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Foraging For Foods & Decor - What's Safe/What's Not

When Foraging for your own flowers, leaves and woods to place inside your tank for your crabs to eat or play on, it's important to know what's safe and what's not. Not everything you grow in your own garden is safe for Hermit Crabs.


What To Avoid

Despite a flower, leaf or wood being on the safe list, it doesn't always mean it's safe. The biggest thing to look out for is pesticides and chemicals. These make safe foraging items unsafe.


When looking for Flowers, avoid store brought flowers from florists or supermarkets. These are sprayed with pesticides and chemicals to make them last longer and are not meant to be eaten by humans or animals.


Avoid woods that have been treated with oils, pesticides or other chemicals to make them last longer. When thinking about foraging foods and decor items for your tank, you want to go as natural as possible.


Sourcing Safe Items

The very best place to source safe flowers, leaves and wood is in your very own backyard. You can grow your own trees and flowers, and without treating them with chemicals, you know they are safe to use. If you decide to go exploring in your town for foraging foods, make sure you are aware of what has been sprayed with chemicals. Often local flowers and trees in your town will have been treated with some form of chemical by your local council to support the growth and prevent the decline in the way the plants and trees look.


The key thing to remember is, if you are unsure, don't use it.


Common Pesticides Used

  • Herbicides - Used to kill or control weeds and unwanted vegetation.

  • Insecticides - Used to kill or control insects.

  • Fungicides - Used to control fungi.


Florists Flowers - Florists will commonly use chemicals to preserve flowers and prevent wilting. These make flowers unsafe to be consumed by humans and animals. Common ingredients include dextrose, bleach, spirits, acid, antibacterial agents, sugar etc. These should be avoided at all costs.


If you cannot grow your own foraging items, the best place to look for flowers and leaves is through a certified organic supplier. Someone who sells their items for human consumption, otherwise purchase leaf litters and flower mixes through reputable hermit crab food stores. If it's not safe for us to eat or drink, it's not safe for your crabs. A good place to source natural and safe wood is through your local aquarium. Woods that are used in aquariums are unlikely to be treated and can be used in your tank, as long as they are on the safe wood list.


Preparing Flowers, Leaves and Wood

All flowers, leaves and wood should be washed thoroughly before using in your tank. This removes any nasty creepy crawlies and anything else unwanted that may be lingering. You can offer flowers and leaves dried or fresh, keeping in mind that fresh flowers and leaves will wilt and mould quickly in the high humidity. Wood can be baked in the oven on a low setting to remove any unwanted bacteria. We also recommend soaking your natural wood in a marine saltwater bath and leaving it in the sun to dry before placing it inside your tank. This will prolong its life and prevent moulding from the moisture.


Alternative Tank Decor

Alternatively, you can use fake plants and woods inside your tank. These are safer and prevent the possibility of them moulding. Reptile and fish tank fake plants, hides and woods are a good alternative.


List Of SAFE Foraging Items


Safe Flowers -

Burning Bush

Butterfly Pea Flower

Calendula Flowers

Camellia

Carnation

Chamomile

Chickweed

Cornflowers

Daisies

Elderberry Flowers

Hibiscus Flowers

Hollyhock Flowers

Honeysuckle Flowers

Jasmine

Lilac

Milk Thistle

Pansies

Passionflower

Peonies

Petunia

Prickly Pear

Rosehip

Roses

Sunflowers

Tulips

Viola

Violet


Safe Leaves -

Air Plants

Alfalfa

Basil

Catappa Leaves (Indian Almond Leaves)

Clover

Dandelion Leaves

Fennel

Hazel Leaves

Mango Leaves

Maple Leaves

Marshmallow Leaf

Mint

Oak Leaves

Parsley

Passionflower Leaves

Raspberry Leaf

Rooibos

Rose Leaves

Sunflower Leaves

Sycamore Leaves

Tree Fern


Safe Wood -

Acacia Gum

Ash Wood

Aspen

Bamboo

Birch Wood

Cholla Wood

Cork Bark

Driftwood

Grapevine

Mangrove

Madrona Wood

Maple/Japanese Maple

Mopani Wood

Oak Bark/Wood

Pecan Bark/Wood

Swamp Cypress Wood

Willow


List Of UNSAFE Foraging Items


Unsafe Flowers -

Azalea

American Hellebore (Indian Poke)

Autumn Crocus

Bird Of Paradise

Bluebonnet

Bottlebrush

Buttercup

Cardinal Flower

Chrysanthemum

Clematis

Columbine

Crown Of Thorns

Daffodil

Delphinium

European Pennyroyal

Feverfew

Foxglove

Geranium

Green Hellebore

Hemlock

Hydrangea

Iris

Kalanchoe (Widows Thrill)

Lantana

Lily

Magnolia

Marigold

Mayweed

Milkbush

Morning Glory

Mustard Plant Flowers

Oleander

Oxeye Daisy

Peace Lily

Periwinkle

Prunus Flowers (Apricot, Bitter Almond, Laurel, Nectarine, Peach, Plum)

Stargazer Lily

Tansy

Verbena

Vinca

Yarrow

Windflower

Wisteria


Unsafe Leaves -

African Violet Leaves

Avocado Leaves

Bay Leaves

Boxwood

Carnation Leaves

Citrus Leaves

Dill

Eucalyptus

Fleabane

Golden Pathos (Devils Ivy)

Ivy (all types)

Juniper Leaves

Lavender

Lemon Balm

Lemon Grass

Lucky Bamboo

Mistletoe

Mustard Plant Leaves

Palm Leaves

Pencil Tree Cactus

Peppermint

Philodendron

Pine Leaves

Prickly Juniper

Prunus Leaves (Apricot, Bitter Almond, Laurel, Nectarine, Peach, Plum)

Red Emerald

Rosemary

Sago Palm

Sansevieria

Schefflera

Sweet Flag

Tea Tree

Thyme

Willow Leaves

Wormwood

Yew


Unsafe Wood -

Alder Bark

Apple Wood

Black Locust

Boxwood

Cedar Wood

Cherry Wood

Citrus Branches

Cyprus

Eucalyptus

Evergreen Wood (Pine, Cedar, Juniper)

Hemlock

Mango Wood

Prunus Branches (Apricot, Bitter Almond, Laurel, Nectarine, Peach, Plum)

Red Wood

Walnut Wood

Wisteria Branches

Yew


Couldn't find what you were looking for on our list? Make sure you do thorough research through reputable recourses such as LHCOS, Crab Street Journal and Crab Central Station. If you cannot find information claiming that something is safe or unsafe, it is best not to risk it at all.

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