Consider a hermit crab if you want a new and unique pet. Did you know that hermit crabs make excellent pets? It may be an unconventional pet choice, but a hermit crab is easy to own. The only downside is how much it may cost to maintain this odd pet choice.
It may surprise you that there are many hermit crab owners. That is why stores sell them and provide the necessary support to take care of them. The reason you will need help with maintaining a hermit crab is that they are high-maintenance. But they are relatively cheap to buy.
This article discusses the cost of buying a hermit crab and maintaining it. You will also learn the factors affecting the overall cost of owning and keeping a hermit crab.
What Is the Cost of a Hermit Crab?
Hermit crabs do not cost a lot to buy. A new hermit crab will cost between $2 and $45 to buy but keeping it is different. You must ensure you have the time, patience, and capacity to care for the crab before buying it. Otherwise, it will pine away and die.
The size of a hermit crab significantly affects its cost. If it is a small one, you may not spend more than $5 or less to buy it. There are four standard hermit crab sizes: extra large, large, medium, and small. The larger the crab, the more expensive it is. A large one may cost between $10 to $15.
You must also consider the crab species because all species have different prices. The cheapest you may find is the Atlantic Hermit Crab, which may cost as low as $5, regardless of the size.
The Strawberry Hermit Crab costs the most of all the species, coming in at about $39 for the larger sizes. In other words, if the crab is a rare species, it will cost you more to buy it than if it is a common species.
Here are some hermit crab species commonly sold in the U.S market and what they cost:
- Atlantic Hermit Crabs: Sells for as low as $4.99. The large ones may sell for $9.99.
- Ecuadorian Hermit Crabs: Sells for $9.99, but you may buy the large ones for $14.99.
- Indo Hermit Crabs: Sells for $14, but the smaller ones may cost about $9.99.
- Blueberry Hermit Crabs: Sells for about $25, but you can get them at a lower price if they are small.
- Strawberry Hermit Crabs: One of the most expensive on the market, you may buy them for as high as $40 or as low as $20 for a medium hermit crab.
What Affects the Cost of a Hermit Crab?
Several factors affect the cost of a hermit crab. If you are new to having one, knowing what it entails is crucial.
While a hermit crab is relatively cheap to buy, it is not so cheap to maintain. The first thing you must know is that hermit crabs do not survive alone. If you pick one as a pet, it will probably die of loneliness because hermit crabs are social creatures.
So, it helps to have more than one to increase their chances of survival. However, that also means you will spend more on feeding and general maintenance, although the cost difference will not be much. A few of the maintenance aspects that the increase in crab numbers does not affect include:
- Controlling the climate where they live
- Where to house them
- Dechlorinators to use in the water
- General supplies
If you buy more than one hermit crab, the cost of the above aspects remains the same as having only one crab. Therefore, you may want to consider buying three or four at once to ensure they survive.
The amount of food you will need to feed them will increase, but the good news is that hermit crabs do not eat a lot. Also, you will need artificial shells for when they need to change their shells. Nevertheless, the cost increase is only marginal, so it may not significantly affect your budget.
2. Importation Region
You will find hermit crabs in different regions of the world. If you are within the United States, some species are local to you. As a result, they may not be as expensive as when the crab is an imported species.
Of course, that depends on the particular species as discussed before. Some are more expensive than others, even if they are locally bred within the country. You will find hermit crabs in various habitats and colors, with different personalities.
Some of the regions where you will find these crabs include the Pacific Islands and the Carribbean. They are also abundant in South America, Ecuador to be specific, and Eastern Asia.
The farther the region is from where the crabs come, the more expensive it is likely to be. The same is true if the region is more isolated than others. It makes the crab more exotic than others and increases its value. There are numerous species of hermit crabs from all over the world.
But the most likely areas you will find them in abundance include South America, particularly Ecuador, and Eastern Asia. you will also find them in the Pacific Islands and the Caribbean. The farther away from you the region is, the more expensive the crab becomes.
It does not matter whether or not it is the common one that costs less when you buy it from within the country. And if the crab is from an exotic region, the cost increases even more.
3. Crab Species
Another crucial and cost-determining factor of a hermit crab is the particular species within your sight. Typically, there are more than 800 species worldwide, but most of them are in the ocean. Only a few hermie species, about 12 of them, live on land and go to the water from time to time.
Fortunately, hermit crabs are not an endangered species. So, getting them is not difficult. The only snag is if you want a hermie that is not commonly sold.
In such a case, the price of buying one may increase by a slight margin. The same applies if that species requires special living conditions and treatment. Then, the cost may significantly increase.
4. Number of Crabs
A vital factor affecting how much a hermit crab will cost to buy and maintain is the number. As mentioned, a hermit crab does not thrive alone. It needs to have other crabs living with it because it is a social creature. Therefore, it is recommended to buy more than one at a time.
However, you may spend less for more if you buy in bulk. Some pet stores sell hermit crabs in bulk, and they are more than willing to reduce the price. If you buy small hermit crabs, it will not cost you too much to feed and maintain them.
Ensure you buy the pets from a store that carefully cares for the crabs. Otherwise, they may die within a short period due to a lack of proper care, which would be a waste of money. In addition, do not buy painted or shiny hermit crabs. The paint or glue will make them sick, and you will have unhealthy crabs in your care.
5. Number of Shells
Hermit crabs are peculiar creatures because they change shells. As they grow bigger, they must leave their old shells and find a home in new ones. Since they do not grow new shells, you must provide them as their owner.
It is not difficult for hermit crabs to swap shells; some experts may even say they find it to be fun. But if you have several crabs, you must buy multiple shells to leave them with options. These pets look for specific details in shells before they settle for one.
And if you do not give them options, they may go without shells, endangering their lives. Consequently, this aspect will affect the overall cost of buying and keeping hermit crabs. Fortunately, you can buy in bulk to lower the price.
6. Tank Choice
Owning several hermit crabs is great, but it also means you will need a large tank to accommodate them, especially since they need spacious enclosures. One hermit crab tank may cost you as much as $17, some costing as high as $35.
You may even find top-quality hermit crab tanks selling for $100. The bigger and more sophisticated the hermit crab habitat is, the more expensive it is likely to be. You must also consider the substrate to use in the tank.
If you make the substrate deep, the tank has to be spacious enough to accommodate it. Sand is the best substrate because it mimics their natural habitat, although there are other options. However, if you use sand, you must create enough space to hold it.
7. Food and Water
While it is great to spread hermit crab food on the sand for the crabs and make a puddle of water for drinking, it is not the best practice. You will need a fresh food dish and a separate water dish. These may cost you about $14 and $6 respectively.
Next, consider the type of water you put for them. Hermit crabs do not fare well in freshwater, so you will need salt water or dechlorinated water. For that, you will need a few gallons of aquarium-standard salt or a de-chlorinator, which will cost you money. Aquarium-standard salt costs money, while a de-chlorinator is a one-time purchase.
The cost of a hermit crab is relative. If you want to purchase one, it may cost you only about $5, depending on the species and size. But that is not where it ends. You must take care of it, which entails food, fresh water, a special hermit crab enclosure tank, substrate, and extra shells.
The long-term cost of a hermit crab exceeds the one-time costs of buying one. Since buying them means owning pet hermit crabs, it is crucial to calculate the overall cost of taking care of them properly.