The Cost Of Owning A Hermit Crab

Hermit Crab April 29, 2020
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The Cost Of Owning A Hermit Crab

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The Cost of Owning a Hermit Crab

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance pet, the hermit crab could be a good choice.

These pets don’t take up a lot of space and you don’t need a lot to get started.

That being said, owning a hermit crab is the same as owning any other kind of pet – you’ll have certain responsibilities to keep up with.

Not only do you need to make sure your crab’s environment is clean and healthy, but you’ll need to provide a balanced diet as well.

The cost to get started with your hermit crab will be the most significant investment but your monthly cost shouldn’t be too high.

Here’s what you need to know about how much it costs to keep a pet hermit crab.

Bringing Home A New Hermit Crab – One-Time Costs

While the hermit crab may not be the most challenging pet to keep, there are certain things you’ll need to get started. You should have everything set up before you bring your new pet home.

Your hermit crab will spend the majority of its life in its enclosure, so it’s important to choose one that is the right size and to outfit it properly.

Other one-time costs include the decorations in the tank. You should think as well about start-up costs like food, substrate, and an initial vet visit.

Here’s what you need to know about one-time costs for pet hermit crabs:

Buying A Hermit Crab

When it comes to buying a hermit crab, you’ll find that they are generally priced by size. As they grow, hermit crabs move into larger shells, so the cost may depend on the type of shell as well.

Here are some of the most popular pet hermit crab sizes:

  • Small
  • Medium
  • Large

Generally speaking, hermit crabs sell for $3 to $25. Many pet stores sell hermit crabs and you can find them on just about any boardwalk near an ocean.

Another option to purchase hermit crabs is to buy directly from a breeder.

This gives you more options in terms of size and you may even be able to choose from different species. You may also be able the type of shell your hermit crab comes with.

You’re not likely to find a hermit crab at your local shelter, but it does happen from time to time. Another option is to check with a reptile or exotic pet rescue.

Prices will vary depending on the size of the crab and whether it comes with an enclosure or not.

Hermit Crab Cost by Size

Size Average Cost (Low) Average Cost (High)
Small $3 $10
Medium $5 $15
Large $5 $25

Supplies And Setup

Before you bring your pet hermit crab home, it’s important to have its cage set up.

Hermit crabs are tropical animals, so they require a warm and humid environment. A 10-gallon aquarium is adequate for two large crabs or several smaller ones. Just make sure it has a lid.

Another option is to choose a terrarium for your hermit crab tank. These are designed to retain heat and humidity but still provide ventilation and easy access with doors. The tank should be deep enough for your crabs to burrow in by several inches.

In addition to the tank, you’ll need to fill the tank with enough substrate for your hermit crabs to dig in. The ideal substrate for hermit crabs is sand, though coconut fiber works well to retain humidity too.

Other supplies you’ll need include tank lighting, a hiding place for your crabs, a sponge for water, and extra shells for the crab to grow into.

Your hermit crab lighting provides the additional benefit of heating the tank. Consider having one bulb for day use and one for night, especially knowing that hermit crabs are nocturnal. You don’t need a fancy setup, but make sure the light is approved for reptile use.

Aside from the cost of the tank, plan to spend $15 to $50 on additional supplies for your hermit crab with another $10 to $20 on substrate and initial food.

The final expense to consider as a new pet owner is your pet’s initial vet visit. Unfortunately, most veterinarians aren’t trained to treat hermit crabs and you’ll have a tough time finding one who is. If you can, you can expect to spend $50 or more on the visit.

Hermit Crab Supplies and Setup

Cost Type Average Cost (Low) Average Cost (High)
Cage $15 $75
Cage Supplies $15 $50
Initial Food and Substrate $10 $20
Spay/Neuter Cost N/A N/A
Initial Vet Visit/Vaccinations $50 N/A
Total = $40 to $145 (without vet exam)

Cost Of Hermit Crab Ownership – Annual Expense Breakdown

Once you’ve covered the start-up costs for your pet hermit crab, you need to think about what it’s going to cost on a monthly basis to keep him.

The most important think to think about is food. Your hermit crab needs a balanced diet to stay healthy and well. Fortunately, these little creatures don’t eat a lot so this won’t be a major expense. You should, however, consider additional costs such as substrate, additional supplies, and veterinary care.

Here’s what you need to know about annual costs for pet hermit crabs:

Annual Medical Expenses

Unfortunately, little is known about how to treat diseases in hermit crabs. Most veterinary schools don’t cover hermit crabs in depth, so the majority of veterinarians don’t know how to treat them.

If you are able to find a veterinarian who will see your hermit crab, you should expect to pay about $50.

The vet is unlikely to run any tests or to provide medications, but you may be able to get some general advice if you’re experiencing a problem.

Many pet owners purchase pet insurance to help mitigate the costs of taking their pet to the vet.

While some pet insurance companies offer plans for exotic pets, you’re unlikely to find one that covers hermit crabs. Even if you did, the cost to pay the monthly premium probably won’t be worth it.

Few veterinarians will see let alone treat a hermit crab and once your hermit crab gets to the point of needing emergency veterinary services, it may not live long.

Estimated Medical Costs for Hermit Crabs

Cost Type Frequency Average Cost
Veterinary Checkup Annual $50
Dental Cleaning N/A N/A
Vaccinations N/A N/A
Flea, Tick, and Worm Treatments N/A N/A
Emergency Expenses N/A N/A

Food And Supplies

The main expense you’ll have to cover as a hermit crab owner on an ongoing basis is the cost of food.

Your hermit crab will do quite well on a commercial hermit crab food as long as you supplement it with other fresh foods like fruits and vegetables. One container costs under $10 and should last you at least a month. You’ll only need to spend a few dollars on fresh foods.

In addition to food, set some money aside for additional supplies like new substrate if yours gets dirty (more likely with coconut fiber than sand). You may also need to buy replacement light bulbs and, once or twice a year, new shells.

On a monthly basis, you can expect to spend $10 to $20 with additional costs on occasion.

Food and Supply Costs for Hermit Crabs

Cost Type Frequency Average Cost
Food and Treats Monthly $10 to $15
Substrate Occasional $10
New Shells Twice Annually $10
Additional Supplies Monthly $5

Total Annual Cost Of Owning A Hermit Crab  

While it may only cost you a few dollars to purchase a hermit crab, you have to consider the cost to keep him healthy.

This means providing him with an adequate habitat and a healthy diet. You should also remember that hermit crabs are social creatures and do best in pairs or small groups.

Here’s a quick summary of the estimated annual cost for keeping a hermit crab:

  • Purchasing/Adopting = $3 to $25
  • Cage and Setup = $40 to $145 (without vet exam)
  • Annual Veterinary Costs = $50 (generally not required)
  • Monthly Food and Supplies = $15 to $20

These costs are estimates, so your expenses may be different. It really depends where you get your hermit crab and what type of enclosure you set up.

Once those initials costs are covered, however, your monthly expenses won’t be terribly high.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a hermit crab cost?

The average cost to purchase a hermit crab is about $3 to $25. The cost may vary depending on the size of the crab with larger crabs being more expensive. Price may also depend on the type of shell your hermit crab comes in and whether it has been custom designed.

How much does it cost to neuter/spay a hermit crab?

Hermit crabs cannot be spayed or neutered.

How much does a hermit crab vet checkup cost?

Most hermit crab owners choose not to take their pets to the veterinarian because there isn’t much point in doing so. Few veterinarians are trained in hermit crab care and they are unlikely to be able to help if the crab gets sick. If you’re able to find a vet that will see your crab, you’ll likely pay at least $50.

How much does it cost to microchip a hermit crab?

The cost to microchip a pet is usually a one-time fee of $35. This procedure is not recommended for hermit crabs, however, because the microchip is typically embedded under the skin on furry pets.

How much does hermit crab food cost?

Hermit crabs can follow a commercial diet that provides the optimal balance of nutrients. You can purchase a cannister for under $10 and it will last you a month or longer. You may also want to budget a few dollars a month for fresh foods like fresh fruits and veggies.

How much does a hermit crab cage cost?

The simplest cage for a hermit crab is a 10-gallon tank which is enough space for two large crabs or several smaller ones. If you want to get something a little better, go for a larger tank or choose a reptile terrarium. You can expect to spend $15 to $75 on a hermit crab cage.

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Kate Barrington is avid pet lover and adoring owner of three cats and one dog, her love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. She has been writing about pet care and pet products since 2010
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