevine. Cholla wood is a hermit crab favorite! Check out our list of Safe and Unsafe Woods for a wider selection.
Aquatic Plant Litter
- Various Seaweed
sprouting seeds like chia and quinoa can be grown directly in the substrate or in a separate food dish container. Some recommended options are
- Orchard Grass
- Wheat Grass
- Oat Grass
- Barley Grass
- Timothy Grass
- Turnip Greens
- Italian Dandelion
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
Fruit and Seeds
Coconut, mango, papaya, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, banana, starfruit, fig, pomegranate, and various other fruits, as far as seeds–any of those listed above in the sprouting list are good, also peanuts, almonds, cashews, and pecans can be given as long as they’re plain without any salt or other additives. For more on Safe Foods click here!
Small invertebrates, shrimp, krill, plankton, crab, squid, mealworms, earthworms, isopods, and crickets are some of the most common ones and can be freeze-dried, frozen, or even fresh as long as they’re plain/don’t contain chemical preservatives.
Eggshells are very popular, exoskeleton, cuttlebone and oyster shells are some great calcium options.
Adding healthy fats to your crabs diet helps promote a healthy and successful molt. Some fatty foods are coconut oil, olive oil, palm oil, salmon and walnuts.
Don’t forget to spoil your crab with treats. Some crabby favorites are air popped popcorn, natural peanut butter, sweet apples and mango. Organic honey is a favorite treat, it helps the process of healing during a molt and a natural energy booster.
Lisa Roam shares what a typical food dish consists of
“I feed my two tiny girls the same things I feed my five bigger crabbies. For dinner last night they had smelt (a little bait fish), shrimp, cantaloupe guts, fresh pineapple with the skin, a piece of fresh coconut, baked potato (my biggest guy LOVES potatoes), hard boiled egg w/some shell, grapes, fresh spinach, dried cranberries. I also keep what I call a “seed cup” in the tank at all times. It has dried foods in it like chia seeds (which I also toss in the tank to sprout), meal worms, blood worms, dried shrimp, dried crickets, nuts, egg shell, powdered beet, carrot, bee pollen, spirulina, a dried seaweed blend, and ground flax. It sounds like tons of food, but there’s just a little bit of each thing.”
Emily Coker demonstrates a colorful dish full of healthy choices and treats
Canned meal worms, carrots, kale, coconut, sardines, blueberries, cherries, cabbage, cantaloupe pulp/seeds, pineapple, honey, flax seed, chia seed, hemp seed and coconut oil.
Hermie’s Kitchen is a organic hermit crab food store dedicated to the nutritional needs of your little hermies. www.etsy.com/hermieskitchen
Ref. a) Diet Chart. Lacey Vermuelen and Lauren Yeager. For further information visit Hermit Crab Owners/Care_Guide