Can Hermit Crabs Smell: Why Hermit Crabs Sometimes Stink

Yes, hermit crabs can smell or stink if not provided with proper care. Common reasons they smell are stress, overheating, waste buildup, molting, death, and spoiled food.

Various Situations Where Hermit Crabs Stink

When Hermit Crabs Smell Fishy

If you see your crab smelling fishy, do not touch it – it may be contaminated with parasites or bacteria that could make you sick. Monitoring your crab closely is the best way to detect changes in its behavior and health as the season progresses. 

When it’s time for hermit crabs to start hunting, they will start to smell fishy. This is a warning sign that they are ready to leave their shells and hunt for food.

Hermit Crabs Stink When They Are Molting

During molting, hermit crabs may release a strong odor due to the release of molted tissue. If you’re concerned about the smell, keeping your crab away from other animals or windows where sunlight enters is best. 

Don’t worry if your crab does stink during molting – they will eventually return to their everyday scent once they’ve grown new shells! Molting is a natural process that hermit crabs go through to grow new claws and shells. So, don’t be afraid to watch your crab go through this exciting process – it will be worth it in the end!

Hermit Crabs Have a Bad Smell When They Die

Hermit crabs have a terrible smell when they die, so some people dispose of them in landfills. That said, it’s best to dispose of dead hermit crabs properly. If you’re still concerned, try avoiding touching or smelling them directly.

A Bad Smell From Living Hermit Crabs

A foul smell can come from your living hermit crabs because of their waste. This waste will release ammonia, which is an unpleasant odor. To prevent this smell, clean the crabs’ enclosures regularly and feed them fresh vegetables and fruits.

Hermit Crabs Can Have Stinky Feet 

If you’re noticing a strong smell coming from your hermit crab’s tank, it might be time to take a closer look at your hermit crab’s health and behavior. The feet of a hermit crab can often have a strong smell caused by its molted shells and exoskeletons. 

If the smell persists, it may be time to change your hermit crab’s water quality or add some fresh food to the tank. Once the smell has dissipated, monitor your hermit crab’s health and behavior regularly to ensure all is well.

Why Hermit Crabs Can Smell Bad

If your crab is stinky, there may be something wrong with him. For example, hermit crabs can smell intense and unpleasant, so keeping them clean and healthy is essential to reduce the odor. 


Hermit crabs are a type of crab that is known for their shyness. When stressed, hermits release a foul-smelling liquid from their bodies to protect themselves and deter predators. If your hermit crab smells terrible, it’s probably because of stress! 

Thankfully, there are some easy ways to help reduce your crab’s stress. First, provide different environments and stimuli for them to explore; this will help remove some of the pressure they feel. Additionally, try providing fresh water frequently as this has been shown to help relieve stress in many animals, including hermit crabs.


If your hermit crabs are overheating, one of the first things you should do is move them into a better location. If they start to smell bad, you can try adding a layer of sand or gravel over their shells. Finally, make sure they have plenty of ventilation.e

Buildup of Waste

One of the major concerns people have with hermit crabs is their foul smell, which arises from accumulated waste over time and can be bothersome if constant. 

When not eaten, hermit crabs also produce a smelly exudate containing bacteria and toxins. To keep your hermit crab healthy and free from bad smells, it is vital to feed them regularly.

Spoiled Food and Spilled Water

If water is spilled, it will rot the food and make the crabs smell bad. The crabs can get sick and smell bad when there is too much food or water. Hermit crabs are scavengers and can start to smell bad when food is scarce.

How to Keep Hermit Crabs from Smelling

Hermit crabs can be a lot of fun, but they can also be a little smelly. If your hermit crab starts to smell, it’s time for a bath. You should do this outdoors in fresh water and baking soda. 

Hermit crabs need to live in an area free of strong smells, like garlic or onions. To keep the odor down overall, do regular cleanings of their homes – once a month should do the trick! If you keep them with other pets, keep them separated, so they don’t start to smell foul.

Ensure their habitat is well-ventilated, their water levels are monitored, and there is enough air and water to avoid odor issues. 

Deep Clean

If your hermit crabs start to smell, it is time for a deep clean. This can be done using either a deodorizing solution or scrubbing with a brush. You should change water and food regularly to avoid odors’ buildup, and ensure the tank is always clean – inside and out!

Changing Décor

One of the best ways to keep hermit crabs happy and healthy is to change the décor around their habitat. This way, they won’t smell bad; they will also feel safe in their new surroundings. 

If you’re struggling with the unpleasant odor coming from your hermit crab’s home, there are a few things you can do to mask it or even prevent it altogether. For example, use artificial smells or submerge them in the water!

New Shells

Most crab owners know that their crabs need to leave their old shells behind every once in a while to molting. But what many may not know is that this process can be pretty smelly and requires your crab to get out of its shell completely. 

Hermit crabs also require new shells regularly, as the old ones will start emitting a foul odor if left unchecked. If you do not provide them with fresh shells, your crab will eventually become aggressive towards other animals in the tank – possibly even attacking them!