Am I ready for an exotic species hermit crab?

Names of the most common exotic species:

  • Ecuadorian: coenobita compressus
  • Rugosus: coenobita rugosus
  • Cavipes: coenobita cavipes
  • Indonesians: coenobita brevimanus
  • Strawberries: coenobita perlatus
  • Crazy Crabs: coenobita variabilis
  • Blueberry Crabs: coenobita purpureus

Caring for exotic species hermit crabs can be more difficult than caring for a PP/Caribbean hermit crab. All the exotic species require ocean water, strawberries require enough to soak in.

Ecuadorian: coenobita compressus

These crabs tend to be busy, friendly and active crabs. They are hard to find shells for and they are known for being stubborn about changing shells. They love to dig. Molting seems to be a bit harder with E’s than with PP’s, they seem more likely to surface molt or have disfiguring molts. E’s tend to be more vocal, chirping for a variety of reasons. Based on current information, E’s don’t grow as large as PP’s.

Rugosus: coenobita rugosus

Ruggies are very similar to E’s. They don’t seem to be as picky about shells as the E’s. Rugosus seem to be fairly hardy.

Cavipes: coenobita cavipes

There is not much information available on Cavipes. They became available for a short time in the U.S. and now appear to be gone from the stores. In my personal experience, Cavipes have been rather hardy also. They also seem to be quite stubborn about changing shells.

Indonesians: coenobita brevimanus

Indos are the most terrestrial of the hermit crabs, living farther from a water source. Indos aren’t known for being very active or busy. Most seem to be shy but easy going.

Strawberries: coenobita perlatus

Strawberries seem to be the most sought after of the hermit crabs, and the most difficult to care for. Strawberries are not for the beginning crabber. They require the water be deep enough for the crab to submerge in for a soak. They are known for their destructive behavior in the tank, turning it upside down every night. They dump their bowls and tear down decorations. They spend more time climbing if given the room to climb. Strawberries cost more and die sooner. Many owners of hermit crabs have found the strawberries difficult to keep alive and healthy. This crab is not for the inexperienced crabber.

Crazy Crabs: coenobita variabilis

CC’s physically resemble an E but their personalities differ a lot. Owners of CC’s have found them to be more aggressive to their tank mates than other species. CC’s are also vocal crabs. CC’s don’t seem to be readily available in the U.S. at this time. Some have found their way in so its worth mentioning here. It may be difficult to tell the difference between CC’s and E’s. CC’s do get much larger than E’s. This is another species that really isn’t for a beginner.

Blueberry Crabs: coenobita purpureus

I’ve never owned a Blueberry crab or known anyone who does well enough to get an accurate idea of their personality.

For more information, photos, videos and an ID test on the different species visit

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