Hermit Crab Average Lifespan: Common Death Reasons in the Wild and Captivity

Hermit crabs can live for up to 15 years in captivity and up to 30 years in the wild. However, the average lifespan of a hermit crab is about five years. This is thanks to their natural habitat and the care they receive from their caretakers. If you’re looking to prolong their life in captivity, provide them with a comfortable and stimulating environment. 

Reason Why Hermit Crabs Live Longer in the Wild

Wild hermit crabs rarely come into contact with humans, so they don’t experience the same stressors as captive specimens. This is one of the reasons why they tend to live longer than their captive counterparts. For instance, wild hermit crabs have a variety of natural defenses – such as a hard exoskeleton and sharp claws – that help them to survive periods of famine or drought. 

They also store food in their bodies, which helps them survive periods of captivity or when they cannot find food. Hermit crabs can adapt to a wide range of living conditions and are even scavengers. So, if you’re looking to keep your hermit crab healthy and happy, ensure that it provides them with diverse food and safe habitat.

Reasons Why Hermit Crabs Die in the Wild


Hermit crabs are one of the most common prey items for predators in the wild. Some common predators include lions, eagles, and sharks, killing them quickly! If you have a hermit crab living in your aquarium, it is essential to keep an eye on their safety since they may live 15 or more years!

Insufficient or Excessive Water

Too much water can lead to shell rot or even death of hermit crab. Hermit crabs need to live in moist environments and will avoid areas where the humidity level is too low.

Plastic Pollution

Plastics can enter their bodies through food or water, and it can cause health problems later in life. The crabs have a shorter lifespan because of this – around two years in the wild. They are one of the most vulnerable species to plastic pollution as they eat and digest it. As hermit crabs rely heavily on seaweed for sustenance, even small amounts of marine debris can affect them significantly.

Reasons Why Hermit Crabs Die in Captivity


As any pet owner knows, keeping a hermit crab (or any other pet) in captivity can be stressful. Hermit crabs are particularly vulnerable to stress and can rapidly lose their lifespan under bad conditions. However, with proper care and attention, they can live up to 15 years in captivity – provided the environment is healthy and provides sufficient food and water!

Inappropriate Environment

A good environment and diet are essential, as these creatures thrive on humidity levels of around 70%. It’s also essential to ensure their tank remains clean – hermit crabs may get sick if the water or substrate they live in is dirty. When appropriately kept, hermit crabs don’t require much care – they need warm water (between 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit), shells, rock pieces, and plenty of algae growth.

Poor Diet

A poor diet can result in health problems such as obesity or malnutrition, which may lead to death. It’s also essential to provide them with lots of different hiding places and climbing areas to keep them active and entertained – hermit crabs love nothing more than exploring new surroundings! 

When providing them with a varied and nutritious diet, try including vegetables (especially greens), fruits, seafood (e.g., crab), calcium-rich foods like oysters or hard-boiled eggs, etc. In addition, you can add eggshells or pet food filled with small pieces of meat for extra protein.

Unsuitable Water

Hermit crabs are great pets but shouldn’t be kept in water bowls because hermit crabs aren’t meant to live in water and will die if they do. However, hermit crabs can only survive in fresh or saltwater, so ensure their tank always has fresh water and add a little salt if needed. 

Bacterial Infection

Hermit crabs can get bacterial infections from other aquarium inhabitants, including fish, amphibians, and invertebrates. If left untreated, bacterial infections can lead to hermit crab death. Treatment usually involves antibiotics and quarantine for affected crabs. The hermit crab’s lifespan in captivity depends on the aquarium’s size and the hermit crab’s health and behavior.


Toxicity is an important topic to consider when keeping hermit crabs. While they are generally low in toxicity, a few species can cause poisoning if ingested. Tap water and paints can also kill them because of toxicity.

Killed by a Fish or Another Hermit Crab

Keeping hermit crabs healthy in captivity is essential, but they are killed by fish or another crab about half the time. Ensure your tank has plenty of hiding spots, and avoid feeding them chunks of meat that could be too large for them to chew. 

Average Age of Hermit Crabs

Average Age of Marine Hermit Crabs

Marine hermit crabs are fascinating creatures with a lifespan of around 2 to 4 years. They can usually be kept in spacious tanks and don’t require much care – their diet mainly consists of crustaceans, mollusks, and worms. Marine hermit crabs will adjust to water conditions if there is enough food and hiding spots available, provided they get fresh water daily.

Average Age of Land Hermit Crabs

On average, hermit crabs can live for around 30 years in the wild, but they can often live up to 15 years when kept in captivity. And while most hermit crabs die from getting eaten or contracting diseases, some survive pretty well by sticking close to their owners. 

Tips to Make Your Hermit Crab Live Longer

  • Properly care for them by providing the appropriate environment and food, and give them plenty of time to socialize. 
  • Avoid stressing them out, as this will only lead to shorter life spans. 
  • Monitor their water intake and provide fresh water every day. 

In the end, by following these simple tips, you can make your hermit crab live a long and happy life!