Animal Care/Land hermit crab bath
Bathing a crab
There are several ways to bathe a land hermit crab. Since crabs can drown, they must either be lifted out of the water or have a way to climb out on their own. Use room temperature, chlorine-free, chloramine-free, fresh or sea water.
- provide fresh and/or salt water dishes/pools large enough that the crab can bathe (and submerge itself) as desired,
- once a month gently put the crab into a tub of water (with a sloped sand substrate?) and let the crab walk around for a few minutes, or
- once a month submerge the crab (with shell opening up) until the crab comes out of the shell, but not long enough to drown the crab.
The latter method obviously has the potential to be very stressful and many owners no longer use it.
If bathing a hermit crab for the purpose of removing mites, a good way is to
- coax the crab out (with food or by misting with fresh water),
- aim into the shell and spray the crab with salt water (over a bowl of salt water to trap mites that jump),
- pour the water (and mites) out of the shell into the bowl, and
- when finished, pour the bowl into the toilet and add bleach be sure the mites are dead.
NOTE: Water stored in the shell ("shell water") helps to keep the crab moist. It may contain feces, but does not contain urine. Hermit crab urine is eliminated via glands at the base of the antennae, near the eyes.