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Feeding From Your Pantry

Updated: Jul 7

Not a lot of people know that Hermit Crabs can and do eat a lot of items that we keep in our very own pantry, fridge and garden!

While we always recommend that you continue to feed your crabs high quality handmade mixes to ensure that their entire diet is covered and balanced, you can also offer them fresh and dried items from your very own kitchen. This works out well if you are currently waiting for food mixes to arrive in the mail, or you are on a very tight budget.

What to look out for in food packaging ingredients

• Preservatives

• Artificial Flavouring

• Artificial Colouring

• Pesticides

• Sulfides

• Additives

• Added Salt (Sodium Chloride)

• Added Sugar


• Artificial Sweeteners

• Chemicals

• Copper Sulfate

• Foods from the Unsafe Food List

So why do we need to avoid these food items for our Hermit Crabs? We all know that all of the above mentioned is not only not healthy for humans, but alot of it can cause adverse affects in our health. They are not natural items, therefore, they are not something that wild Hermit Crabs will encounter in their diet within the wild.

Certain additives, preservatives, flavours, sweeteners etc can cause ailment in Hermit Crabs. Being a natural scavenger, they will only eat all natural items that they find in the wild. If they consume these unsafe food items, it can lead to fatal consequences.

Some preservatives in foods can prevent Hermit Crabs from successfully shedding their exoskeleton, they can also stunt growth and do not aid in the overall health of your crab.

Sodium Chloride contains high levels of Iodine, too much Iodine in a Hermit Crabs diet can be poisonous.

Copper Sulfate is also known to be poisonous to Invertebrates.

Safe foods from your pantry

Natural Seeds - Chia Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Peptita Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Hemp Seeds, Poppy Seeds.

Unsalted Natural Nuts - Peanuts, Hazelnuts, Pecans, Pine Nuts, Cashews, Walnuts, Almonds, Pistachios.

Natural Whole Grains - Oats, Wheatbran, Physillium Husk, Millet, Amaranth, Brown Rice, Quinoa, Buckwheat, Wholemeal Pasta, Freshly Popped Popcorn (no salt or butter)

Natural Legumes - Lentils, Chickpeas, Black Beans, Kidney Beans.

Organic Natural Nut Butters - Ensure no additives, added sugars or salts etc.

Safe foods from your fridge

Organic Fruits - Apple, Orange, Banana, Pear, Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Watermelon etc.

Organic Vegetables - Carrots, Beetroot, Broccoli, Tomato, Mushroom, Zucchini, Pumpkin, Capsicum etc.

Eggs (Shell, Whites and Yolk) Must be cooked first.

Meat - Should be cooked first, and no added salts, marinades or spices.

Seafood - Should be cooked first, and no added salts, marinades or spices.

From your garden

Ensure all leaves and flowers are washed and have always been free from pesticides and chemicals. DO NOT use Florist flowers or leaves, these are sprayed with harmful chemicals to make them last longer.

• Rose Petals and Leaves

• Calendula Petals

• Blue Butterfly Pea Petals

• Hibiscus Petals

• Cornflower Petals

• Oak Leaves

• Maple Leaves

• Carnation Flowers

• Daisies

• Dandelion

• Lilac Flowers

• Pansy Flowers

Preparing foods for your Hermit Crabs

Ensure that everything you use is washed first to remove any nasties or bugs.

Purchasing organic only fruits, vegetables and meats ensures that there are no hidden nasties in your food.

Meats and seafood should be cooked prior to feeding. Do not use meat or seafood that is covered in spices, marinades or salts. Plain meat is safest. Cook using a Hermit Crab safe oil such as coconut oil, beef tallow, sesame oil, and olive oil. Or simply steam them or place into an airfryer with no oils until cooked.

You can either dice up their foods to be more of a bite size, or add them in whole or in larger chunks. I have noticed a strange pattern of some Hermit Crabs refusing to eat diced apples, but will absolutely go to town on an apple that has been cut into slices. Don't ask me why. They are very strange little creatures.

All fresh/cooked foods should be removed within 24 hours to prevent them going off and moulding. This will leave a very unpleasant smell within your tank.

I find the easiest way to offer fresh foods is when I am making dinner. I will offer my crabs the offcuts from any fruits, vegetables and meats that I am cooking.

You do not need to cook fruits or vegetables before feeding. However, harder vegetables may be easier to consume if they are cooked first. Such as Sweet Potato, Broccoli, Carrot, Pumpkin etc. To cook vegetables, you can either steam them, or boil them in water that contains no salt.

Unsafe food items found in your pantry and fridge

• Garlic

• Onion

• Bay Leaves

• Sugar

• Chocolate

• Candy

• Cinnamon

• Dill

• Peppermint

• Rosemary

• Table Salt

• Vanilla

• Thyme

• Sugar filled foods

• Cream

• Yoghurt

• Milk

• Ice Cream

• Cheese

• Cat Food

• Dog Food

• Stocks - Chicken, Beef, Vegetable

• Ginger

• Unsafe Spices (Paprika and Ceyenne are safe)

• Unsafe Herbs (Dill, Cilantro, Fennel, Mint, Parsley are safe)

• Coffee

• Avocado Leaves, Skin and Pit

• Catnip

• Eucalyptus

• Papaya Seeds

• Compost

• Deli Meat

• Biscuits

Fresh or Wrinkled?

People often wonder when feeding crabs fruits and vegetables if it all has to be as fresh as can be. Got some old apples that are starting to wrinkle, but have not yet moulded and you're wondering if that's okay? No worries! Your crabbies don't care about a few wrinkles. If the food is still edible (no present mould that you can see on the inside or outside) then you absolutely can give your withered produce to your Hermit Crabs. They don't mind.

Stay away from mouldy foods

We don't expect you to eat mouldy food, so why should your crabbies? If your food has visible mould (inside or out) it's best to just bin it. Always play on the cautionary side when it comes to what you feed your crabs. This is why we always recommend purchasing high quality pre made foods from a reputable Hermit Crab Food store.

At the end of the day, if you are unsure about an ingredient or food item and wether or not it is safe. It is best to just put it back. Its not worth the risk. And always remember to still offer your crabs their vitally important supplements such as Greensand, Worm Castings, Insect Frass, and a Calcium supplement.

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