The Power of Protein

Coenobita compressus enjoying fish, peanut butter and veggies - Photo by Amber Miner

The power of protein – Hermit crab Coenobita compressus enjoying fish, peanut butter and veggies – Photo credit Amber Miner

Land Hermit Crabs are arthropods. Arthropods have a stiff cuticle made largely of chitin and proteins, forming an exoskeleton that may or may not be further stiffened with calcium carbonate. They have segmented bodies and show various patterns of segment fusion (tagmosis) to form integrated units (heads, abdomens, and so on). The phylum takes its name from its distinctive jointed appendages, which may be modified in a number of ways to form antennae, mouthparts, and reproductive organs.

Land Hermit Crabs in the wild eat a lot of protein in the form of dead fish, prawns, seaweed, cuttlefish as well as other forms of protein including plants. Some have been known to eat soft crabs, clams, worms and barnacles. Gourmet food for a hermit crab!

In Lisa Loseke’s table of Hermit Crab Nutrition she states that “High protein level of 50% of total food is required for growth.” and that “sources of protein listed includes “Nuts, Seeds, Beans, Eggs, Spirulina, Fish Food Flakes, Cat Food, Dog Food, or Hermit Crab Food should always be a part of each nightly food offering. Spirulina (dried seaweed) is 48% protein by calories.” ( Dall & Moriarty 1983)

Foods should be ethoxyquin and copper sulphate free.
Additional information:
Hermit Crab Nutrition Table

SoyStache: Sources of Protein: Plant-based sources vs. animal sources
Plant-based protein and animal protein listed


Dall, W. and Moriarty, D. J. W. (1983). Functional aspects of nutrition and digestion. In: Mantel, L H (Ed.) The Biology of Crustacea. Vol. 5. Internal Anatomy and Physiological Regulation. Academic Press, New York, 215-61 bibliography pp. 251-61.