Hermit Crab Care Question from email: How do I introduce new crabs to my existing crabitat?

Kathy asks:

Hi! I’ve been a hermie keeper on and off for almost 30 years now, and am thrilled at how much new information is available on proper care. None of my crabs ever lived long as I didn’t know about proper temp, humidity, substrate, etc. until the last few years.

But, I currently have one lone purple pincher that I purchased over five years ago that is doing quite well. He had a friend that died during a molt about six months ago, so I would love to add some new friends, but here’s my question; my crab is currently moulting (I think – he’s been buried under a water dish for over two weeks now, and his last moult was over the summer). Should I wait until he comes back up to add more hermies? I imagine that he would be pretty shocked to surface and find a bunch of new crabs had moved into his house, and I’m also concerned that new crabs might try to bury in the same spot and disturb/hurt him. On that note, why do crabs seem to always moult under the water dishes??


Wimblee says:

Sue Latell developed a method for introducing and acclimating new hermit crabs to your existing crabitat. This eases the transition from pet store conditions to proper conditions and helps prevent over stressing as the body tries to adapt to the new conditions. You can find the two articles relating to that here:


So if you use this method, by the time your new crabs are acclimated and ready to go in the main tank, you other guy should be up! At that point I would give them all a quick dip in the water pool together so they all smell the same. That seems to help hermit crabs accept each other faster and will remove the molt scent from the existing crab.

Molting under the water dish…yes that’s very common. I’m not sure if it’s solely because of the added humidity and moisture or simply being near a water source. Hermit crabs load up on ocean water prior to a molt. So it could be a matter of convenience to burrow beneath a water dish. Some crabs will dump the water to moisten the substrate to their liking.

Hope this helps!
Be sure to visit us at www.crabstreetjournal.com and meet some other hermit crab owners!


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