Do Hermit Crabs Live In Water

 Do Hermit Crabs Live In Water


Do Hermit Crabs Live In Water: Hermit crabs, fascinating creatures of the marine world, are renowned for their unique lifestyle, but the question that often piques curiosity is, “Do hermit crabs live in water?” To unravel this intriguing aspect of their existence, we must delve into the intricacies of their habitat and behavior.

While hermit crabs are indeed associated with water, it’s essential to understand that they are not fully aquatic creatures like fish or dolphins. Instead, hermit crabs belong to a group known as “semi-terrestrial” animals. This means that they require a combination of both aquatic and terrestrial environments to thrive coral reefs.

Hermit crabs start their lives as tiny larvae in the ocean, where they undergo various developmental stages. As they mature, they transition to a life on the ocean floor, predominantly in shallow waters, which is why many people associate them with aquatic environments. However, this is only one phase of their life.

Do Hermit Crabs Live In Water

Do hermit crabs like sand or water?

Sand is the substrate of choice for hermit crabs because they like to burrow down into it.

Hermit crabs have a complex relationship with both sand and water, as they require both elements for their survival and well-being. Their preference for sand or water depends on their specific needs at different stages of their life cycle.


  • Substrate: Hermit crabs often dwell on sandy shores or beach areas. They use sand as a substrate to bury themselves and seek shelter.
  • Protection: Sand provides a natural hiding place for hermit crabs. They dig burrows in the sand or hide beneath it to protect themselves from predators and harsh environmental conditions.
  • Nesting: Female hermit crabs may bury their eggs in the sand, providing a safe environment for their offspring to develop.


  • Respiration: Hermit crabs have gills, and these respiratory structures require moisture to function properly. They periodically return to water to keep their gills moist and facilitate oxygen exchange.
  • Hydration: Hermit crabs need to stay hydrated, and they may dip into shallow water or use moist sand to drink and replenish their body’s moisture levels.
  • Reproduction: Hermit crab larvae start their lives in the water, where they undergo various developmental stages before transitioning to a more terrestrial existence.

Hermit crabs have a dual dependency on both sand and water. Sand provides them with shelter, protection, and nesting opportunities, while water is essential for respiration, hydration, and reproduction. Their preference for sand or water varies depending on their specific needs and life stages, highlighting their adaptability to a variety of coastal environments.

How long can hermit crabs live in water?

Hermit crabs can go underwater for a post-molt soak for 5-1hr cycles underwater. They will regularly come up for a breath or 2 because they can not hold their breath for 1 hr as many people say!

Hermit crabs, although primarily terrestrial creatures, have the ability to survive in water for varying periods, but the duration largely depends on several factors, including the species, their age, and environmental conditions.

In general, hermit crabs are not built for extended underwater living. They have gills that need to remain moist to facilitate respiration. When submerged, their ability to breathe through their gills allows them to extract oxygen from the water. However, prolonged exposure to water can stress and harm them.

The amount of time a hermit crab can spend underwater varies among species. Some hermit crabs, like the Coenobita species, are known to be more tolerant of water and can remain submerged for longer periods compared to others. These crabs often live in coastal areas with high humidity and readily accessible water sources.

The age of the hermit crab is another crucial factor. Young hermit crabs, with their more delicate exoskeletons, may be more susceptible to water-related stress than older individuals.

Environmental conditions also play a significant role. Factors such as water quality, temperature, salinity, and the availability of suitable shells can influence how long a hermit crab can survive in water.

Hermit crabs can survive in water for varying durations, but they are not true aquatic animals and have specific adaptations to tolerate water temporarily. Their ability to do so is influenced by species, age, and environmental factors, making it challenging to provide a precise time frame for how long they can live underwater.

Can hermit crabs live in water?

Land hermit crabs live close to the shoreline and must have access to both land and water. They use pools and crevices of sea water to wet their gills and the interiors of their shells, and they reproduce and spend their early stages in water. Other hermit crab species are entirely aquatic.

Hermit crabs are fascinating crustaceans with a unique relationship with water. While they are often associated with terrestrial environments due to their semi-terrestrial lifestyle, hermit crabs are not exclusively land-dwelling creatures. Instead, their existence is intricately connected to both land and water.

Hermit crabs begin their lives as tiny larvae in the ocean, where they undergo several developmental stages. During this phase, they are fully aquatic, relying on the ocean for nourishment and growth. However, as they mature, they make the transition to a semi-terrestrial existence.

Adult hermit crabs seek out empty seashells to use as portable homes, providing them with protection and shelter. These shells are typically found on land, often near the water’s edge. While hermit crabs spend most of their time on land, they maintain a strong connection to water for various essential activities.

Hermit crabs require water to keep their gills moist, facilitating respiration. They also periodically return to the water to drink and rehydrate their gills, ensuring their survival. Thus, while hermit crabs primarily inhabit terrestrial environments, they remain dependent on water for their overall well-being, highlighting their unique adaptation to a life that bridges both land and sea.

What do hermit crabs drink?

Two types of water needs to be provided at all times for your hermit crabs. Have fresh water in one bowl for drinking, and in another bowl have sea water for bathing. Sea water can be made up with Hermit Crab Salt and water (follow the measurements on the packet for the correct ratio).

Hermit crabs are primarily marine creatures, and they typically obtain their needed moisture from the seawater in their habitat. They are known to have specialized gills that allow them to extract oxygen from the surrounding water, and in the process, they also absorb some moisture.

In captivity, where hermit crabs are often kept as pets, it’s crucial to provide them with access to both fresh water and salt water. Fresh water is essential for drinking and maintaining their internal moisture levels. to drinking, hermit crabs use fresh water for other activities, such as grooming and wetting their gills.

Providing clean, chlorine-free water in a shallow dish within the hermit crab enclosure is essential to meet their hydration needs. The water should be changed regularly to ensure its cleanliness and quality, hermit crabs will also appreciate a separate dish with marine-grade salt water for bathing and replenishing their salt balance.

Maintaining proper hydration is critical for the health and well-being of hermit crabs, both in their natural habitats and when kept as pets, as it helps them regulate their bodily functions and molt successfully, ensuring they can grow and thrive.

Can crabs stay alive out of water?

However, unlike fish, blue crabs can survive out of water for long periods of time-even over 24 hours-as long as their gills are kept moist. When out of water, crabs will seek out dark, cool, moist places to help prevent their gills from drying out and to hide from predators.

Most crabs are adapted to living in aquatic environments, and their ability to survive out of water varies depending on their species and adaptations. Here are some key points to consider:

Terrestrial Crabs: Some crab species are fully terrestrial and have adapted to life on land. These crabs, like the coconut crab and land hermit crab, have evolved to breathe air and can survive well away from water. They have specialized respiratory structures (branchiostegal lungs) that allow them to extract oxygen from the air.

Intertidal Crabs: Many crab species are intertidal, meaning they live in the areas where land meets water. They can survive both underwater and on land for varying periods. These crabs have adaptations like gills that can retain moisture and tolerate exposure to air during low tide.

Aquatic Crabs: Crabs that are primarily aquatic, such as blue crabs and king crabs, are less adapted to being out of water. While they can briefly survive out of water, they are not well-suited for prolonged exposure. Their gills need to remain moist to function effectively.

Whether crabs can stay alive out of water depends on their species and their specific adaptations. Terrestrial and intertidal crabs are better equipped for survival on land, while purely aquatic crabs are more vulnerable and require a return to the water relatively quickly to maintain their health and well-being.

Is it safe to touch a hermit crab?

It is perfectly fine for you to hold your hermit crabs. However you have to respect the crabs’ ability to pinch. They are in fact CRABS and most people associate crabs with claws. The key thing to when you are holding your hermit crabs is to not take your eyes off of them.

Touching a hermit crab can be safe, Hermit crabs are generally gentle and non-aggressive, and they are unlikely to harm humans. However, there are some considerations to keep in mind:

Shell Protection: Hermit crabs use empty shells as portable homes, and they can retract into these shells when they feel threatened. Handling them roughly or disturbing their shells can stress them out or damage their delicate bodies.

Stress Sensitivity: Hermit crabs can be sensitive to changes in their environment and handling. Picking them up too frequently or roughly can stress them, which may lead to health issues or a decrease in their overall well-being.

Proper Handling: If you do decide to handle a hermit crab, it’s essential to do so gently and with clean, moist hands to avoid harming them or disturbing their natural moisture levels.

Handwashing: After handling a hermit crab, it’s a good practice to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water to remove any potential bacteria or oils from your skin that could be harmful to the crab.

Avoid Wild-Caught Crabs: It’s advisable to choose hermit crabs that have been raised in captivity rather than those collected from the wild. Captive-bred hermit crabs are typically healthier and less stressed.

It can be safe to touch a hermit crab as long as you handle them gently and with care. However, it’s crucial to consider the well-being of the crab and minimize stress during any interactions. it’s best to admire and appreciate these fascinating creatures while respecting their natural behaviors and habitats.

Do baby hermit crabs live in water?

Hermit crabs can live 40+ years. They begin their life in the ocean then adapt to live the rest of their life on land.

Baby hermit crabs, often referred to as hermit crab larvae, begin their lives in the water. Their early stages of development are fully aquatic, and they rely on marine environments for survival. Here’s a closer look at the life cycle of hermit crabs:

Larval Stage: Hermit crabs start their journey as tiny, free-swimming larvae in the ocean. During this stage, they are planktonic, drifting with the currents. They have specialized structures for swimming and feeding in the water.

Metamorphosis: As hermit crab larvae grow and develop, they undergo a process known as metamorphosis. During this transformation, they go through significant changes in their body structure and behaviors to prepare for their transition to a more terrestrial lifestyle.

Transition to Land: After metamorphosis, juvenile hermit crabs settle on the ocean floor, typically in shallow, intertidal zones. Here, they begin their semi-terrestrial existence by searching for empty seashells to use as protective shells. These shells serve as portable homes throughout their lives.

Semi-Terrestrial Life: Once they have found suitable shells, hermit crabs predominantly live on land, although they maintain a close connection to water. They periodically return to the water to maintain moisture levels in their gills and reproduce.

Baby hermit crabs initially live in water as larvae, where they go through a planktonic stage. After metamorphosis, they transition to a semi-terrestrial life on the ocean floor, where they find shells and continue their life cycle, relying on both land and water for different aspects of their survival.

Do Hermit Crabs Live In Water


The question, “Do hermit crabs live in water?” reveals the complex and multifaceted nature of these fascinating creatures’ existence. Hermit crabs, while closely associated with aquatic environments due to their larval and juvenile stages, do not exclusively live in water. Their lives are a delicate balancing act between the ocean’s edge and the land.

Hermit crabs showcase remarkable adaptability, transitioning from a free-swimming existence in the ocean as larvae to a semi-terrestrial lifestyle as adults. They rely on the water for breeding and early development, crabs serves, and they venture onto land to seek out seashells for protection and shelter.

In our quest to understand the natural world and appreciate its intricacies, the story of hermit crabs serves as a reminder of the remarkable diversity of life on our planet. Their ability to navigate two distinct worlds illustrates the resilience and adaptability of nature. As we continue to explore and conserve our environment, let us ensure that these incredible creatures continue to find their place both in the water and on the land.

Related post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *