Hermit Crab Without Shell Die: Can Hermit Crabs Survive Without Shell?

Hermit crabs will quickly die without a shell. A hermit crab’s shell is essential for the crab’s survival, as it protects from predators and moisture retention. Shells are a hermit crab’s home – they protect the crab from the elements and make it easy to find food. 

How Do Hermit Crabs Find New Shells?

Hermit crabs use their sense of smell to find new shells. When they find a suitable shell, hermit crabs will attach themselves using their chelipeds and excavate until they reach the inside shell. If the shell is too small or does not have an opening for them, hermit crabs will abandon it in favor of another one that meets their needs better.

Span of Hermit Crabs Shell Change

This process can take up to three months or four to eight weeks, so be prepared for your crab to go through a lot of molting (changes of shell). If you’re noticing that your crab is not molting as often, it might be because it doesn’t have a new shell ready. You can help speed up the process by providing a newly-cleaned empty shell for your crab to inhabit. 

Ensure the shell is clean and free of injuries so the crab can easily attach itself. It’s also important to keep track of your crab’s molting process so you can notice any changes and intervene if necessary.

Does a Hermit Crab Come Out of Its Shell When It Dies?

No, when a hermit crab dies, it doesn’t come out of its shell. Instead, it releases a by-product that helps the crab decompose and decompose into compost. The secretion holds the crab together until it decomposes and turns into compost. Soap won’t wash away this substance, so if you’re wondering how to clean up after your hermit crab, don’t worry – they’ll take care of themselves! 

Reasons Why Hermit Crabs Lose Their Shell

There are various reasons why a hermit crab might lose its shell – environmental changes like water level fluctuations, growing too large (hermits have been known to grow up to 4 inches!), injury, or even old age. For a hermit crab to restore its shell and avoid potential harm, it must do whatever is possible such as breaking into new shells found by chance or finding other abandoned ones nearby.


When a hermit crab feels stressed, it will abandon its shell to escape the situation. This can lead to them dying if left unchecked, as they will be unable to find a new shell. Therefore, it is essential to identify and solve stressful situations as soon as possible so the hermit crab can return to their shell safely. This might be caused by environmental changes or another crab’s presence.


When they reach a certain age, their shell starts to lose its strength, and the hermit crab will do everything possible to regain it. However, if your hermit crab shows any signs of illness, like lesions or redness, it may be in danger of losing its shell. 


If your hermit crab is being attacked by another animal or is being harassed by water flow, it may decide to leave its shell for safety. If left unchecked, this behavior can lead to death for the hermit crab as they cannot protect themselves from predators or change their environment fast enough when necessary. 


For hermit crabs, this usually means being placed in new surroundings where they don’t know how to behave. As a result, they become irritated and start to pull away from their shell – eventually leaving it all together! This process can be traumatic for the crab and often leads them into depression as they lose their sense of security and individuality. 

Unsuitable Environment

If you keep your hermit crab in an unsuitable environment, it will eventually leave its home and live alone in solitude until you find a new home for it again. In the meantime, however, it might get frustrated with you due to its lack of control over its life situation. 

Additionally, if your tank’s water temperature, salinity, or pH levels are changing, your hermit crab may be looking for a new home. A change in the ambient temperature or water quality can also lead to them leaving their shell, so it’s essential to monitor these conditions closely and take appropriate measures when necessary.


If your hermit crab leaves its shell and does not return soon, it is likely dead. Check the shell to see if there are any injuries or signs that the crab is sick. If you think your hermit crab may have died, remove all the rock/shells from its enclosure and bury them in the soil so they can decompose naturally. 

Ways to Avoid Hermit Crabs to Lose Its Shell 

When it comes to dealing with crab stress, the first thing you should do is assess the situation. If so, here are a few tips on how to avoid stressful situations: 

  • Provide plenty of calcium and food – This will help ease any stress crabs may be feeling. 
  • Move them around – Crabs need to move around frequently for their body and shell muscles to stay healthy and exercise. Make sure they have enough space too! 
  • Give them company – Having another crab nearby can make your crab feel more at ease since they can share experiences and insights.