Hermit Crab Mating: Reproduction and Breeding Tips

Hermit crabs will mate with any crab they encounter. It’s all about compatibility – if both hermit crabs are content and healthy, they will likely mate. During mating season, look for signs that your hermit crab is ready to breed. These signs may include an attached chunk or burial site and the males climbing onto the females’ backs. 

Once the chunk is removed, the hermit crab will bury it in the sand near their home so that she can’t refuse him again.

Hermit Crab Breeding Process Explained

Hermit crab breeding can be a bit of an ordeal for pet owners and those trying to breed them. Here’s an explanation of the process involved: 

  • First, the pair will stay attached until one dies or molts – usually within a day or two afterward. 
  • Once they are free, the crabs will walk around with their limbs outstretched in hopes of finding a mate. 
  • Mating occurs when one hermit crab latches onto the other’s shell with claws and clamps down firmly.

Do Hermit Crabs Mate With Their Shells On?

No, hermit crabs remove their bodies with their shells when mating. As part of the mating process, the male wraps his legs around the female’s shell and pulls until she unlocks. After she is unlocked, they can copulate inside her shell. This is risky for the male, as it can lead to injury. So, be on the lookout for hermit crabs mating with their shells on! Sometimes multiple males will try to mate with a single female, so watch out!

Tips on Breeding Hermit Crabs in Captivity

Mating hermit crabs is a fun and exciting process! If you’re looking to breed your hermit crabs in captivity, keep reading for all the details. 

  • First, watch for signs that your hermit crab is ready to mate. Usually, when she’s digging lots of holes or scurrying around in unusual ways, she’s ready to mate. 
  • You can try a fertility-boosting food or water additive to speed up the process. When the eggs hatch, the young crabs take care of themselves until they’re big enough to find new homes. 
  • After mating, the hermit crabs will dig a small hole in the sand and lay their eggs inside. 
  • Watch out for predators – they may not make it out alive!

Keep Your Hermit Crabs in an Appropriate Habitat

If they are not in their natural environment, they may not be able to reproduce and will eventually die. To provide them with the right environment, you need to have the right supplies, including substrate (earth), water dishes, and a dark area where they can breed. It would help if you also ensured that their surroundings are always humid by providing humidity gels or mists.

Create A Breeding Tank

To create a breeding tank suitable for hermit crabs, make sure not to overcrowd the crab aquarium and ensure the water stays fresh by mixing saltwater into it occasionally. It’s also helpful if your crab aquarium has some land on which they can crawl around so they can exercise. Last but not least, ensure enough space for them to mate since reproduction requires plenty of mating activity!

Replicate Ocean Conditions

Providing hermit crabs with the same moist sand and salt water as in their natural environment is one way of replicating ocean conditions. You will need to provide them with lots of shells since these crustaceans love munching on them. Be sure to add salt so your hermit crabs can mimic the seawater they thrive in. And lastly, make sure you keep an eye on your little critters – mating and laying eggs are essential for their survival!

Choose Your Timing

Choosing the right time to breed hermit crabs can be tricky as timing is critical. If mating happens too early, the female may not be able to store enough sperm and will have a low chance of fertilizing eggs successfully. On the other hand, if mating happens too late in the season, there’s a good chance that no offspring will be born at all. 

Hermit crabs are sexually dimorphic – males are typically four times larger than females – so choosing your breeding ground wisely is essential! Some hermit crab species will lay their eggs on land or inside abandoned snail shells, while others deposit them into saltwater bodies such as estuaries or oceans. The best time for breeding varies depending on where you live but is generally thought to occur between late winter and early spring.

Identify a Female Hermit Crab

To identify female hermit crabs, check if it has black spots. If you see mating activity, take pictures and document it for future reference! You can also try using a plastic or glass container instead of an empty crab shell if you can’t find one that suits your needs.

Introduce a Male Hermit Crab

Introducing a male hermit crab into your colony is an essential step in breeding them. Not only will he help to fertilize the eggs, but he can also protect them from predators. Make sure he is healthy and active before introducing him into your home – if everything goes according to plan, you’ll be able to start breeding hermit crabs within a few weeks! 

The courting of Hermit Crabs

It can be pretty exciting when two hermit crabs start courting one another. They will look for each other, and the crab that courts the most aggressively will eventually become the mate. Afterward, they move into a secluded area where they start to lay eggs. Once these eggs hatch, the newly born crabs are ready to leave their home and venture out into the world!

Checking for Pregnancy

When checking for pregnancy, you must look for an egg case and a baby crab. In addition, the female hermit crab may disguise herself by rearranging her shell. If everything looks OK, you can congratulate yourself on your new arrival!


This causes the female to release an egg to hatch into baby hermit crabs. The baby hermits must quickly learn to survive in their new environment by finding a safe place to hide from predators.