Hermit Crab Vacation Care

Coenobita eyes Credit - Sean Carroll

Hermit crab vacation care ideas Coenobita eyes Credit – Sean Carroll

There may come times when a crabber finds they must leave their hermies for a few days, or wish to go on vacation and are concerned about their hermies being cared for.

To go for a week end, most can ensure with reptile reservoirs the hermit crabs will have the water they need as well as food if a little extra is added to the food dish. Make sure the foods that are left will not spoil/mold in a couple of days.

For peace of mind regarding the temperature of ones crabitat one may wish to invest in a Thermostat for the heating source.

With a controlled crabitat temperature, most times it is easier to regulate the humidity percentage within the tank as well.
Below please find postings from some of the Crab Street Journals members as to what they had done prior to leaving for a few days or before going on vacation:

grant wrote:

I’ve seen these before at PetSmart and a couple other pet stores and would not buy them myself.
HBH Hermit Crab Vacation Food Blocks

I wasn’t too crazy about the ingredients and yes they do contain ethoxyquin which is known to delay molt.


  • Keep all materials organized and labeled
  • Have dedicated measuring tools handy
  • Do a thorough cleaning before you leave

Use the same dish for each type
For example:

  • blue dish – salt water
  • orange dish – fresh water
  • Show helper how to mix a batch of each
  • Ask helper to clean and replace daily


  • Keep fresh in air tight containers
  • Ask helper to clean and replace daily
  • Do not over feed
  • Barnicle clusters make great additions because they look nice, the crabs can climb on them and the crabs can eat them.
  • Other foods need to be removed to avoid mold and spoiling.


    • Make sure gauge reads accurately and is easy to see
    • Inform the helper of what range it should read in
    • and how to make adjustments if found out of that range.

Other thoughts…

        • Have extra dishes so they can be rotated. (no need to rush the cleaning and drying process)
        • Introduce the helper to this forum!

Daethian wrote:

I divvy up foods into small daily portions in shells or dishes, then cover with saran wrap and place in the fridge so they just open and pop it in the tank. I normally alternate wet with dry foods so they can leave the dry foods in for two days. With the food portioned out and ready to go it’s very easy.

I mix my water a gallon at a time so there is no need for them to mix any of it. I mark the milk jugs accordingly of course.

I always keep dried leaves and flowers strewn in my tank to ensure there is always something to nibble on.

You can do the same with ground egg shells and cuttlebone.

You can make one of my Oreo Vacation Cookies and leave it in the tank. It will keep at least a week. Beyond that it gets a little moldy if there is any left over. I have been feeding more than needed while testing. One cookie would last most people a week with little left over.

Lette wrote:

I’d like to make up several servings of food a day so she wouldn’t have to worry about what to feed them. I was thinking of using a large pillbox. the type that has the days listed on them. It might help w/proportions of dry food & that way I know they are getting a variety of dry good food. Lette

Misscranky1 wrote:

Here’s what I have been doing for quite a while now when I get ready to leave.
I buy fruits and veggies and save the clippings in a ziploc bag in the refrigerator with a paper towel in it. This keeps the moisture down. I also buy a bag of mixed berries in the frozen food section because they’re just fruit and they’re easy to use.
I also buy organic baby food and a little goes a long way.

On the day before I leave, I chop my fruit and veggie clippings, I get out two ice trays and sprinkle a little big of chopped pieces into each compartment. I will even put a piece of a sardine in a few of the compartments too. I then spoon (about a 1/2 teaspoon) the baby food into alternating compartments and I mix it up so there’s not the same thing in all of them. I put a few pieces of the mixed berries on top of each compartment then sprinkle some eggshells on top of that. It actually looks very pretty by then.
I freeze the food and once they’re frozen, I pop them out into an airtight container and keep it in the freezer. Labeled of course.

I also mix up some dry food mix which is some fruit and flower mix, brown rice, grits, dried apples, maybe even their cherrished cheerios and put that in a jar with an air tight lid.

I buy 2 gallons of distilled water and add ocean salt to one of them.

When I get ready to leave, the instructions are to change out the water every other day, put a cube of food one day, then change it out with dry stuff which is ok to be there for 2 days. Alternating if they want to.
I do the same with the humidity gauge and point it out and label the flap of plastic on the lid which says… if humidity is above 80, open the flap. If it’s below 70, close the flap.
Not too bad.

It usually works out really well and I don’t have them worry with the light because the tank is near a window. It gets natural light.
I haven’t had a problem.

It’s nice because if the friend puts the food dish where I put it, the cube of food thaws nicely over the undertank heater in a short time.
I forgot to add that I put some meat.. like shrimp or bloodworms in there too.

Ladybug15057 wrote:

A couple years ago when our whole family went to Georgia for a weeks vacation I knew our ‘sitter’ would only be stopping in once a day, mostly towards evening. Even with the large water ponds, I wanted to make sure the hermies had water 24/7. So I had bought reptile reservoirs for all the tanks. To make sure the little ones could get access to the reservoirs (just in case) I cut small strips of Velcro and stuck them along different parts of the outside of the reservoir water end. I used a sharpie permanent marker and marked each reservoir ‘tube’ either ocean or fresh water. (as well as the underside of the reservoir) This made it a little easier for our ‘sitter’ and the reservoirs I suggested to only change the water out every 3-4 days or so. (unless they started to look nasty, but to change the ponds water at least every 2 days)

To make sure the little hermies could get out of the reservoir pond, I placed a few marbles within each one. I used votive candle holders filled with water and marbles in the middle of where the UTH was located to help regulate the humidity within the tank. Having the Electronic temp controllers to regulate the heat output of the UTH gave me peace of mind that the temperature within the tank would be fine.

Freeze dried or dehydrated foods were prepared prior to our leaving, as well as the fresh foods. Dry foods were prepared in dishes and covered and then placed in the refrigerator to keep them fresher longer. (These were to be changed every 2 days) For the fresh foods that were prepared I used the daily pill dispensers that were to be emptied into the cleaned dishes. The fresh foods were to be changed daily. There are some Kaytee healthy food toppings for birds as well as some Hakari foods one can use.

I too left directions on the top of the tanks about the humidity readings, as well as what that tank was called. (we have a few tanks and they do have names: Jumbo tank, Strawberry tank, my main tank, etc.) The food dishes we prepared on the plastic wrap were marked accordingly too with masking tape on top.

In case a hermie had molted, I already had critter keepers set up within the main iso tank. All they needed was water added to the water dishes. I had left instructions on top of the tank lid as to which water went into which colored dish. I had also prepared a couple smaller dishes clearly marked for the iso tank in case there was a molter while we were away.

Hermit wrote:
Great ideas, everyone! I do the premixed and frozen foods for my crabs too.
When I am going away for awhile, I put a pot of “living” food in the tank. I have these small plastic toy buckets that I fill with worm castings, and I sprout seeds like millet, beans, spinach, etc. in them on a sunny windowsill. Then, when I am going to leave, I put the pot into the tank. The hermies can eat the sprouts, dig up any unsprouted seeds and eat those, and even eat the worm castings.
I do this for them even when I’m home, but it’s especially important when I’m away.