Selecting the first family pet is always an exciting process, and as parents, we always consider the health and safety of our kids first to make sure whatever kind of pet we introduce to the family is a good choice. Sometimes it’s a cat, and other times a dog. Many families opt for the aquarium with fish you can’t really interact with. If you’re looking for a personable pet with loads of quirkiness that is safe and easy to care for, a hermit crab pet may be the best option.
When kids care for a pet, such as a hermit crab, they are learning the responsibility to care for an animal that completely relies on them, which is a fantastic experience for children. These crabs are fun, easy to care for, eat many of the same foods you already have in the home, don’t smell, and don’t create issues with allergies so frequently associated with pet hair of cats and dogs.
The first thing to teach your kids about hermit crabs is where they came from. These crabs are from warmer regions of the world, such as the Caribbean and other parts of the equator. This is important for them to understand so that they can make sure to provide proper environmental conditions for their crabs such as proper warmer temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees. You can use either a heating element attached to the bottom of the cage or a heating lamp on top of the cage. Make sure to supervise children when using heating elements.
It’s also important to have kids spray or mist the cage so the water evaporates, creating a humid environment. Kids will have fun daily spraying or misting the hermit crab pet tank.
You’ll find that the crabs enjoy eating common and healthy foods found in your pantry such as leafy lettuce and spinach, apples, grapes, strawberries, and even breads and certain kinds of meat and fish. Since your crabs are nocturnal beings, it is best to have the kids bring a sampling of fruits, vegetables, and grains cut in very small pieces each night for the crabs to enjoy. If you or your kids have a strong enough comfort level with your hermit crab pet (and if your little crab is comfortable enough with you), you can also hand feed them. They won’t hurt or pinch you as long as you’re careful.
When holding the hermit crabs in your hand, be sure to keep your hand flat and palm open. Don’t be squeamish or make sudden moves, as this would either scare the crab or give him a reason to pinch. If your crab does happen to latch on to your finger, simply put his legs on the ground so he can start walking and will naturally let go, or use a bit of lukewarm running water to have him release.
With a bit of care and attention, having hermit crabs as pets is a wonderful experience for you and your kids, and will give you years of enjoyment.