1. There needs to be enough sand, for them to burry, tunnel, and molt. We are going to be putting a little bit more sand in the cage.
2. Also, the sand in the cage must be moist and the air humid. That's why I like to use beach sand. Sand found not at the shore line, but a little higher up. It has to be somewhat coarse to stay moist. Think sand castle consistency.
3. I used a sifter to sift out debris, and any little rocks that would prevent them from tunneling. Children will enjoy sifting the beach sand for the hermit crabs.
4. Use all natural materials, or strong plastics for accessories or toys. DO NOT use metal, because of the humid temperatures they need, rust will seep out and cause harm to the hermits.
5. Make sure their water dishes have a sea sponge or rocks and sea shells at the bottom to prevent drowning. Do not get their eyes wet, they can drown. I always thought they lived in the ocean, but in fact the hermit crabs we have (Purple Claws) are land hermit crabs, that drink fresh water. Only use bottled water, to prevent chorine contamination. Tap water can effect their overall exoskeleton, make them uncomfortable, and cause cysts on their shells.
6. Have two different water containers, one for salt water, and one for fresh water. The salt water is for them to bathe themselves, and the fresh water is for drinking. NEVER use table salt, as it contains iodine.
7. Give hermit crabs a fresh diet, containing fruits and vegetables. Hermit crabs are omnivores. They eat both meat and vegetation. It is also important to have a source of calcium, from which you can boil eggs and give them the egg shells.
8. Some pet stores have their own hermit crab section. You can also find different objects you may need in the reptile department. However, they are not reptiles, they are crustaceans. They also DO NOT carry or transmit diseases like reptiles do, such as salmonella. This makes them a good pet for children, and they are also hypoallergenic. They won't cause a flair up with allergies, like cats or dogs.
I have highlighted some words to teach the children to promote vocabulary and to enhance their awareness and knowledge of their new pet!
Please check out Florida's Marine Research for more information on hermit crabs! They are a reliable source and update new information.