Relocating to a new home with your hermit crabs

A change of housing is easy for a hermit crab but for people it takes a bit more planning! Photo credit Volapardus http://volapardus.tumblr.com/

A change of housing is easy for a hermit crab but for people it takes a bit more planning!
Photo credit Volapardus
http://volapardus.tumblr.com/

Relocating to a new house is something all humans do at least once in their life. Sometimes the move is planned and sometimes not so much. Relocating with hermit crabs can be a bit more challenging that moving with other pets. While I’m certain there are other ways to ensure the move goes smoothly we are only going to cover some basics here.

First of all, do not move your tank with the substrate and crabs still in it. The biggest danger is the collapsing of molt burrows. Even if you don’t have hermit crabs underground you risk the bottom busting out of the tank while you are carrying it.

If you are relocating with advance notice you can begin to prepare for your move months in advance.
Begin by setting up a temporary crabitat in a storage bin, depending on the number of hermit crabs you have you may need more than one. See the link at the bottom of the article for a video on setting up a storage bin crabitat. I would recommend very shallow substrate so your crabs are not underground when moving day arrives.

At this stage if you are three months out or less from moving day start relocating your hermit crabs into the temporary crabitat. Only move the hermit crabs that are above ground at this stage.Molting hermit crabs will be moved to the temporary crabitat as they surface. Ideally all molters will be up before your move and safe in the temporary crabitat.

If moving day arrives and you still have hermit crabs underground molting you will be forced to dig them up.  You will want a separate temporary crabitat set up for them so you are not placing molters in with the rest of the colony. Digging must be done slowly and carefully so as not to damage a soft exoskeleton. Any uneaten bits of old exoskeleton should be moved with the crab so it can continue eating it. Do not attempt to re-bury the hermit crabs in the temporary crabitat, place a bowl or hut over them for privacy. If you only have one or two molters you could place them in a small container with a bit of moss and a holes in the lid. Gladware type bowls are good for this but you can use something like a mason jar also, just so there is an air hole. These small containers can be placed in the temporary crabitat. Be sure they are secure and won’t tumble around in the bin.

Moving without advance notice will also require you to set up a temporary crabitat in a storage bin. Again use shallow substrate so no hermit crab is underground while in transport. Hermit crabs that are above ground can be moved directly into the temporary crabitat. Molters will have to be very carefully dug up and placed into individual containers with a bit of moss. Digging must be done slowly and carefully so as not to damage a soft exoskeleton. Any uneaten bits of old exoskeleton should be moved with the crab so it can continue eating it. Gladware bowls or Mason jars with holes in the lid could be used. Place these containers in the temporary crabitat and secure them so they won’t tumble around in the bin during transit.

How to set up a storage bin as a temporary habitat

A storage bin can be used as temporary housing for your hermit crabs during a move - Photo credit: Donna Boo

A storage bin can be used as temporary housing for your hermit crabs during a move – Photo credit: Donna Boo