Do Halloween Moon Crabs Make Good Pets?

Do Halloween Moon Crabs Make Good Pets?

 Can You Keep Halloween Moon Crabs as Pets?

The answer is … YES!

I was recently asked to write something up about Halloween Moon Crabs by a friend, Mary, who recently acquired one.  She loves her pet (a lot!) and is planning on getting a second one to keep it company, since crabs are known to be social creatures by nature and live longer, healthier lives when in the company of crabs of the same species.

Halloween Moon Crabs
“Sebastian” is owned by Mary Stewart

Natural Habitat:

Halloween Moon Crabs (also known as the Halloween Hermit Crab) can be found in mangrove, sand dunes and rainforests along the Pacific coast from Mexico south to Peru and Costa Rica.  They can grow anywhere from 2 to 2.5 inches (5 to 6.5 cm) long and have a lifespan of 8 to 10 years!  They are nocturnal and can digs burrows – sometimes as long as 5 feet (1.5 meters) in the wild.  They live in the forest at least some of their adult lives, but needs to return to the ocean to breed.  Moon Crabs are largely herbivorous, and consume leaf litter and seedlings.

Do Halloween Moon Crabs Make Good Pets?

Description:

The Moon Crab has a pair of largely purple claws, reddish-orange legs, and an almost entirely blackish carapace (the dorsal [upper] section of the exoskeleton or shell), with a pair of yellow, orange or maroon spots behind the eyes, and an additional pair of whitish spots on the central-lower carapace.

HOLLOWEEN MOON CRABS AS PETS

The Halloween Moon Crabs do quite well in captivity.  They are tame, but do require constant attention.  Being nocturnal, Moon Crabs sleep during the day and come out at night. These reptiles require a lot of heat and moisture and several homes (shells) throughout their lifespan.

Enclosures:

Halloween Moon Crabs do not need much space when they are young, and as they grow their environment must be able to sustain them. The most common size for an enclosure is a 10 or 15 gallon aquarium with at least two water dishes and some things to hide in.

Moon Crabs enjoy climbing, so make sure they have something to climb on.  This can be rocks, rough wood, plastic plants, or better yet, a piece of cork bark.

Do Halloween Moon Crabs
Sebastian’s Home

Environment:

Halloween Crabs need access to water to keep their gills moist.  The water dishes should adequate and must be low and wide to allow access and keep the water from running dry.  Water should be changed daily to ensure the water is clean and to prevent bacteria from growing.

A moist substrate needs to be provided to create a good humidity level for your pet and provide them a place to dig. The most commonly used substrate is about 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) of sand, plus an additional 3 to 6 inches (8 to 15 cm) of moist peat moss. Moon crabs need a large amount of water to survive and a constant humidity level right around 70%. The terrarium should be set up so that the temperature is between 80° and 85°F and should not be allowed to drop below 78°F or be raised above 85°F at any time.

A low wattage light bulb is the most suitable lighting for Moon Crabs because it helps keep the humidity high while keeping the terrarium darker. Less light will make the crab feel more comfortable and safe while still providing enough light to see them and enough heat to create evaporation.

Halloween Moon Crab, Sebastian
Image: Mary Stewart (Sebastian’s in the corner.)

Do Halloween Moon Crabs

Molting:

Molting is the process of the crab losing a layer of skin and growing a new one, which happens about once every 18 months or so.  This process usually takes several days to complete. The first signs that a crab is molting is when it turns a very dull color and/or turns white around the eyes. During this time, darkness is encouraged and handling should be limited to little or none. Provide food as normal but keep the lights low or off, and do not try to peak at or disturb the crab if it is hiding.

After the molting process is complete the crab will eat some or most of its old skin to gain the calcium and other nutrients in it. This is natural and should be allowed to happen. If the exoskeleton is not completely eaten within two days of molting then it is okay to take it out. For a healthier diet, some people recommend grinding up the remainder of the exoskeleton and adding it to the next meal.

Do Halloween Moon Crabs Moulting

Feeding:

Good food sources for the Halloween Moon Crab include fruits such as what they would find in their natural environment like mangoes, papayas, and coconuts. Vegetables of all kinds also provide proper nutrients. They will also eat meats, but the meat must be cooked thoroughly or your Moon Crab may be at risk of health problems. Crabs will not eat when they are not hungry, so over-feeding will not be a problem. Place a small amount of food in the feeding dish each day and remove any left-overs from the day before. If there is no left-over food then try adding a little more each day until there is at least a little left over.  Under feeding your pet can be deadly.

Handling:

Each Moon Crab has it’s own attitude and behavior, so handling can sometimes be tricky.  Try to handle your pet crab every day so that it will get used to human interaction.  Doing so may change a “crabby” disposition to a more human-friendly one. (Halloween Crabs have those pincers and know  how to use them.)  Some may always want to pinch or stay tucked away and then there are others who are always craving attention and are not shy at all. The best advice is to learn your crab’s behaviors and deal with them accordingly.

Do Halloween Moon Crabs Make Good Pets?
“Sebastian” being handled by Mary Stewart

SOURCES: ReptileCity.com and Wikipedia

** Thank you MARY STEWART and “SEBASTIAN” for suggesting I do a post on Halloween Moon Crabs. **

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I hope you have enjoyed, “Do Halloween Moon Crabs Make Good Pets?

You might also like to read, South American Horned Frog, Pacman Frog, Cuteness Alert!

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MY QUESTION FOR YOU TODAY: Are there any animals you know of that you would like to see featured here on my blog? Is there any creature that you would like to learn more about? Or, do you have a story you would like to submit about a pet you have? I would love to hear from you in the comment section below, or please email me directly at jeanne@animalbliss.com

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Owner at Animal Bliss
Born in Nova Scotia, I moved to the United States 20+ years ago.I am a dedicated lover of animals and fight for their rights and protection.I love people too, of course, and enjoy meeting folks from all walks of life.I enjoy philosophical discussion, laughing, and really odd ball stuff.I hope you enjoy my site.Leave me a comment to let me know you were here!Peace out.
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26 thoughts on “Do Halloween Moon Crabs Make Good Pets?

  1. I wanted to know if moon crabs can live with hermit crabs, or do they have to have a companion of the same species. But overall can they live with a hermit crab without any problems such as fighting.

  2. Hey I got a brand new Halloween crab a little over 2 months ago. When I got him he had a tiny 2 gallon cage (I felt awful for just now getting a 15 gallon cage as I did not have the money earlier) and he came with a rock cave and a small watering dish. His floor was covered in wet leaves but within a couple days I had managed to get him some sand. Now I am on day two of the new cage, and I have added new sand, and some rocks around his water dish. He has a low heat lamp that slightly warms the sand and he seems to enjoy it. The first week I had him, I tried vegetables and fruits (like I had heard to feed him) when he didn’t eat that AT ALL I got frozen polluck, and thawed it in small pieces to feed him, and he liked that alright. After a week or two of polluck, I started feeding him bits of shrimp and he absolutely loved it so I continue to feed it to him today. I know my mom loves my crab ghost (his name as he is a Halloween crab) she tried to playfully and lightly bury him in sand, then when I went to check on him about an hour ago, his eyes were full in sand so I thought “uhh oh” then I lightly sprayed him in lukewarm water until the sand fell off. I try to respect his space as an animal, and not to pick him up often as it seems to annoy him, but I would honestly like to hold him more. I have dealt with birds, chickens, lizards, cats, dogs, fish, hamsters, salamanders, and now for my first time, a Halloween crab. I am almost desperate for tips, as I want my ghost to have a long and happy life, if you have any suggestions or tips, please write to me, and thanks so much for all previous advice 🙂

    • Hi there! Congrats on having a Halloween Crab! They’re the coolest things. I don’t personally own one, but have met a few, and handled them too. It sounds to me like you’re right on track with the care it needs. Your experimenting with diet seems to be going well. I like that you gently sprayed him with lukewarm water to get the sand out of his eyes, and especially love that you respect his space. I wish I could recommend a good book for you, but there doesn’t seem to be much on the market. I trust you’re doing the right things. Keep it up! 🙂

  3. Hi Jeanna,

    I was wondering if you possibly had more information on the crabs molting process? I have a Moon Crab and there is little to no information about them, even the pet store guy didn’t know this crab molted (thanks a lot). So, I’m a little worried, we’re on day 2 and it looks like he’s having a rough time getting the top of his shell off and he’s lost on of his legs. I’m just wondering if this is normal or if I need to prepare myself to lose my little guy? 🙁

    • Hey, Keira. I just put a blog post together for you. Here is the link. (I hope you’ll get this.) http://www.animalbliss.com/moon-crab-is-molting/

      If happens from time to time that a crab will lose a leg or two. Don’t worry. It will regenerated over time. After this molt you’ll notice the beginnings of a new leg. It should take about 3 molts for it to grow normal size.

      As far as having a rough tie getting the top of his shell off, I’d say don’t worry about that either. It can take several days to several weeks. Check out that link I just gave you to get more information.

      Thanks so much for checking out my blog!

  4. Some great information! We have had fiddler crabs in the past, and currently have a red crab in another tank, but we just purchased one on these little guys and I was curious if you knew of any safe live plants that could be added? I’ve seen a couple places that have used small potted bamboos but was wondering if a mini palm could be used. Also, are there any types of wood that should not be added to their habitat?
    Thank you so much!

  5. I have never heard of these before. They are very colorful but I don’t know if I would want one for a pet. I guess I have never seen them because I live on the Atlantic side on the gulf coast. Thank you for sharing

  6. Wow, I had no idea that people kept crabs as pets. These Halloween Moon Crabs look really cute. Thank you for sharing this informational post.

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