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How Long Can a Hermit Crab Live Without Food and Water?

As a pet hermit crabs are easy to care for, but a little difficult to keep them healthy. They have some unique characteristics of a hermit crab that you must know before adopting them as a pet. 

You might get worried if they don’t eat food or drink water. They have the survival capability that they can still be healthy without eating or drinking.

How long can a hermit crab live without food and water?

Without food and water, hermit crabs can live about two weeks. They remain healthy by storing food and water in their shells and moistening their gills. While molting or crabs are stressed or fed up with the same food they refrain themselves for a while from food and water.

It’s quite unknown exactly how many days hermit crabs live without food and water as they prefer eating food during the night. It’s not a cause for concern that your hermit crab hasn’t eaten for several days.

It’s not a sign of sickness; rather it’s a part of their nature that they keep them away from food and water for some days.

There are few reasons why crabs live without food and water. When the process of molting starts, or crabs are stressed they don’t take food. Moreover, if they’re tired of eating the same food daily, they don’t want to eat.

Also, Natural calamities or excessive noise and disturbances make them feel irritated and they don’t want to eat or drink. Another cause is, when there is a lack of salt water, they don’t get the proper smell and so they resist themselves from taking food.

Living without food for 3-14 days doesn’t affect their body very much. They have the natural survival capability that they can store water and nutrients to their shells.

As a result, though they subsist themselves from food and water, restoring water and nutrients in their body helps to moisten and gills and they remain healthy.

But if the crabs don’t take food and water for too long it can be a serious issue. They might get sick or even lose it life. Refusing to drink water for several days can be a very concerning behavior.

If their gills become very dry they feel suffocating and can’t breathe. So, they need water to hydrate their gills, to breathe properly and remain alive.

How often do hermit crabs eat food? How long can hermit crabs not eat for?

Hermit crabs normally eat once a day. They don’t require multiple times to eat in a day as they are little animals. Hermit crabs are nocturnal who sleeps during the day and prefer to eat at night.

Also, they are scavengers who can eat everything. They mostly eat vegetables, nuts, fish, meat, seeds, etc. as their daily food.

For up to two weeks, hermit crabs live without eating. It’s very normal for the hermit crabs to starve but they remain healthy. Because they have the ability to restore the water and nutrients that allow them to keep their body nourished.

When the process of molting starts or they are stressed and irritated, they deprive themselves from eating for several days.

How often do hermit crabs drink water?

Water is very essential for hermit crabs to survive. Hermit crabs drink water daily and it’s a sign of their sound body and health.

They can also store water in their shells to keep their gills hydrated constantly. They mostly drink salt water. But while bathing in the freshwater, they may also drink. 

Sometimes, they feel irritated and don’t want to take water for several days. It may be normal for a few days but if they refuse to take water for several days it can be very harmful. They need water to moist their gills and breathe safely.

There will be some warning signs of dehydration in hermit crabs like pale skin, lethargy or excessive digging. In worse conditions, for the lack of hydration, they feel very suffocating, can’t breathe and even lose its life.

How much food and water do hermit crabs need? 

Hermit crabs eat very little like 10 to 15 grams and very slowly as they are small creatures. They prefer eating varieties of food like different vegetables, nuts, colorful fruits, fish, meat as well.

But in human food they don’t get all the nutrients they require like cellulose, tannins etc. There is also some hermit crab food in powder or gel or pellet form containing all the nutrients they need. Small crabs only need 1 teaspoon of these foods.

Hermit crabs need water very often to keep them hydrated and breathe easily. So, they always need fresh and saltwater both in their cages. They choose which water they want to drink or the other for a bath.

Therefore, there should be two bowls in their cages, one containing fresh water and the other containing saltwater. Also, the bowls should be big enough so that the big crabs can also climb in it.

What does it mean if your hermit crab is not eating? 

There can be many reasons why the hermit crab is not eating. Though it’s a part of their not to eat for 3-14 days. But there must be some reasons like:

Molting Period:

It’s a stressful time for a hermit crab. During molting, they get under the substrate and refrain themselves from eating. Usually, hermit crabs eat and drink more before the molting period starts.

During this period, hermit crabs should not be disturbed as they might feel more stressed.

Insufficient substrate:

A lot of substrates are required for hermit crabs so that they can easily dig and burrow. 8-10 inches substrate is needed for the big crabs and 5 inches substrate is sufficient for the small crabs.

If the wrong or small amount of substrate is used, they become very stressed and uncomfortable and also, don’t want to take food.

Imperfect temperature and humidity:

The hermit crabs need a warm environment as they don’t survive in a cool environment. The temperature should be approximately 82°F and should not rise over 85°F.

Also, the humidity should be 75-80% in the cages. They eat less and become sick if they find an imperfect and uncomfortable environment.

Picky with food:

Hermit crabs are very picky with their food. They become fed up if the same food is given daily.

Their appetite and digestion depend on their mood. They might eat something one day, but the next day they don’t eat the same food. They enjoy colorfully and varieties of food.

Injured or sick:

Hermit crabs can easily get injured in tails or gills while moving quickly or digging. Also, fungal growth around its body can cause irritation. When they become sick, they stop eating until they heal. 

What are the signs of hermit crabs losing its life? 

Hermit crabs become very lifeless and inactive when they’re losing it’s life. They stop eating or drinking. They try to hide themselves and keep them separate from others. Here are some signs of hermit crabs losing it’s life:

Lack of movement:

The crabs become Inactive while they are sick and losing it’s life. They start to lose its strength and want to burrow or dig the substrate. They stop climbing up or even walking much. 

Losing legs continuously:

When hermit crabs are adjusting to a new environment, they normally lose one or two legs but when they are losing it’s life and become very sick, they start losing their legs very quickly and continuously.

Stop eating food:

If the hermit crabs are not eating for several days, you must be careful and notice if they are injured or seriously sick. Not eating food can be a sign of losing it’s life too. 

Stop drinking and bathing:

Hermit crabs need water to keep them hydrated and moist up their body. They enjoy bathing very much in freshwater. When a hermit crab is sick and losing it’s life, it keeps itself away from water as well.

Gill mites:

Gill mites are pink or reddish and bury into the gills of hermit crabs. They are noticeable when a hermit crab is seriously sick.

Hide in the shells:

Hermit crabs usually enjoy attention but when they are sick they hide themselves in their shells for a long period. They become lethargic and behave like lifeless.

Final thoughts:

Hermit crabs can survive two weeks without eating and drinking. Actually, they have the survival capability that allows them to store water and nutrients in their shells. When they feel irritated or become stressed, they refrain themselves from eating and drinking.