Tag Archive for sick

Humane euthanasia for hermit crabs

Euthanasia

Euthanasia

There may come a time when you find it necessary to euthanize your hermit crab to end it’s suffering. I’m providing the information that I found to be reliable.

Please ensure that you are not confusing a surface molt with death.

https://www.researchgate.net/post/What_is_the_least_drastic_method_to_kill_decapod_crustaceans_for_subsequent_preservation

http://kb.rspca.org.au/What-is-the-most-humane-way-to-kill-crustaceans-for-human-consumption_625.html

Caring for hermit crabs with limb loss or other deformities

Tiny hermit crab missing both pinchers

Missing both pinchers makes it difficult to eat and protect yourself.

This guide will help you care for a hermit crab that has been attacked, lost several limbs or is suffering from molt complications. General care instructions will be outlined and special exceptions for molting crabs will be included at the end of the guide. If this a newly purchased hermit crab that is dropping limbs you should check out our information on Post Purchase Stress. PPS is a common cause of dropped limbs. Dropping multiple limbs indicates extreme stress. Not all hermit crabs can recover from this type of limb loss.

Isolate

The victim hermit crab needs to be isolated. Use a secure container that other hermit crabs can not access. The victim will remain in isolation until healthy enough to return to the main group. The time in isolation depends on the severity of the attack. A badly injured crab may need to be isolated until the next molt.

The isolation unit should have the same humidity and temperature as the main tank. (Recommended: 80F/80%)

Include a hut or some other place to hide. Shallow substrate, spare shells, food and water are all needed. Each will be discussed below.

In some cases, a small kritter keeper can be turned into an isolation unit and placed in the main tank. With the screen lid secure the other crabs will not be able to harm the victim. This is less stressful as there is no environmental changes for the hermit crab to adapt too. This also allows him to be near his tank mates.

How do I set up a proper hermit crab habitat?

Shells

If your crab is also out of it’s shell that needs to be addressed first. Our cup method is tried and true and works in all but the worst cases. Provide 2 or 3 spare shells in the isolation unit once the crab is back in a shell.

How do I get my hermit crab back in it’s shell?

Food

Eating well is vital to the recovery process. Commercial hermit crabs foods are 99% unsafe. Most include chemicals that inhibit the molt process and/or are used as a pesticide. We strongly discourage ever feeding commercial foods but feeding them to an already sick crab will only worsen the situation. A natural diet of real food is best.

A hermit crab needs both claws to eat properly. One claw holds the food while the other tears or breaks off a small bit and then brings it up to the mouth. If your hermit crab is missing one claw they can still feed themselves but you will have to alter their diet. Soft foods that do not require tearing or breaking should be fed. Calcium rich foods can be ground into a powder and mixed with another food or fed dry.

If your hermit crab is missing both claws they will have to be hand fed. This means all foods will need to be ground into a powder and moistened slightly. You will dip a toothpick into the food and bring it up near the mouth. The mouth parts should reach down and take the food. If your hermit crab will not eat from you in this way, put a small amount of food in a bottle cap. Position the hermit crab over the cap so they can simply dip their mouth into it.

Change the food daily. Keep the food dish very close to where the hermit crab is resting. This will minimize the need to walk.

A diet consisting of all the key food groups is vital for recovery. Honey can be used to stimulate appetite or give a little boost but it does not have much nutritional value. You can use honey as a base for other foods you have ground up. Kind of like putting ketchup on your kid’s food!

What can my hermit crab eat?

Water

Land hermit crabs can drink water without their claws if they are able to move themselves over the dish. Use small, shallow dishes such as a bottle cap. Keep both kinds of water very close to where the hermit crab is resting. If the hermit crab can walk a bit you can use a wide shallow dish. Change daily or when empty. Water must be treated with Prime or a similar water conditioner.

Substrate

Use shallow play sand for your substrate in isolation. While in normal conditions deep sand is needed that isn’t recommended in this scenario.

Why?

In this situation the crab most likely does not have the strength or ability to dig properly.

The injured hermit crab needs to remain above ground so you can ensure they are eating and drinking.

When the victim is ready to molt again he will be able to safely surface molt in the isolation unit. If he does not move into the hiding place you provided, carefully place it over him. It would not hurt to cover the isolation unit for a few days during the molting process to reduce stress. Shadows passing over the hermit crab signal predator danger, a cover will minimize that additional stress.

Light

Continue to maintain a normal cycle of 12 hours light and 12 hours dark. It is not critical to provide UVB in the isolation unit. If you already have a UVB light set up on the main tank and will be keeping the isolation unit inside the main tank that is fine.

Return to the colony

How will you know your hermit crab is ready to return to the colony?

Are all the limbs regenerated? At the very least your hermit crab needs both claws. This means they will be able to protect themselves inside their shell, as well as feed themselves and climb to escape other crabs if needed.

Is the hermit crab active and eating and drinking normally again?

Able to climb in and out of your water pools unassisted?

If yes to all of the above it is time to return to the main tank. When you do return the hermit crab to the colony do it when you can be around to monitor the tank for a few hours.

Molting crabs

It is rare that a molter will be attacked by tank mates. When this does occur it is a result of incorrect substrate (eco earth only or not deep enough) or a poor diet. The molter needs to be gently moved to isolation and cared for using the above recommendations. Soft crabs should be moved with a clean spoon (or something similar) so that you do not transfer bacteria or other germs to the soft exoskeleton.

A molting crab will be quite weak for a couple days. Don’t expect him to eat or drink in the first day or two. If the exoskeleton was not eaten, it should be ground up and put in a dish with the victim (in addition to the food suggestions above). If the exoskeleton was eaten, provide another source of calcium in the food dish. Remember while underground hermit crabs do not ‘drink’ but they are able to absorb moisture from the substrate if needed. The molt sac is also full of water. Normally the crab would only eat their exo while under but after an attack it is important to get them to eat anything. Don’t force food in the first 24 hours after a molt. Give the crab a chance to eat on their own before attempting to hand feed.

If the molter was wounded and has visible damage to the exo you can treat the spot with our Medicinal Wash for Hermit Crabs if you catch it early.  Damage to the exo can cause the outer layers to fuse with the soft under layer. This can lead to difficulties shedding properly during the next molt. This is a very rare time when you may want to move the crab to an isolation unit when you observe pre molt symptoms. This will allow you to monitor the molt process. They may molt perfectly fine in your main tank but if they don’t survive the molt you won’t know for months.

Tips:

Wash your hands before tending to your patient

Use a spoon to gently scoop up the victim. Dig just beneath the crab so there is a some substrate between the crab and the spoon. That will ensure you don’t injure the crab with the spoon.

 

What’s for dinner? A hermit crab food guide!

Hermit Crab Feeding Guide - Printables

Hermit Crab Feeding Guide – Printables from CrabStreetJournal.org

In an effort to simplify feeding for hermit crab owners we have put together a few printable hermit crab food guides.  These should be used in conjunction with our safe and unsafe lists.

*Foraging Guide

*Where to Buy Guide

*What to Feed and Why Guide

****The files can be downloaded at the bottom of the article.****

If you have additions or corrections for any of these guides or other food lists please send them to crabstreetjournal@gmail.com As we don’t allow commenting due to spammers.


Additional food related articles:

Safe and Unsafe Wood
Edible Flowers
What Foods are Good and Bad?
Beneficial Foods Containing Zeaxanthin
Learning to prepare food for your hermit crabs
Foods Containing Carotenids
Color Enhancing Foods
Adulterants & Additives in Hermit Crab Food
Atypical Things Hermit Crabs Can Eat
Going Natural Beginner’s List
People Food for Hermit Crabs
Growing Your Own Hermit Crab Food
Hermit Crab Food Recipes
Should I Feed My Hermit Crab Meat
The Power of Protein

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Medicinal Bath for treating bacterial infections, shell rot and black spots.

This recipe can be modified, made stronger for use with very sick crabs, although this strength is fine for more minor cases!

Medicinal Bath created by Gertrude Snickelgrove and updated by Sue Latell of CoenobitaResearch and CSJ

Ingredients for Medicinal Bath for Hermit Crabs created by Gertrude Snickelgrove and updated by Sue Latell of CoenobitaResearch and CSJ

General wash for injured crabs:
1 Tbsp. Marshmallow root shaved
1 Tbsp. myrrh powder
1 Tbsp. calendula (marigold)
1 Tbsp. whole chamomile flowers (not powdered)

First, you’ll need to make a decoction. Take one quart of water, and heat it over the stove to near boiling. Add one tablespoon marshmallow root, and one tablespoon myrrh. Cover, and simmer for thirty minutes. Remove from heat. Add one tablespoon calendula flowers (marigold) and one tablespoon whole chamomile flowers. Cover immediately again. Let sit until cool, then strain herbs out and refrigerate. It will last a max of 48 hours. The herbs are all safe, they can even be fed to the crabs. I routinely feed calendula and chamomile to mine.

When bathing the crabs, bathe the affected parts only. I don’t see any need to get the stuff on the gills, unless there is an infection of the abdomen. The reason I say this, the marshmallow root makes a slime coat, which is sort of thick, and is not beneficial in the shell unless you’re fighting an infection in that area. If the infection is in on gills or soft tissue you can leave out the marshmallow root.

These are some of the general benefits of these herbs:

So marshmallow root draws out infections, draws out splinters, and makes a thick slime coat layer that helps prevent infection and aids in healing.

Myrrh powder (like what was given to Baby Jesus), is a powerful anti-bacterial, yet unlike antibiotics, is completely safe for crustaceans.

Calendula flowers (marigold), gently stimulates the immune system, is a mild anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, and cuts down on healing time.

Chamomile flowers, reduces inflammation, helps to speed healing, and reduces swelling when it is present.

A few words of caution: do not use powdered herbs; you really need to find the bulk medicinal herbs, because too many properties evaporate when the herbs are crushed. If you drink chamomile tea, and do not find it that relaxing, you should try a cup made from the whole flowers. There is a noticeable difference.

And second, all the properties of chamomile (the essential oils) evaporate with the steam. That’s why, when cooking herbs that have any essential oils, you must trap all the steam and let it cool, so the medicinal contents will remain in the formula.


Specific Wash for Bacterial Infection (including shell rot if caught in early stage):

2 cups dechlorinated water
1 Tbsp. myrrh powder
2-3 Tbsp. calendula (marigold)
1 Tbsp. whole chamomile flowers (not powdered)

Veterinarian recommendation: place the crab in clean sand, increase light exposure and bring humidity down to 70% and maintain there. Lower humidity retards the metabolic rate of the bacteria but 70% is the lowest a crab can tolerate while being treated. This must be done in isolation. Bacterial shell diseases are highly contagious but can be shed with a good molt.

This concoction should be steeped after the water is boiled. Let it sit for about 20 minutes, strain out petals. Wash should be applied 2 times a day for 3 days, let the crab sit in it as there may be lesions on his shield and abdomen. It will benefit him if he retains it as shell water. After the first few days if you notice more lesions forming or see more discolored depressions in his chitin, you may not be able to stop the progression of the disease.

If you do notice that there is no more formations, change out the substrate for new and watch him in ISO for at least another week. You can repeat the process again if you see reformation occurring. I think it would be up to you if you want to continue, but remember to keep this crab separate until you are sure that he has no active growth of the bacteria on him. With my indo BOB, he remained in a 2.5 gal ISO until he molted.

Here are his pictures:

Bob came up from his molt like this. This spot was suspected shell rot. The deformation of the claw is from an unidentified toxic substance, or even from the bacteria being present when he molted the first time.

 

Bob

Bob


This was after his molt and after the bath treatment. I think it contributed to him molting again so soon, and while his claw still is undercut, there was no spot or depression in his chitin.

 

Bob

Bob


Sorry for the poor quality of the pictures, I lost the originals when I had a hard drive crash.

Photos from Daethian:

 

Hermit crab with black spot shell disease

Hermit crab with black spot shell disease

 

Hermit crab with black spot shell disease

Hermit crab with black spot shell disease

 

Hermit crab with black spot shell disease

Hermit crab with black spot shell disease

 

Hermit crab with black spot shell disease

Hermit crab with black spot shell disease


Credits:

The main recipe was given to Daethian(Stacy Griffith) via email from Gert Snicklegrove in 2005. The best of our knowledge she is the creator of this recipe along with Summer Michaelson.

The second portion is an adaptation created by Sue Latell of Coenobita Research after speaking with her vet in 2006.