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How To Keep Hermit Crabs Warm Without A Heater (7 Different Ways)

Dean Eby

July 2, 2021

If it gets too cold in your hermit crab’s enclosure, they could go into hibernation, or even potentially die. Naturally, this is something you want to avoid, and most of the time, a heater is the best and easiest solution. That’s not always a possibility though. Sometimes, you don’t have electricity or there’s just not a heater available. Maybe you’re even transporting your crabs and need a quick, portable solution to ensure your crabs reach their destination safely. Whatever your reason, we’ve got seven viable solutions for you that will help keep your crabs warm without a heater.

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What’s the Ideal Temperature for Hermit Crabs?

hermit crab inside tank

Before we start talking about how to warm your crabs’ habitat, it’s important to understand what temperatures your crabs are comfortable at. Temperatures that rise too high or drop too low can be fatal for your crabs. On the low end, hermit crabs can withstand temperatures of 65 degrees Fahrenheit (F), while 80 degrees F is about the peak of how much heat they can handle. You’ll need to keep their enclosure between these temperatures for your crabs to thrive.

Checking Your Crab’s Enclosure Temperature

This raises the question: how are you supposed to know what temperature it is in your crabs’ habitat? All you need is a simple thermometer that can hang on the wall in the enclosure, allowing you to monitor the temperature inside. Our favorites are dual-use thermometer/hygrometers, and they display a digital readout of both the temperature and humidity in the enclosure, making it much easier to maintain proper conditions for your crabs. In addition to warm temperatures, hermit crabs need humidity levels to remain between 70% and 80%.

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7 Ways to Keep Hermit Crabs Warm Without a Heater

Hermit crabs

1. Spray Them with Warm Water

Raising the humidity in the enclosure will already help to warm things up. Spraying warm water will not only help raise the humidity, but it will also directly raise the temperature thanks to the heat of the water.


2. Heat Lamp

Heat lamps are an effective way of warming your crabs’ entire tank, but it’s easy for these to overdo it. Make sure you mount the light far enough from the enclosure that it doesn’t overheat the area and cook your crabs. Keep a close eye on the thermometer for a while until you’re certain that you’ve placed the heat lamp at the correct distance from the tank.

hermit crab in a tank
Image Credit: Vojce, Shutterstock

3. Hand Warmers

Hand warmers are the perfect solution when you need to keep your crabs warm on the go. You can grab these at almost any store. Once they start warming up, just toss them into your crabs’ cage and they’ll start to warm the area.


4. Move Them to a Warmer Area

It’s possible that your crabs are just being housed in a cool part of the house. Most people keep their homes at a suitable temperature range for hermit crabs, even in the winter. You might just need to locate a warmer spot in the home and relocate your crabs’ aquarium to that area.


5. Run a Humidifier

Raising the humidity in your crab’s tank can help to make it warmer; especially if you’re using a warm air humidifier. These devices heat water to create humidity, which will also warm the area in which it’s located, giving you the double benefit of warming your crabs while simultaneously ensuring the humidity remains sufficiently high.


6. Insulate the Enclosure

You can try wrapping towels or blankets around your crabs’ tank to keep the heat in. This works particularly well when combined with the hand warmers method. Throw a hand warmer in the tank and then wrap some towels around the outside to keep the heat in. The temperature inside will start to climb quickly and won’t dissipate off very fast since the enclosure is insulated with blankets or towels.


7. Add More Substrate

Generally, it’s recommended that hermit crabs get about 4 inches worth of substrate. But if you add a bit more, it could help to keep your crabs even warmer. The deeper the substrate, the easier it is for them to burrow, which helps them to keep warm by insulating themselves inside the substrate.

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Don’t Use Heating Rocks

hermit crab in sand

While there are many ways you can heat your crabs’ environment, a heating rock is one method you should never employ. Heating rocks might work great for certain animal species, but hermit crabs are not one of them. These devices often heat up the most in just one spot, and if a crab steps there, it could easily burn its foot.

Never Overheat Your Crabs

When temperatures inside your crabs’ enclosure start climbing into the 80s, things are getting dangerous. Your crabs will start to suffer and could even die. Be sure to never overheat your crabs’ tank by employing multiple heating methods at once or trying a new heating method without supervision. Watch the thermometer and see how things play out. If temperatures start to climb too high, you might need to rethink things.

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Conclusion

There are many different ways you can heat your crabs’ environment. Truth be told, a hermit crab heater is probably the best bet. They come in different forms, but some are simple adhesive heaters you can stick on the wall inside their tank to safely raise the temperature. Still, there are plenty of alternatives, and we’ve covered seven of the best here. In a pinch, these methods will ensure that your crabs stay warm, healthy, and most importantly alive. Just make sure to keep an eye on the thermometer and don’t let temperatures fall below 65 degrees or climb above 80 degrees Fahrenheit and your crabs should be fine.

Looking for more information on hermit crabs? Try these articles:


Featured Image Credit: Zuzha, Shutterstock

Dean Eby

An avid outdoorsman, Dean spends much of his time adventuring through the diverse terrain of the southwest United States with his closest companion, his dog, Gohan.  He gains experience on a full-time journey of exploration. For Dean, few passions lie closer to his heart than learning.  An apt researcher and reader, he loves to investigate interesting topics such as history, economics, relationships, pets, politics, and more.