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Hermit Crab Problem, Please Help


grain

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OK, last night, I saw that one of my crabs was naked. He was under a "bridge" type thing, and I couldnt reach him to remove him into iso. So I tried to block the area from other crabs getting to it as best I could and put shells within easy distance of him.

This morning, I woke up and found a crab on top of him, and he was torn apart (or so i thought), so I moved the crab off of him, but I had to leave for work.

I went home on my lunch to remove the body and parts that were strewn, and I scooped the main part of his body up with a spoon when I noticed a twitch. It was then that I saw that he had legs still...but they were soft and pink...so he had molted! I put him in a small container gently and placed his exo and some sand in there with him. I also put a shell in there, and I placed some moss gently on top of him so that he wouldn't be out in the open. I put that container in my old 10 gal. tank with a sponge and some water. I put a glass lid on it and left the light on. I only had 10 minutes, and I am back at work now. I really thought he was dead, so I am glad that he is alive. However, from what I have read, he will probably not make it through this.

Please tell me what I can do to increase his chances!

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I'll admit I don't know a whole lot about hermies but it sounds like you've done all the right things. Don't give up hope. My sis has 2 crabs and a while back she was cleaning their tank and found that one was missing HALF his legs (including his large claw). We thought he was done for but he's doing great now, he's even got 'gel limbs' which are a sign of regrowth. We just made sure he had plenty of water and good food available.

Keep us updated on your little guy please!

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Thanks Chrissy!

I found a lid for the container that he is in, so I was able to put that back in the main tank, where the temp is warmer and stable. I saw some movement from him when I was placing the lid on, so he is still alive.

Now, I discovered another problem....one of my crabs is in a shell that is WAY too small for him. Like it only covers his soft abdomen, the curvy yucky looking part. I think what happened is that the smaller crab that was in that shell stole the shell from the larger crab, and so the larger one just went into the smaller crab's shell. OR maybe it was the other way around...i have no way of knowing. I'm not sure why the large one is in that small shell though when there are plenty of shells that would fit him that are available. He is hiding right now, and I don't want to disturb him. :wacko:

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Awww I had Hermits as a kid.. When they Molt sometimes the others will gain a quick meal since the new skin is sooo soft..Try to provide something he can go into to when they shed...Mine always burrowed into the sand and when done presto! they found a new home...lol

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Well, I just got back from my trip, and the one who was in the small shell came out of it completely and molted as well...so that's 2 of them that are surface molting naked...i don't know really what to do with them, so I"m just trying to provide them with the righ temp and humidity. I know the 2nd one is still alive...I can't seem to locate the first one in the little container he was in. :unsure

But yes, they do have plenty of other shells to pick from.

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quick update.

The 1st one went into the shell that i had put in the container with him, and he is still alive. I moved him out of the container to an iso tank. I put him in there with some honey, and other foods, and a salt water and fresh water pool, as well as some new shells. He hasn't moved out of the mossy corner though, but I think that he is eating his exo, so that's good, right?

When I put the 1st crab into the iso, I then moved the other naked crab into the container with his exo and a shell, and after a day, he went into that shell :) So, today I will move him out of the container and into the iso tank as well.

Does anyone know how long it should take for them to harden up, and when it would be safe to move them back into the main tank?

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but I think that he is eating his exo, so that's good, right?

Yes, that's very good :D

Does anyone know how long it should take for them to harden up, and when it would be safe to move them back into the main tank?

I'd like to know this as well. My sister's tank has a divider in it now to seperate her crabs and we're afraid to remove it, we don't want a repeat attack!

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I am checking on that on a hermit crab message board that I go to. But sometimes it takes a few days to get an answer there.

Did your sister's crabs attack the other while it was molting, or was it just a random attack?

I think what caused my problems was my humidity fluxuation, and the sand that I had in there would dry out really fast and got very hard when it dried. Luckily, I was able to bring back a bunch of sand from the beach, which I have had crabs successfully molt in before, so I think this will help alot. Now I just have to get the humidity stable, and it should be OK. I just hope these 2 little guys are able to pull through!

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Did your sister's crabs attack the other while it was molting, or was it just a random attack?

I think what caused my problems was my humidity fluxuation, and the sand that I had in there would dry out really fast and got very hard when it dried

We're fairly sure he was attacked while moulting, but unfortunatly she's been working a lot of overtime lately and hasn't really been able to watch the little guys too much - so she didn't know if the crab was definatly moulting.

She also had a lot of humidity fluctuation, that's a good theory. She added some coconut fiber and took out one of the light bulbs that was causing a lot of evaporation, that seemed to do the trick.

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that's cool, i hope her little guys are ok!

On the hermit crab board, they said it should be ok to add the molted crabs back to the main tank after about 2 weeks, they should be hard by then.

They also said that high humidity isn't a problem for the crabs, it is only a problem because it can lead to mold growth, and mold is toxic.

That's good news for me because my humidity gets really high sometimes!

So far, the two little molters are still in the shells that they went into after a few days of being naked, and I am pretty sure they are still eating their exo's. So good news so far!

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More good news. Friday when I got home from work, the first crab that molted had come out of his little corner and he switched into a different shell, and he was by the food dish when i saw him :) He was out and about a bit on saturday & sunday too.

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I've had similar situations with my hermits; in fact, last year I thought I had lost one of my oldest hermits, only to find out it was exo I was seeing, not a dead crab. Even after all these years he still fooled me!

It can take a week or two for them to completely harden back up. They usually will burrow to the bottom of the tank to do this, out of the way of any predators. However I have had several surface molts. Unfortunately, those usually end with the molter being eaten by the other crabs. They are opportunistic scavengers who will eat anything, even their own kind.

When I have found my surface molters in time, I remove them to a separate tiny Kritter Keeper that I put into the main tank. It is vented but sealed so they are safe but still have the benefit of the heat and humidity of the main tank, without having to stress them by putting them in a quarantine tank. I put soft moss and Eco Earth and some food high in calcium such as eggshells, as well as a small container of salt and fresh water.

Good luck with your hermits. I've had badly damaged crabs come back from missing legs or claws. :)

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Thanks jsrtist! I know that you are the "hermit crab master"!!

It has been a little over 2 weeks, and I have moved them both back into the main tank, and they seem to be doing well so far. I think I also currently have another molter, but luckily he did dig under the sand to do his.

It's kinda funny that for like a year and a half no one molted, and within the past 4 months, I've had 5 molts! Is it normal for them to molt around the same time that others molt?

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  • 2 weeks later...
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I believe it is--they give off a chemical odor that may trigger it, especially in such close quarters. Just make sure the substrate is plenty deep enough so you don't have other crabs trying to dig up the molters. Also make sure there are lots of extra, larger shells for them to try on post molt!

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Thank you :)

-Just this morning, for the first time since I moved the 2 molters back to the main tank, I saw one of them out and about, and I noticed that he is missing 2 legs on one side :( he wasn't like that before the molt. So, now he only has the small pincher on that side. On the other side is the 2 legs, and the purple pincher, so that side is normal. I feel bad for him, is there anything special I should do for him? Do you think he will be OK?

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Oh no :(

I'm starting to find keeping these little guys stressful since mine lost his legs, my sis and I are constantly worried about more attacks.

When ours lost his legs we just made sure he got plenty of food and water, and I kept an eye out for 'gel limbs'. When those appeared I knew he'd moult soon so kept him seperated from the other crab.

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So, when the gel limbs appear, they molt soon after?

Can he molt again so soon?

I still don't know if it was just a bad molt and he lost them then, or if he lost them after :(

i still see him out and about, so he must be doing OK....he doesn't seem to be climbing though, he's just staying on the ground level. The poor thing, i just want him to be ok.

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