My kids are at an age where they are starting to ask if we can get a pet. ‘Please mummy we want a puppy dog!’
And I would love to buy them a little puppy. If I wasn’t a single, working mum living in a teeny house with a courtyard, who actually hates dealing with dog poo.
So – I did a little digging and heard out about a cute little pet that’s pretty low maintenance. And, wait for it – it’s a Hermit Crab. Yep, really.
A great first pet
According to India, hermit crabs are low maintenance. “Children can actually successfully look after them, rather than parents having to do everything, which is often the case with dogs and cats.”
Having a little pet like a hermit crab can be a really good learning experience for kids and build empathy too. “Observing and caring for a hermit crab instills a sense of responsibility and children understand that their behavior and actions directly affect others.”
Kids also learn that all living things need more than just food and water for survival, she adds.
How do you look after a hermit crab?
They are really simple to look after and there are 4 basic items for hermit crab care.
1. Feed your hermit crab every two to three days
2. Provide fresh water every two days
3. Refresh the salt water bath every three days
4. Make sure their enclosure is between 10-32 degrees
Feeding your hermit crab and providing fresh water will literally take anyone about 60 seconds, making them very easy to care for.
Also, in a win for parents, they create minimal mess and are odourless.
How long do they live for and what can go wrong?
“Their life expectancy can be anything from two to five years”. “Hermit crabs are very sociable animals and the more love, care and attention they receive, the happier they will be and the longer their life span.”
“Like humans, the cold temperatures in winter are when they are most vulnerable, so making sure they are warm is imperative,” she adds.
What kind of equipment and housing do you need for your hermit crab?
“All you need is their ‘habitat’ (enclosure), a food bowl a bowl for fresh water, a pool with salt water so they can have a swim, a little hut for them to climb under and sleep and something for them to climb on and have fun. While there is specially formulated food for them, they also eat most things, making them even easier to look after.”
And – one of their favorite treats is popcorn!