What Are Hermit Crab Facts for Kids?


Quick Answer

A fact that children may be interested to know is that hermit crabs are not really hermits but are rather social animals. They interact and feed together with their kind in the wild. They received their name because they always carry their shells with them. Unlike other mollusks, they do not have their own hard shells and use a discarded snail shell as their home and for protection.

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Full Answer

Land hermit crabs are meticulous when picking their shells. Their desire to possess a nice shell can often lead to a hermit crab fight. They may tug on another hermit crab's shell and begin to rap, probe and rock the shell to determine if it's to their liking. They spend most of their life eating, socializing and looking for the perfect shell. Once they find one to their liking, they simply carry and enjoy it until they outgrow it or find another shell that fits their needs. Hermits crabs with shells too small for their bodies often cannot grow as fast and may be more likely to be eaten by their natural predators, which include sharks, fish, octopuses and squid.

Hermit crabs have a soft abdomen that requires ample protection. They also have flexible bodies that they can twist and fit inside the spiral shell of a snail. Like other mollusks, hermit crabs are omnivorous and eat just about anything that fits in their mouth, including plant materials and decaying or dead organisms.

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