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Unlocking the Mystery - How to Get Hermit Crab Out of Shell with Ease

Hermit crabs are captivating creatures known for their unique behavior of residing in empty shells. However, there might be times when you wish to observe your hermit crab outside its protective shell. 

How to Get Hermit Crab Out of Shell
Photo by Taryn Elliott from Pexels

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into various methods and techniques to coax your hermit crab out of its shell without causing stress or harm.

How to Get Hermit Crab Out of Shell: Unveiling the Techniques

The Gradual Approach

Gently Encouraging Exploration

One effective way to entice a hermit crab out of its shell is by creating an inviting environment. Provide a spacious enclosure with ample hiding spots, substrate, and appropriate humidity. Slowly introduce new shells of different sizes to pique the crab's interest. This encourages exploration and potentially swapping shells.

Offering Tempting Treats

A Culinary Incentive

Using treats as bait can intrigue a hermit crab to venture out. Place small, enticing food items near the entrance of its shell, gradually leading it out. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and high-quality commercial hermit crab food can serve as irresistible incentives.

Providing Gentle Warmth

The Warm Welcome

Hermit crabs are cold-blooded creatures, and temperature plays a vital role in their activity levels. Ensure the enclosure maintains an optimal temperature range. Placing a low-wattage heat lamp or a heat mat at a safe distance from the enclosure can create a cozy atmosphere that entices the crab to come out and explore.

How to Get Hermit Crab Out of Shell


Creating a Playful Environment

Stimulating Surroundings

Enrich the enclosure with climbing structures, branches, and other engaging elements. Hermit crabs are naturally curious; offering them a variety of textures and heights to explore can motivate them to exit their shells and engage with the environment.

A Patient Wait

Respecting Boundaries

Hermit crabs might take their time to feel comfortable enough to leave their shells. Exercise patience and avoid trying to force the process. Sometimes, simply providing the right conditions and waiting is enough for them to take the initiative.

Encouraging Natural Behavior: How to Get Hermit Crab Out of Shell Safely

Shell Swap Strategy

The Shell Conundrum

Hermit crabs exchange shells as they grow, searching for a more spacious fit. To facilitate this process, provide a selection of empty shells slightly larger than the crab's current one. Place these shells within the enclosure, and the crab might decide to upgrade its living quarters.

Misty Hideaway

The Humidity Hack

Hermit crabs require proper humidity levels to stay healthy. Create a humid hideaway within the enclosure using a small container filled with damp moss. As the crab seeks moisture, it might venture out of its shell to explore this cozy corner.

Midnight Explorer

Nocturnal Discoveries

Hermit crabs are nocturnal creatures, often more active during the night. To catch them in action, turn off the enclosure lights and use a red or blue light to observe their nighttime escapades. This dim lighting won't startle them, allowing you to witness their behavior up close.

Gentle Handling

A Delicate Touch

While handling should be minimized, occasionally picking up a hermit crab can encourage it to exit its shell. Ensure your hands are clean, and move slowly. Hold the crab close to its shell entrance, giving it the option to re-enter if it feels uncomfortable.

Peer Influence

The Social Factor

Hermit crabs are social beings and can be influenced by the behavior of their tank mates. If you have multiple hermit crabs, the presence of an adventurous crab exploring outside its shell might inspire others to do the same.

FAQs about Getting Hermit Crabs Out of Their Shells

How to Get Hermit Crab Out of Shell


How long does it usually take for a hermit crab to come out of its shell?

Hermit crabs are cautious by nature. It can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks for them to feel comfortable enough to explore outside their shells.

Is it harmful to force a hermit crab out of its shell?

Yes, forcing a hermit crab out of its shell can cause immense stress and harm. It's crucial to let them choose when they're ready to exit on their own.

Can I use any shells for my hermit crab?

Not all shells are suitable. Choose shells that are slightly larger than the crab's current one, ensuring they can fully retreat into the new shell.

How often should I offer treats to entice my hermit crab out of its shell?

Offer treats a few times a week, preferably during the night when they're more active. Use this method in moderation, as overfeeding can lead to health issues.

Are there signs that indicate a hermit crab is ready to change shells?

Yes, if you notice a hermit crab repeatedly trying out new shells or spending extended periods outside its shell, it might be preparing for a change.

Can I touch the exposed body of a hermit crab?

It's best to avoid touching their exposed body, as it's delicate and sensitive. If you need to handle them, do so with extreme care and avoid prolonged contact.

Unlocking the secret world of hermit crabs and witnessing them venture out of their shells can be a rewarding experience. 

By understanding their natural behavior and using gentle techniques, you can encourage these fascinating creatures to explore their surroundings at their own pace. 

Remember, patience and respect for their choices are key when it comes to helping hermit crabs feel safe and comfortable outside their protective homes.