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Freshly Molted Hermit Crab


jsrtist

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Several months back, I discovered one of my purple pincher (Caribbean) hermit crabs had been injured. Somehow he had been burned and almost cooked on the tank heater! To this day I don't know how that happened since I take precautions against it. Now the under tank heater has been turned off to prevent this happening again.

Here's a pic of him just after it happened.

crabinjury2.jpg

His back is an unnatural orange color, where it should be a pale peach.

crabinjury1.jpg

He has been in an iso tank (like a QT tank) since then since he could hardly walk. He lost his two left walking legs and his big pincher. I had to keep other crabs from harassing him, and also make sure he could get enough food. Well, crabs are resilient, and he finally molted a couple days ago. Underneath his old exoskeleton, he was forming, soft gel legs and a new pincher.

You should never ever disturb a molter or move them because after they shed their skin, they are very soft and can be easily damaged. He didn't eat all of his old skin, though, and it had gotten moldy so I had to remove it. I took the opportunity to snap a couple quick pics to share!

His skin is still soft and translucent, and you can see his new legs and pincher.

hermitmolt1.jpg

hermitmolt2.jpg

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aww! sad to hear about the heater, good thing you made him safe now. and how cool does he look! amazing pics!

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Yep! Most crustaceans eat their shed exoskeleton because it's an excellent source of chitin and calcium. It helps them regain all the nutrients they lost during the molt.

Also, shedding their skin is the only way invertebrates can grow. They swell and eventually crack the old skin, wiggle it off and then gradually harden to a new, larger exoskeleton over the next few days. It's really quite fascinating! However, as a pet owner, this is an extremely stressful time as molts can go wrong, and I have had crabs die for no apparent reason during molts. I've also had crabs who molted too close to the surface (or on the surface) be dug up and eaten by the other crabs. Since this crab was already injured, I made sure to isolate him so that wouldn't happen.

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Awwww!!! Poor baby, I am so glad he is doing better!!!!!!!

All of my hermies are doing GREAT thanks to all your help! One of the small ones molted and did just fabulous.... They are all buried a lot right now, with the winter... The tank has remained warm enough, it's been hard to maintain the humidity, but I still manage.. (I'm like crazy spray bottle woman!). But it seems like they just KNOW that it's cold just outside of their tank, so they've been hiding and buried a lot LOL

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Mine have been like that, too, Sue. Actually, just the other night, a ton of them suddenly started coming up, crabs I hadn't seen in months!! I think it must have something to do with the moon and tides since that's what drives their breeding. It was just so funny how they suddenly all appeared. It's been even colder lately so I was surprised to see them.

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I knew regular crabs went under the sand and stuff but I never knew that hermit crabs did that too!

the ones at pets mart don't dig down tho. I think they have a bare bottom tank. not that I'm agreeing w/ that store, they usually don't house their animals appropriately anyway.

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With any animal (but especially wild-caught animals like hermits), it's important to know their requirements, and some pet stores certainly don't do that. Ideally, hermits need at least 6+ inches of substrate so they can safely burrow and molt. I keep different kinds of substrate in my tank, including sand and coconut fiber.

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I'm really sad to report that, after all of that, the poor little guy didn't make it. He had eaten most of his exo but looks like he just dried up. I'm thinking he had such severe injuries that when he shed his skin, it didn't take long for him to just dehydrate and die. :cry1 He had water and was in a properly moist environment, but just couldn't come back from it.

It's so frustrating that he held on this long. I was so sure that after he molted, he would be okay again. :(

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