How often have we experienced a hermit crab coming off an all pellet diet to a more natural and nutritious diet showing no interest in new/fresh foods when offered?? Or even turning up their noses to new foods in general? I’ve definitely encountered that but after offering it 3 or 4 times they seem to come around. This excerpt from a study may shed some light on this behavior.
Retention time probably depends on ecological factors controlling the availability and abundance of different food types, and should have some optimal value. If preferences are maintained for too short a time, an animal may then repeatedly select the same food type and not search for other food types. This lack of diversity in its diet could cause an animal to fail to obtain enough of an appropriate nutrient (Hughes 1979). Induced food odour preferences are expected to decay with time, since a longer interval without encountering a different food would indicate the scarcity of alternative food sources. Thus, to avoid starvation or wasting time searching for alternative foods that may not be present, crabs should lose the induced preferences after some interval and accept the next available food item (Hughes 1979).
This is a really good article and I have told so many new crabbers this. I even have my foods divided out and lined up in small baskets, I pull front bag out of each basket and feed and move it to the back. When I introduce a new food I have had to feed a long time to get them to eat much (like eggplant and asparagus), bet I fed these regularly for a couple months before they even touched it. Also I feed a lot of dried foods, when summer gets here and I start adding lots of fresh it takes a while for them to accept it….there is definitely a difference between drying a food and feeding it fresh…..oh and yes my crabbies like everything in bite size pieces lol