A hermit crab crabitiat should be an oasis for the hermies. Not a 'cage'. So, the hermit crab 'cage' everywhere in this site is called a crabitat. You should make it beautiful and lovely to look at. So, here you can find things you need for your crabitat and tips.
Extra Shells: The crabitat needs to have with plenty of shells your hermies can change into. Take your hermit crab to a pet store and ask to have you crab 'fitted' with two shells that will fit him after he molts. (see 'Molting') Just ask the aquarium attendent to help you find the perfect sized shells for him or you can estimate. To find their ideal home, hermit crabs put their left claw (the pincher) into the opening of the shell. If it doesn't fit or fits just barely, they move on. If it fits in with just enough room or is spacious, they often move in immediatly. But they need a shell that won't drag them down because it's so big and bulky. Find one or two different sizes larger than the one he's wearing.
Shelters: There are many options when it comes to hermit crab shelters. Coconuts, half logs, and underneath hollow decorations. You can even build your own! But you need to choose at least one of these for your hermie to live in. Place these in corners. Don't put them right in the center of the cage. But leave about a half inch of floorspace between the edges of the shelter and the walls of the cage. My hermit crab, Trevor, had a fit if I didn't leave some room for him to crawl around the coconut.
Decorations: Coral reefs, sunken ships, and rocks are perfect for the hermies to keep fit and healthy. Place a few rocks and unusable shells inconvienently on pathways so they have to crawl over them. Keep them going. Some hermies don't need encouragement to stay active; they'll go out of their way to crawl over things.
Litter: Fill the bottom of the crabitat with 1 inch to 4 inches of litter. Hermit crabs need two times the depth of sand as they are tall so they can dig holes to molt in or just dig for fun!
Kitty Proofing: It is very important to kitty-proof your crabitat if you have cats. I have a 7 month old kitten, Louie. He loves to watch me rearrange the crabitat, refill food or water, or clean the crabitiat. He is always right there and tries to attack the hermies with his paws. Other 'prey' of his includes rocks, driftwood, and he tries to eat the hermit crab food. (?) So you need to kitty-kitten-proof your crabitat.
My crabitat, dispite where I put it for pictures, is sitting on the middle shelf of a bookcase in my living room. Louie, luckily, can't get up there or if he did, he would sit on the crabitiat or knock it over. Placement is very important when it comes to kitty proofing. Do not set the crabitat out on a table, aquarium stand (unless and very sturdy ans strong lid is in place), or ontop of a TV stand where it can be knocked off or sat on/into.
**Also, depending on your gravel-sand especially, cats may use it as a litter box while you're cleaning(and their watching) and then leave them alone in the room to get more equipment.**
A lid is the most important part of kitty-proofing. Reptile lids which is metal lid- Or a plastic clip on- work perfectly.
A non-kitty proofed cage:
A kitty proofed crabitat:
The crabitat is a lot of fun to design and show off. There are many design possibilties. I used a ten gallon aquarium and and a spacious 14' by 11-1/4' plasic tub. Here are a couple of my favorites:
The tank below was my first tank. It is a ten gallon glass fish aquarium.It is decorated with a fishtank decoration (the coral reef), a half log and coconut shelter, a distilled water pool and a salted distilled water shell, with a food and water dish and sponge. I dug out some of the fishtank pebbles from under the hollow coral reef so the hermies could crawl under it and sleep inside. It was more popular than the coconut and log! Buddy, the hermit crab in the orange and white shell, is going into the coral reef shelter.
This second one is in a plastic tub with holes in the lid. The litter I used in this one is sand. I have a distilled water pool in a large shell and a salted distilled water pool in the smaller half clam shell. I used the coconut from the first tank and a piece of driftwood I found on a beach. I put in a couple fake mini palm trees and when I took this picture, I had just cleaned everything and put things back in. But, right after I took this picture, I did put food in the food dish next to the sponge. My medium sized purple pincher , is standing in the middle of the cage. He is so shy, so I had to snap the picture before he closed up.
TIP: If you have a sand crabitiat, put rocks around the pools to prevent the hermies from dragging in sand with them. It comes off their feet when they crawl over the rocks to get in. :)
This third one is my favorite,(best for last) home of three crabbies. It took a little while, but I found a design I liked, that they would to, similar to the one above. I took the piece of driftwood from the second picture and buried one side in the sand, and leaned the other end on the hollowed climbing/shelter log. My brother's E seems to enjoy it! I added in a homemade palm tree to the left and kept the bath corner exactly the same. Compare pictures...
Placement: Your hermit crab cage needs to be between 75 and 85 degrees F constantly. You should not put your crabitat infront of a window or infront of a heater. However, it should not be kept on the floor either.
Tips and Ideas: Your hermit crabs do best in groups of three or more. So, you need to make your crabitat comforable to fit three, four, five, or more! Here are some tips: