Our beloved hermit crabs are ectothermic creatures, which means they depend on the environment to regulate their body temperature. This means maintaining their crabitat at proper temperature and humidity is literally a matter of life and death.
With warm summer temps comes the risk of a too hot crabitat, below are some tips to help cool down your crabbies on a blazing hot day.
First remember that hermit crabs are tropical creatures so they can handle brief temperature spikes and be okay. A prolonged heat wave will be too much for them to handle. If you cool your home by opening windows and using fans, you must keep a close watch on the temperature in the crabitat. If you have air conditioning and maintain a fairly consistent inside temperature, the tank temperature shouldn’t vary too much.
85F is the upper limit for crabitat temperature. Your tank should have a range of temperatures. Ideally with the coolest part of the tank being 75F and the warmest part around 82F. Be sure to check the substrate temperature and the air temperature. In the summer, a cooler substrate temperature is ok. That will allow your hermit crabs to burrow to cool off. The opposite is true in the winter.
These are temporary fixes for a spike in temperature and not ideal for maintaining a proper crabitat environment day to day.
Consider moving the crabitat to a cooler part of the house if an extended heat wave is expected. Pre chill some dechlorinated water so you have it on hand.
Try removing the lid and use a fan to quickly cycle hot air out. The fan will cause a drop in humidity but that will be okay. Overheating is a bigger danger. If you have your crabitat set up properly, the change in humidity will be brief and will not harm healthy hermit crabs. Consider a cold water misting after using the fan, use dechlorinated water.
Freeze some plastic bottles of water and pop one in the crabitat to cool it off. Replace as needed on a hot day. Freeze these now so you have them when you need them. Those blue lunch box freezer things can be used too, but not if they are leaking or are of a soft material the hermit crabs can puncture. If you use these I would not leave them unattended for too long.
Make sure their water pools are not hot. Cooler water can help them cool themselves.
If you have to use ice cubes to cool off the crabitat, place them in substrate and not in the water pools. Unless of course you were clever and froze some dechlorinated water. 🙂
Hermit crabs will hang out of their shell in an effort to cool themselves off. If you see this behavior, act fast before permanent damage occurs.
Leaking of brown liquid or bubbling/foaming at the mouth are signs of severe overheating and what is likely irreversible physical injury to your hermit crab.