FAQ What foods are good and bad for hermit crabs?

Hermit Crabs are beach scavengers and they can and will eat a wide range of things. General rules:

Photo by bird1234 (youtube)

FAQ What foods are good and bad for hermit crabs? – Coenobita perlatus eating garbage – Photo by bird1234 (youtube)


Avoid chemicals, pesticides, table salt, moldy foods, plants that are toxic to animals.

For hermit crab nutritional needs and the foods that provide them, download the nutritional food chart as a PDF by clicking in the gray box below.

Hermit Crab Nutrition Table
Hermit Crab Nutrition Table
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Written by Kerie Campbell

Fruits – Fresh or Wrinkly? I’ve read alot about fresh fruits being in their diets, which I use alot of BTW. But I’ve read alot about people putting in fruits that are old and wrinkling up. Is one better than the other?

Answer by: Kerie
Posted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 7:52 am
The crabs like it fresh, and they like it wrinkled. Mine also like stuff that’s gone mushy from being thawed after freezing. Alternating fresh and older fruit is a good way to vary their diet. The sugars and other compounds like terpenoids in the fruit will tend to change composition and break down for different flavors as the fruit ages. If it’s citrus fruit, though, you should always let it sit until it is wrinkly. The peels contain substances like limonene that act as insect repellents. Limonene breaks down quickly in the fruit peel as it ages, so letting it go wrinkly makes it much more attractive to the crabs. Citrus has compounds in the pith and stringy stuff that are extremely beneficial to crabs, such as beta carotene, and so citrus should be offered them on occasion, in order to promote a healthy diet.

What foods are good for hermit crabs?

Alfalfa
Almonds, crushed
Amaranth (Ancient grain – calcium)
Anchovy oil
Apple and natural, unsweetened apple sauce
Apricot
Avocado
Banana
Barley (calcium)
Bell peppers (red, yellow, orange, green or purple)
Bee pollen
Bilberries/Huckleberries
Blackberry leaves
Blackberry
Bladderwrack
Blueberries
Bone Meal (no additives, preservatives)
Broccoli and leaves
Brown rice, soy, wheat or 7 grain cereal
Brown rice
Canteloupe
Carnation flowers
Carrots (carotenoids)
Carrot tops (vit. E)
Cat Tails
Cauliflower and leaves
Celery leaves
Chamomile flowers
Chard
Cherimoya
Cherry
Chicken bones
Chicken, cooked and unseasoned (smash the bone for marrow access)
Cholla wood
Cilantro
Clams
Clover blossoms and leaves
Coconut and coconut oil
Cod liver oil
Collards (calcium)
Cooked eggs
Cork bark
Corn (on the cob, too)
Cornflower
Cornmeal
Cranberries (dehydrated)
Cucumber
Currants
Cuttlefish bone, powdered
Dandelion flowers, leaves and roots
Dates
Egg, scrambled or soft boiled
Eggshells
Extra-virgin olive oil
Figs
Fish flakes w/out chemical preservatives
Fish Oil
Flax seeds (crushed)
Flax seed oil (small amounts infrequently)
Frozen fish food (esp. algae, krill and brine shrimp)
Garbanzos (calcium)
Grape Leaf
Grapes
Grapevine (vines and root)
Green and red leaf lettuce (not iceburg; dark green)
Green Beans
Greensand
Hempseed Meal
Hibiscus flowers
Hikari products: brine shrimp, krill, crab cuisine, sea plankton (no preservatives, ethoxyquin, copper sulfate)
Hollyhock flowers
Honey (organic, or at least locally produced, for anti-microbials)
Honeydew Melon
Huckleberries/Bilberries
Irish Moss
Impatiens flowers
Jasmine flowers
Kale
Kelp (calcium)
Kiwi
Lobster with crushed exoskeleton
Mango
Marigold flowers (calendula)
Marion Berries
Mint (but not peppermint!)
Most organic baby foods
Mulberry (fruit, leaves, wood)
Mushrooms
Mussels
Nasturtium flowers
Nettle (wilted)
Oak Leaves and bark
Olive and olive oil (extra virgin)
Oranges
Oysters (zinc)
Pansy flowers and leaves
Papaya
Parsley (calcium & vit. C)
Passionfruit
Peaches
Peanut butter (avoid sugar, corn syrup and hydrogenated oils)
Pears
Pecans
Pecan bark
Petunias
Pineapple
Plain calcium carbonate powder
Popcorn (unseasoned, unflavored, unbuttered)
Potato (no green parts, including eyes)
Quinoa (New World grain – calcium)
Raisins (no sulphur dioxide)
Raspberry
Red raspberry leaves (highest bio available calcium source + vit. C and trace minerals)
Rolled Oats
Rooibus
Rose petals
Rose hips (high in Vit. C)
Royal Jelly
Salmon
Sand dollars
Sardines (calcium)
Scallops
Sea biscuits
Sea fan (red or black)
Sea grasses
Sea salt
Sea Sponges
Sesame seeds (crushed)
Shrimp and exoskeletons
Spinach
Spirulina (complete protein and chlorophyll source; highest in beta carotene)
Sprouts (flax, wheat, bean, alfalfa, etc.)
Squash and blossoms
Strawberry and tops
Sunflower Seeds (crushed), flowers and leaves
Swamp cypress wood (false cypress, taxodium sp.)
Sweet potato
Tangerine
Tomato
Tuna (zinc)
Turnip greens (calcium)
Violet flowers
Walnuts
Wasa All-Natural? Crispbread (Oat flavor)
Watercress (vit. A)
Watermelon
Wheat grass (magnesium)
Wheat (calcium)
Wheat germ (B vitamins)
Whitefish
Whole Wheat Couscous
Worm Castings
Zucchini

Other herb flowers-The tiny flowering blooms of the following spices are edible: anise, basil, bee balm, chives, coriander (cilantro), dill, fennel, garlic, oregano, rosemary, and thyme.

Bugs

Beetle Grubs
Bloodworms
Centipedes
Cicada exo skeletons
Earthworms
Feeder cockroaches
Grasshoppers
Harvestmen
Hornworms
Isopods
Katydids
Locusts
Mealworms
Scorpions
Spiders
Super worms
Waxworms

* This food list is mainly adapted from Summer Michealson and Stacey Arenella’s book, The All-Natural? Hermit Crab Sourcebook, and expanded on by Julia Crab and others

What foods are bad for hermit crabs?

While it is true that crabs are scavengers with a wide repertoire of foods they can eat, there are many plants and foods that just should not be fed to a crab. The foods on this list are to be avoided. Some are toxic, some are insect repellents or used as insecticides, and some the crabs just won’t go near, such as lemon — lemon won’t hurt them, but they certainly won’t eat it.

Aconite (Monk’s Hood)
African violet leaves
Alder bark
Aloe vera (interferes with potassium absorption)
Amaryllis
American Hellebore
Anemone/Windflower
Aniseed
Avocado leaves
Azalea/Rhododendron
Bindweed
Bird of Paradise Flowers
Bluebonnet
Bottlebrush flowers
Bougainvillea
Boxwood
Buckthorn
Buttercup
Carnation leaves
Castor Bean
Catnip
Cherimoya Seeds
Chrysanthemum
Cinnamon
Citrus (leaves and branches to be avoided; part of the evergreen family. The fruit is fine)
Columbine
Compost (unless 100% organic)
Crocus
Crown of Thorns
Cube Plant
Custard Apple (young fruit)
Cyclamen
Delphinium
Derris
Dieffenbachia
Dill
Dittany
Eucalyptus
European pennyroyal
Evergreen (pine, cedar, juniper, etc.)
Feverfew
Fleabane
Garlic
Geranium
Golden Pothos
Green hellebore
Hemlock
Holly Berries
Ivy (of any kind)
Juniper Berries
Kalanchoe
Larkspur seed
Laurel
Lavender
Lemon Balm (Sweet Melissa)
Lemon Grass
Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)
Mayweed
Mistletoe
Morning Glory
Oleander
Onion
Oxeye daisy
Papaya seed
Parsley Seed (fruit)
Peace Lily
Pencil Tree Cactus
Peppermint
Philodendron
Pine or cedar wood or needles
Prickly juniper
Pride of China fruit
Prunus species trees (apricot, bitter almond, cherry, cherry laurel,
nectarine, peach, plum) Fleshy fruits are edible, everything else
contains a cyanide-like compound and is fatally toxic, including
seeds, wood, leaves, bark and flowers.
Red Emerald
Rosemary
Sago Palm
Sanseveria
Schefflera
Stargazer Lily (Lilium x Stargazer)
Sweet Flag
Tansy
Tea Tree
Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora)
Thornapple
Thyme
Tobacco
Verbena
Vinca
Wild Angelica fruit
Wormwood
Yew
Yarrow

From: The San Diego Turtle and Tortoise Society
http://www.sdturtle.org/
And other sources

We highly recommend keeping worm castings and greensand on hand and in your tank daily. Both are highly nutritious and are loved by hermit crabs.

Awesome video of a huge  gathering of Coenobita perlatus eating garbage