Do Hermit Crabs Smell Bad: Common Reasons and Tips to Avoid Foul Odor

Hermit crabs do, in fact, smell. The sulfur compounds in their feces produce a strong odor that humans can detect. After all, hermit crabs are scavengers and would probably eat anything that smells bad. 

Also, it could be because of bacteria or fungus that builds up on their shells over time. Worse still, hermit crabs could start to smell bad if they’re not getting enough water or food. In short, hermit crabs need to be taken care of just like any other pet – with regular cleaning and feeding! 

Reason Why Hermit Crabs Smell Bad

Hermit crabs may smell bad for a few different reasons. For example, try using a salt water bath or scrubbing them with a damp cloth to remove the odor. You can try cleaning the crabs’ tank regularly if that doesn’t work. 


Hermit crabs are known for their cute appearance and friendly nature, but some people might not be aware that these creatures can also be picky about their environment. For example, if your crab has an unusual smell, it is best to get them checked out by a vet. A lack of clean water and food can also cause a foul odor in crabs, so ensure you provide them with both enough and clean water! 

Apart from keeping your crab healthy and providing the right environment, taking steps to reduce stress in your pet’s life can help prevent bad smells. In addition, crabs tend to hide away when they’re under stress, which means that they may not stay close to you as often – leading to an unpleasant scent radiating from them.


If your hermit crab is experiencing overheating, you can do a few things to help them out. First, it’s essential to know that this gas is caused by the accumulation of bacteria and other organisms in the crab’s tank. This can make their tank uncomfortable for those living nearby! 

Secondly, when they overheat, hermit crabs will expel harmful smelling gas from their shells – so keep an eye on them and ensure they have enough space! Finally, always ensure their temperature and environment are comfortable – if not, they might expel this gas to stay calm.

Buildup of Waste

Hermit crabs are fascinating pet creatures that require regular attention and care. One of the most important things you must remember when keeping hermit crabs as pets are keeping their enclosure clean. This includes removing feces, urine, or dead skin from the substrate – which can smell bad! 

In addition, make sure there is ample ventilation in your hermit crab enclosure so that the smell doesn’t become overwhelming. Hermit crabs also secrete a sticky substance from their claws to help them stick to surfaces. This substance contains dead skin, feces, and urine – all of which can give off an unpleasant odor!

Spoiled Food and Spilled Water

The issue of spoiled food and water is common for pet owners who keep hermit crabs in captivity. It’s important to remember that if you want to maintain suitable conditions for your crabs, they need the same food and water schedule as when they were wild. This means providing them with fresh crab meat as their primary source of sustenance, along with a periodic soaker hose clean-up. 

For those times when access to fresh water isn’t possible (due to rain or snow), make sure your tank is adequately cleaned and sanitized before refilling it with tap water – this will help prevent bad smells from accumulating and leading to split crab pots. If hermit crabs are not getting the food or hydration they need, their digestive system will shut down, resulting in malnutrition or even death. A healthy colony can compensate for any nutritional deficiencies, but an unhealthy one may eventually break apart due to stress caused by an unstable food supply.


Molting is a natural process that hermit crabs go through. For some people, this process may smell bad. However, the smell is usually not strong enough to be noticeable. For example, it might be time to find a new home if your crab starts to smell bad. Keep in mind that molting is a process that can take several weeks, so your crab may smell bad at different stages. If you’re uncomfortable with the smell, keeping your crab away from other crabs might be best until the molting process is complete.


Death is a natural process we all must go through at some point. For crabs, it means shedding their exoskeleton and allowing the new one to harden. Unfortunately, this process often emits an unpleasant odor that can drive away predators and competitors. 

Luckily, there are ways to help them rid themselves of harmful parasites without having to smell like a crab factory! By performing regular parasite checks and administering appropriate treatments when needed, you will ensure your crabs stay healthy and happy!

Keeping Hermit Crabs from Smelling

Hermit crabs can be a bit of a nuisance regarding their smell. However, you can take a few easy steps to keep them odor-free. The first is to keep the habitat clean and tidy. This means cleaning up any food or substrate left behind and ensuring enough fresh water is available. Feed your crabs once a week with frozen or live food, but make sure it doesn’t smell bad! For extra odor control, add a desiccant absorbing agent to the enclosure.

Deep Clean

Hermit crabs can become dirty quickly, so it’s essential to watch for any signs of illness and take appropriate action. Add a little chlorine bleach to the water to deep clean their tank every week. Make sure there is enough water and food available, and remove any rotting food or feces ASAP.

Changing Décor

It’s always a good idea to regularly change the décor in your pet’s enclosure. This will help keep hermit crabs fresh and smell-free and add some excitement to their surroundings. Another way to reduce pet smells is by changing the décor in their tank now and then. If that doesn’t work, it might be necessary to air out the tank regularly and change its water often.

New Shells

Hermit crabs need new shells to protect themselves from predators and maintain their pungent smell. If you don’t provide them with new ones regularly, they will start to smell bad and be rejected by potential mates. So it’s essential to keep a close eye on your hermit crabs to ensure they always have the protection they need.


Insects can be a nuisance for hermit crabs, but they are beneficial. Avoid leaving food the crabs can access – this will make them smell bad! Hermit crabs are scavengers and will eat any insect that they can find. Keep your hermit crabs away from insects by providing a suitable environment – one in which there is little chance of insects being introduced. If you get an insect, remove it as quickly as possible to minimize its impact on the crab’s health.

Hermit Crabs and Their Smell When Dead

Dead hermit crabs can smell pretty bad. That’s because their decaying flesh emits a strong rotting odor that can be pretty unpleasant when they die. So if you’re wondering if hermit crabs smell bad when they die, the answer is yes – they do! However, there are ways to avoid this stench from invading your home: make sure to cover the dead crabs in a plastic bag before disposing of them, and don’t forget to air out any area where you placed the crab.

Disposing of a Dead Hermit Crab

  • Make sure not to leave any crab parts exposed to the air, as this will let bacteria grow and create an unpleasant smell. 
  • If you have buried or placed the crab in water outside its shell, be sure that you remove all traces of water before disposing of it so that it doesn’t contaminate other areas nearby with harmful microbes. 
  • You can either place it in the garden or flush it down the toilet – whichever method feels most natural and appropriate for you and your pet hermit crab!