Do Hermit Crabs Have Gills: Knowing How Hermit Crabs Breathe

Yes, hermit crabs have gills. Hermit crabs don’t have lungs – they breathe through their gills. While other crustaceans like shrimp and lobsters have lungs, hermit crabs use their gills the most! Gills constantly exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide, which is how they breathe.

The Gills of Hermit Crabs

These gills are located in the brachial chamber. Hermit crabs will expel these respiratory gills when the humidity level is improper to survive underwater indefinitely.

Can Hermit Crabs Suffocate Under Sand?

Hermit crabs generally live in wet areas, so they won’t have trouble breathing and living under the sand. However, if there is a problem with the airflow or humidity levels, hermit crabs will expel their respiratory gills to allow them to survive and breathe properly. 

Make sure your hermit crab has a hiding spot with an opening to the outside world – this will help it stay healthy and safe. They provide fresh water and food daily; changing the sand weekly will also help prevent suffocation. If you notice any symptoms of stress or distress (combined with poor eating or drinking habits), consult your veterinarian!

Do Hermit Crabs Breathe Air or Water?

Most hermit crabs, however, don’t need to breathe the air because they live in water. Some hermit crabs, however, can breathe air if needed. When it comes to breathing air, most hermit crabs do so through a small hole on their neck called an anus. Hermit crabs use this hole as an emergency escape route in case of danger. Most hermit crabs don’t need to breathe the air because they live in water.

What Else Do Hermit Crabs Need to Breathe?

Like all crustaceans, hermit crabs need to breathe. Unlike many other crab species, hermit crabs swim using their legs and do not just move around on land. When it’s time for them to drink water or take in air from the sea, they will do so using whichever method is available. Hermit crabs can breathe air and water but typically prefer to oxygenate their bloodstream with fresh air through their gills. 

Located on the sides of her head, these organs open and close rhythmically as the crab swims around underwater or stands on land, breathing in through its nose and exhaling out through its mouth.

Can Hermit Crabs Breathe Underwater?

Most hermit crabs are born without gills, but as they grow, they lose them and breathe air like other land-dwelling crabs. This is important to know before bringing one home, as some hermit crabs may not be able to breathe underwater. If a crab cannot breathe air, it will rapidly suffocate if placed underwater. Some hermit crabs can breathe air and water, but others cannot. In these cases, the crab will need to be placed in a sealed container or aquarium that can maintain water levels.

How Long Can Hermit Crabs Stay Underwater?

Hermit crabs can stay underwater for a brief period, usually up to an hour, but it is important not to over-exert them as this might lead to their exhaustion and drowning. Additionally, hermit crabs can breathe underwater for a short while – but they don’t do so very often!

Can Hermit Crabs Drown?

Most people are familiar with hermit crabs because of their cute little shells and the fact that they can live in those shells for long periods. Most people don’t know that hermit crabs can live without their gills for up to six months! If you have a crab tank that gets flooded, keep it drained at all times in case of flooding. 

If you find your crab displaced from its home and cannot find fresh water nearby, try placing it in seawater or saltwater for a few days to help revive its gills. If your crab does lose its gills, don’t be alarmed, and take appropriate steps to help it survive.

How Hermit Crabs Breathe Under Sand

Hermit crabs use their gills to help them breathe under the sand. When it comes time for bed, hermit crabs crawl into an airtight space to rest and avoid predators. So, next time you’re wondering how hermit crabs breathe under the sand, remember that they use filters to extract oxygen and other nutrients from the water they drink.

Two Types Of Hermit Crabs

Hermit crabs may not seem fascinating, but they’re pretty interesting! Two more common hermit crab types are the banded hermit crab and the yellow-striped hermit crab. Both crabs require access to clean water and food, so be sure to provide both when keeping them as pets. Banded hermits are found on coral reefs and have a red or black band around their bodies. The two types of hermit crabs you’ll likely encounter in your aquarium are the banded and yellow-striped hermits. Yellow-striped hermits live in brackish waters and typically possess green stripes down their backs. When it comes to hermit crabs, there’s much to learn, so be sure to check out our other blog posts for more exciting facts about these fascinating creatures!


The land is a big part of hermit crab life – whether they live on land or in the sea. Land-dwelling and sea-dwelling hermit crabs use their gills for breathing while on land, but there’s one crucial difference: the gills of a land-dwelling hermit crab can grow up to 1 meter long! Interesting fact? The gills of a land-dwelling hermit crab can be longer than its body! 

This is because as they need to air out on the dry ground, their gills are constantly exposed and allowed to stretch. Both types of hermit crabs have gills – they use them differently. Sea-dwelling hermits use theirs to breathe and filter water, while land-dwelling ones often bury them underground or put them near streams to grab fresh water whenever necessary quickly.


Land and hermit crabs are two of the most common crab species on land. They both have a pair of lungs – this is why they can’t breathe underwater. Instead, they use gills to extract oxygen from water and breathe through them. 

Land crabs use their left gills more often than their right ones (because they’re better at using them!), while hermit crabs use theirs equally regardless of hand preference. Both creatures also have a shell to protect them from predators and regulate temperature.

Do Land Crabs Have Gills?

Hermit crabs and land crabs have gills. Gills can be used for breathing, and in land crabs, they’re essential for water uptake. Depending on the type of crab, gills may or may not be used for breathing. Hermit crabs, for example, breathe with their gills closed to conserve oxygen.