The Life of a Hermit Crab without Shell

White & Red Hermit Crab Walking

This article will discuss the hermit crab that does not have a shell on its back. You will learn about the importance of the shell to this specific crab’s survival. We will discuss the factors that become a reason for changing shells, and the problems hermit crabs without shell face are essential points to discuss.

About Hermit Crab

A crab from the families Paguridae and Coenobitidae is a hermit crab. For partial containment and bodily protection, these crabs employ empty snail shells (like whelk or periwinkle) or other hollow items as shelter. Without a protective shell, which their bodies lack, they are incredibly susceptible to predators.

Hermit crabs are found in sand or mud-bottomed marine environments, occasionally on land and in trees.

Problems with Hermit Crab without Shell Face

a person holding a small hermit crab

A hermit crab exoskeleton will become excessively dry and brittle without a shell, making it more susceptible to outside elements. Before their health deteriorates, crab owners can assist in finding new homes for their pets.

Other than this, shells are security for hermit crabs. When crabs are hidden in the shells, they find themselves safe from other life-threatening factors. In other words, we can say that a shell is a guarantee for the life of specific crabs.

The Significance of a Shell for Hermit Crab

A shell is a home for hermit crabs. Hermit crabs require these shells to prevent excessive water loss from their bodies. Hermit crabs are distinctive in that they need to locate and utilize another animal’s shell. This “borrowed” shell is carried around by a hermit crab, which uses it to protect its fragile abdomen and to contain and control moisture.

7 Reasons for Hermit Crabs to Change Their Covers

a hermit crab on the sand

There are many reasons for them to change the covers. But, we will tell you about the 7 reasons hermit crabs leave or change their shells.

1. For Protection

Hermit crabs are nocturnal creatures that carry their homes on their backs like snails. Hermit crabs utilize an old animal shell, like a sea snail, instead of creating their own, as snails do. When threatened, the hermit crab can withdraw into its body. When a hermit crab outgrows its shell, it will look for one that is larger and quickly climb out of the smaller one and into the new one.

2. Universal Substitution

The Hermit Crab may occasionally notice something that, in their opinion, would be a better suit for them than the current one. When that happens, they leave their current shell and enter the new one. However, this procedure happens immediately and in a very brief period.

3. Change in size

If you own a hermit crab, you presumably know they have a 15–20 year lifespan. They enlarge as a result, but their shell does not. Therefore, they must get rid of it and replace it with a larger one. It is comparable to how humans get a new wardrobe as our sizes change.

4. Invasion from within their shell

Another explanation could be that something alien has gotten stuck inside the shell. It can be a mite-like parasite, a bacterial or fungal infection, or even tiny gravel fragments. The crabs may become so bothered by this that they must depart and look for another place to live.

When necessary precautions are not followed, this occurs most frequently. Clean water and healthy food can help your crab avoid infections by keeping them at bay.

5. Searching for a better environment

Making improper environmental settings is among the most frequent errors. It’s crucial to maintain the temperature and humidity in a specific range for the hermit crab to remain healthy. It is noted that hermit crabs find happiness in a good environment, and changes in the atmosphere are also a significant reason for these specific insects to change their shell constantly.

6. They might be ill.

Your hermit crab may have an illness or other condition. It frequently happens that they have diseases that will kill them. Shell rot is one of them; it leaves holes in the victims’ bodies and causes death.

Hermit crabs may even come out of their shells under these circumstances since it is unsettling for them to remain there. Additionally, because the temperature inside the body is warmer than the exterior, germs can grow abundantly there.

7. Pollution from microplastics

On the beaches, you could notice plastic debris all over the place. The crab’s choice of shell is impacted by microplastic contamination, as seen in this case. A crab might occasionally confuse a plastic object for a replacement, but they soon change it. As a result, choosing the appropriate house for protection becomes difficult.

Also, Read about 5 Fascinating Reasons Why Turtles Without Shells Won’t Survive


After reading these passages, we discussed a special kind of crab that does not have a shell on its back. Hermit crabs without shells are unique in their surroundings. They change their living places for many reasons, and some fundamental reasons are also discussed in the above reading. Hermit crabs require a shell for survival, and they cannot spend their entire lives without shells. Hermit crabs require proper care for their survival if we do not want this specific crab to disappear from the world.


Why do some hermit crabs not have shells?

When a growing crab needs to “trade up” its housing and exoskeleton to accommodate its bigger body size, shell evacuation occurs. It’s not a problem because this is only a normal process called molting. However, not every crab that sheds its shell is molting. A hermit crab may emerge from its cover due to stress, an unfriendly environment, an ill-fitting body, fungus, or uninvited visitors. It exposes the homeless crab quickly to its surroundings, which harms its health.

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