Hermit crabs, like all crustaceans molt (split there skin), and grow a new one and get bigger. You know how a snake sheds its skin and under its old skin it has a beautiful new one. Well hermit crabs do just the same. But its more dangerous for a hermit crab to split its skin in the open so it often digs as far as it can in its tank and waits. But that’s just the beginning for your Hermit crab; you have to take care of your molting hermit crab as we’ll. Hears some hints of wane a hermit crab is near its molt.

  1. Look for a slit on its back. That is the new skin trying to brake through the old skin.
  2. Look closely behind one side near one pair of walking legs, if there is a small black blob then that’s the fat storing sac. It feeds on this fat when it’s molting.
  3. If the hermit crab is very slow and not moving very much it is probably getting ready to molt, or if your hermit crab is eating a lot that’s a sign too.
  4. If your Hermit crab is digging a lot or has dug a hole and it’s in it it’s probably getting ready to molt.

Hermit crabs don’t just molt under ground, some times a hermit crab will molt in the open, if this happens put it in a different cage, or cover it with a cup to protect it from other hermit crabs in the same cage. Now when a hermit crab has a successful molt it is all pink and soft and very vulnerable if it’s out in the open where other hermit crabs are. Now let’s say you wake up and go say good morning to your favorite hermit crab and pick it up, suddenly it drops out of its shell like it was dead

Before you start worrying look inside you hermit crabs shell, if there’s something pink and naked and is deep inside its shell, that’s your crab. It has molted and is just fine. Notice the thing that looks like a dead hermit crab, that’s its old exoskeleton. Well it now looks like you have some things to do for your molted crab, the first thing you want to do is put it and its exoskeleton in a different hermit crab free cage (remember Hermit crabs are cannibals when they find a vulnerable crab especially a freshly molted one and will kill and eat it). Now that your poor crab is in a safe cage, in order to keep it from dehydrating make sure the cage is humid but not too hot. Now it’s time to make a very nice place for your crab so it can harden and rest in peace (remember a hermit crab needs to fully harden in order for it to go back in its home).

Now before you put your crab in its molting cage put abut 5 inches of sand in the cage (if you have a large crab make it deeper) and mix it with water. Then make a deep hole and put your hermit crab in it now cover the hole with a paper towel this we’ll keep moisture in the hole the crab is in, now put a rock or some thing heavy on the paper towel but near the hole not on the hole, to keep the paper towel on the hole. Now that’s most of the work, there are just two more things you have to do. Every day pick up your molted crab and dip it in some warm water to keep it moist and healthy then mist the cage to keep it moist and humid, if you keep this up you well have a very happy and beautiful crab when its finished hardening.

Now things happen and sometimes hermit crabs die when they have molted so if it happened don’t think it was your fault, that’s just the way it goes. You may be sad, but be happy that you did your best for your crab. Now when your crab has hardened and is alive congratulate your self and look at your new beautiful crab. You my have noticed that your crab looks a little larger, that because every time a hermit crab molts it gets bigger. Also that usually means that your hermit crab needs to find a larger shell to fit in, but some times their old shell still fits well on them and they don’t have to change shells. But if your crab needs a new shell, get your crab out of its hole you dug and put some shells in its private cage so it can decide if it wants a new shell before you put it back in its home. It usually takes a month for the complete molt but the long wait is worth it. And after that long time of taking care of your hermit crab you well have a beautiful molted hermit crab.


42 Responses to Molting

  1. Maddie says:

    So in this, you say to pick it up evey day… but my question is, I have a hermit crab that just surface molted, and will the stress of picking him up kill him?

  2. Courtney says:

    i have a smaller crab that is recovering from a molt in a big shell. she locked herself up into the bigger shell, and all i can see is her legs. they’re just hanging there. i havent seen her move in over a week now. im starting to get worried. i dont think shes dead cause she hasnt fallen out of the shell.. is it possible for her to take wicked long to recover, than it was for her to actually shed her exoskeleton?

  3. Bryce says:

    That is why my hermit crabs died!

  4. Bryce says:

    Wait uhh…
    My hermit crabs died from a tiny bug
    that may cause diseases. But my first
    didn’t die from the diseases! And it
    didn’t even die! IT WAS MOLTING!

  5. lisa says:

    i need help!!!!
    this is my first time having hermit crabs i have two and have had them for about 6 months one of them was digging alot and i was curious so i was looking on websites about hermit crabs and some sites said they wil be dig a lot and go near the water for some reasons they were the SIGNS of a hermit crb molting and its limbs going white and that was all hapening to my hermit crab then a couple days later it wasnt as white and it was moving more,and i wasnt sure if it was molting that it could be sick…..but now it is just in its shell like normal but in a hole and isnt active as usual !!!! is he sick or in the process of moulting

  6. Ok, I need help. Yesterday, my sister’s Hermit Crab was found out in the open, all sprawled outta her shell, looking very dry, and very much dead. But how do I know for sure if her Hermit is just molting, or has died? She takes good care of her Crabs. And they have plenty to eat, and drink. Help!

  7. Isma'il says:

    My hermit crab molted on the surface. I saw when it was pink, it was moving. About a week later, it started to grow a shell. However, it’s no longer moving. It’s still on the surface, I’m scared to disturb it. What should I do? I don’t think its dead, because it doesn’t smell; and it’s still in the shell. HELP!!!😞😟😕

  8. Kerstin says:

    Mine is hard and pink and white and out of her shell and still no part of her body is moving I gave it water and food and excercise but I don’t know what’s wrong ?

  9. Amber regan says:

    Umm my hermit crab skeleton came out of its shell but its dead! there where no pink thing in there! Why was it dead

  10. britany garcia says:

    my hermit crab just stayed in the sand for about 5 weeks and came out of it right now. I thought it was molting but its still in the same shell why? I’m confused to what was it doing.

  11. britany garcia says:

    my hermit crab just stayed in the sand for about 5 weeks and came out of it right now. I thought it was molting but its still in the same shell why? I’m confused to what was it doing.

  12. Tawny Widen says:

    I shudder when I read that these beautiful creatures are in the hands of these incompetent people!

  13. Melanie says:

    I have a crab that was digging and burying for about a week. It kept coming up so I figured it wasn’t molting. This morning it was laying on the surface and it’s body is just about out of its shell. I saw it move it’s legs for a few seconds but it hasn’t moved in about eight hours (give or take). I put a 2L pop bottle over it and some water in a shell just in case. I guess I’ll wait a few days and see if it starts smelling before I take it out of the cage.
    I’m just curious……when they are surface molting, do they move at all?

  14. Erin says:

    I just got my hermits about a week ago they have been doing good till 3 days ago one of them haven’t moved in 3 days and was sitting on top the dirt under there log so I picked him up to check if he was ok and he is pale and barely moving I moved him closer to the water and later checked on him he is now hanging farther out of his shell and is still moving vary slowly is he going to be ok or is he sick I have 1 more week b4 I can’t take him back to the pet store so I need to know asap I hope he is. ok I have become attached to them all already

  15. Erin says:

    My hermit didn’t make it he was sick :’-(

  16. Tawny says:

    You never ever dig up or keep touching a molted hermit crab! You will kill it! Leave it alone unless it has done a surface molt then put it in a ISO tank with a towel covering it for darkness and leave it alone! Dont mist it,Dont pick it up Let it molt in peace! Sheesh some of this information is so wrong!

  17. bobby says:

    i think I killed my hermit crab.. I don’t know…. ok.. my daughter got crab as a gift from virgina almost a year ago.. it has been alone in tank doing great… my daughter decided last wk she wanted another from the pet smart.. so we got one.. a day later our old grab acted very funny.. it was his normal wkly soak day so we soaked him he didn’t look right.. usually he comes fully out he seemed wk… so I waited a two days.. but him in water again.. he didn’t come out.. he has not moved.. he has no reaction to touching his claw in center.. but does not fall out of shell and does not stink…. I picked him up a couple times to check him.. I just noticed the other crab messing with his shell so I just moved him out into a not forever if molting place… did I drounded my crab.. should I take him to pet smart will they know..also.. I have no idea how to get responses on her email is please someone one help… goolgle didn’t

  18. Danielle says:

    so my crab(king) of 4 years has molted for his 5th time 🙂 unfortunately i didnt notice the signs soon enough and he buried himself and was down for abt a month. well i think and am about %94 sure the another crab (kong) had found him and disturbed his molt bc king came back up and immidiatley buried himself only half way this time. idk this for sure but i think kong ate his exoskeleton 😦 now king is white/pink as can be and SO small… the sand and EE is sticking to him even! i have put him in a seperate tank for now w/ lot of calcium enriched foods and am just keeping it darn as can be but i am so scared he is going to die 😦 is there something else i should be doing for him?

  19. Anika Pruitt says:

    My hermit crab Goku has been barred for about two months.Just this morning we were really worried and we dug around the whole cage and finally found him.Before my mom,dad and brother got their crabs,goku loved to dig holes and brother got his first,then his crab started being mean after about a week.a month later,he was vary mom assumed he wanted more friends and bought two more crabs.we have had them for a while and we moved and we’ve been here for about three months and a month after we moved in,him and Blurkes,my dads crab,were diging a big hole by their house and we started byeing just sand instead of sand and dirt.after thay made the hole,Goku went In it and Yuga,my bros crab started to burry Goku and I asumed thay were helping him I found him and he does not smell and has hard sand allover him.when I went to Pensialvania,I bought him a bat man shell that was a little bit bigger.what should I do to help him?

  20. Hayden says:

    So my hermit crabs are both molting ones in its shell and ones out I put them both in different cages what do I need to make sure everything go’s well or what else do I need to do?

  21. Angela W. says:

    I would like to offer to you some information about your Molting Crabs. Crabs are fine if they molt, they do NOT need to be removed from their habitat. Also it is EXTREMELY dangerous to move a crab while it is molting. If you would like some excellent information I would love to have you in our group where we specialize in the species and offer the BEST care and foods possible.

  22. Skylar says:

    After a molt how long before I can touch him I don’t wanna scare him or kill him help please

  23. Ilovecats Ilovedogs says:

    My hermit crab is still in his shell and he’s white is he dead or molting?!?!

  24. Isabelle says:

    Please DONT pick up your crab or mist it every day, it’s very stressful for it. The best thing you can do is to leave it alone in a dark, separated tank. Other than that, the information in this article was great.

  25. Allyson says:

    The reason why I came to this website is because I woke up this morning went to go look at my 3 hermit crabs and I saw my favorite crab speedy’s exoskelaton which didn’t know at the time, his shell, and a squishy thing which I gently poked with a fork. I thought he was dead. My dad came and threw all the stuff except for the shell in the trash, never expierenced molting before. Then we took him back out and put him in an extra cage I had. He has water food shell and exo. in his cage.Saw him move today…Will he be okay? Also thx for writig article.

  26. JENNA says:

    Hey. I got my crab a couple days ago and so I’m new to this and scared he will die just from a miner mistake if I do one. Please help me 😥 I read that they can Easily lots of things even peanuts butter and he found a Biscuit and won’t let go of it can he eat them to? He also wants this piece of bread. And What do I do when he wants to change his shell. I have a bigger shell for him will he just automatically change? Or do I have to help him? And Should I have more then one shell? We only have one right now and I’m not even sure if it will be good enough for him, if he will be able to be big enough to fit in it

  27. Christina connors says:

    I have one that has been out of its shell for around a month and a half. It isn’t moving when I look in the cage, but when I go back to look it is moved. Not sure if it is her moving or the other crab. There are two extra shells in there, what should I do. Oh and there is no odor coming from the cage. Please help me

  28. My hermit crab molted and before she did you could tell she had grown so much and we’ve had 6 hermit crabs for about two years once passed away molted and dried out when we are out of town now this one Lavender is her name was way too big for herself she molted I separated her from the others and she is in her shell now that she has chosen but when can I put her back in society with her other crab friends

  29. Riley says:

    I just brought my hermit crab home from the store and it started to burrow itself under the substrate and I mostly know its molting but a small part of me wants to make sure its okay! Is there a safe way to check on my crab?

  30. Hermit crab lover says:

    Thank you for that information. I had no idea what to do with Turtle ( my hermit crab)

  31. Help Me says:

    Im about to get hermit crabs tomorrow. my cage is all set up and everything, but Im worried about when they molt. See, i dont have an Isolation tank. can I leave my crabs in the tank with each other even when one of them is molting? I wont get aggressive ones, but Im worried that they’ll eat each others exo-skeletons!!! Help!

  32. Avah umberger says:

    Omg, I have 3 hermit crabs and the one that I have now is being very slow , and like I think it is ready to molt. And my 2 other ones are 2 babies well one is like a couple months old and the other one is a baby it’s about as bigs as my Pinkey. But I’m just super afraid that my hermits crab the older one Isabella is dying cause she is being very slow? WHAT DO I DO PLEASE HELPP!!!!!!!!!!

  33. Avah umberger says:

    Help please!!!😩😩🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

  34. Avah umberger says:

    Like I really need as the most help I have had her 4 one year and she never molted please help please!!!

  35. Avah umberger says:

    So I went to go check on her this morning and she was like laying down in like a spot (IN HER SHELL) and she was like not smelly but she just seems very slow and not active someone please

  36. Sophia says:

    I need help I got my hermit crab Mis.Pinchers about 1year 1/2 ago. Now we think she is molting but the problem is that we only have pebbles no more than a centimeter deep last night I herd her diging and when I woke up she was just laying there on the surface of her cage not moving is she dead or just molting HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I love my hermit crab more than anything😓😓😓😦😦😦😟😟😟❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

  37. Casey says:

    My hermit crab molted and was fine the night before but when I looked the next morning there was limbs everywhere and he wasn’t in his shell I think it was only limbs from his exoskeleton though and is no where in sight I have no idea what happened do you know why?

  38. Holly says:

    I’ve had my crab for a year & he has dug a hole in his sand & the times I’ve taken him out he’s not active like normal. Also I keep his 10 gallon take moist,but I see some white stuff by his food & water so I get it out. Will that hurt or kill him if I don’t get it out?

  39. Aidan Goerges says:

    My hermit crab is kind of all just been waiting there with no show an open hole what should I do

  40. Jennifer Weir-Harden says:

    I made a huge mistake. I assumed a crabby died. But I discovered the pieces falling off. Well…they were the old exoskeleton. I quickly placed him back in the tank near his “pieces” I just abruptly shook off. I’m new to this pet. And have tried reading as much as possible. But I smelled something fishy. And thought one must have died. What can I do at this point?

  41. Miah says:

    This is terrible advice, do not do any of the above!

  42. Lindsey says:

    My hermit crab has been sitting around for about a week now. I think it may be surface molting?? His legs are poked out of his shell a little and they are really relaxed. I picked him up and he doesnt come out of his shell when hes on my hand. He stays just the same as when hes in his crabitat- legs poked out a little and relaxed. I know you’re not suppose to mess with them when you think they are molting but curiosity got the best of me.. Is he molting? Humidty and temp is stable and correct. Substrate is moist. No smell so I dont think he’s sick. My other one actually just went under today to molt. Do crabmates sometimes molt at the same time? Thanks for any advice I get. Im new to hermit crabs. Ive had my 2 for about 3 months now.

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