Playing with your Hermit Crab

Compilation of information by Vanessa Pike-Russell and updated by Angela Lipscomb

There are many things you can do when playing with your crab. Why not set up an obstacle course of driftwood, rocks or plastic tubing? Hermit crabs just love to climb and exhibit their acrobatic skills. In the wild some hermit crabs live in trees, so it is a good idea to have something for them to climb on!

Not only can you hold them and watch them climb, but after some quality time with your pet they will actually come when you call them. Each time you handle them give them a little bit of food and talk softly to them, in a soothing manner. Hermit crabs do not have ears and are not able to hear, but they are very sensitive to vibrations, and will learn to associate the vibrations of your voice to you. If you have young children, ask them to sit down when handling them, ideally on a spare bed sheet spread out on the lounge room or bedroom floor, and help them to understand that gentleness earns trust.

Exercise is very important to hermit crab health, as they often wander a mile or so in the wild during their nightly escapades. Not only is it fun to watch them clamber about, climb and explore, but you will find that active hermit crabs eat more and are usually much healtheir for it.

Exercise Balls/Exerspheres

Exercise balls are lots of fun and very safe for your hermit crabs to romp around the loungeroom or bedroom floor. “Give your pet the freedom to roam and enjoy some freedom from the boring cage life! Just put your little friend inside the well ventilated ball and watch him go. The mini size is ideal for dwarf hamsters, mice, hermit crabs, and other similar tiny animals. Ideal for use when cleaning the cage and for providing hours of interactive fun during playtime.  Well ventilated, locking lids for worry-free play. Made of shatter-resistant plastic. Available in transparent, glow in the dark, or colored models.  Each ball is approximately 4-1/2″ in diameter.”

Mini hamster ball

Mini hamster ball

NOTE: THESE SHOULD ONLY BE USED WITH LARGER CRABS AS THE SMALLER ONES CANT REALLY PUSH THEM AROUND THAT WELL, AND THERES A CHANCE THEIR LITTLE LEGS CAN GET CAUGHT IN THE AIRHOLES AND BREAK THEM OFF. PLEASE USE WITH CAUTION!!!

Hermie Race
All you need to do is to take a hoola hoop and lower it onto a clean surface (I use a clean bedsheet because I have carpet) and then place your hermies in the center of it.

Sit back and watch them scamper to the hoola hoop finish line. Your have your own hermit crab race!
NOTE: IF YOUR HERMIE IS JUST SITTING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE HOOLA AND NOT WANTING TO GO ANYWHERE, PLEASE DONT PUSH HIM OR FORCE HIM, THIS WILL JUST STRESS THE POOR BABY OUT. jUST WATCH THEM HAVE FUN PLAYING IN THEIR LITTLE CIRCLE :)

Hermie Climb
Another good hermie game is to make a little tower out of plastic mesh or gutter guard, driftwood tree or piece of grapevine. Make sure it is not too high up because you don’t want your hermies to get hurt if they fall. To make sure they are safe you could have pillows about the base. You could make something like a cat’s scratching post, with a vertical piece of wood covered in material such as astroturf or synthetic grass; ZooMed ReptiCarpet; fleece or other material as long as you can unpin or take it off for washing if it needs it.

Put your two hermies on the top and watch them climb down. Or they could start at the base and watch them climb up. They are experts at climbing and so fun to watch them hanging upside down or teetering on the edge.

Another idea is have a Rubbermaid type container, or a hard plastic baby pool in which the hermit crabs can scoot about safely within. You can also get creative and make your own hermit crab climbing toys for within the container. Make sure to keep the climbing items within the middle of the container so they cannot climb over the side, or drop out of the area. This will help too when one wants to clean their tank and ensure their little ones are safe.

Hermit crab jungle gym

Hermit crab jungle gym

Hermit crabs climbing

Hermit crabs climbing

Hermit crabs climbing on ferret tunnel

Hermit crabs climbing on ferret tunnel

Note: it is important to wash your hands before and after playing with your land hermit crabs.