Safe Food List
Hermit Crabs have 4 Major food groups, that they should have access to regularly. Calcium, Protein, Cellulose/Chitin, and Veggies/Fruit. Hermit Crabs are scavengers in the wild, and enjoy a variety of foods during different parts of their molt cycles. It’s important not to give your hermit crabs store bought pellets. They contain dangerous preservatives, that long-term can and will have ill effects. On a pelleted diet a hermit crab will likely not live more than a few years. On a well balanced diet, and the correct environment set up, Hermit crabs have the capacity to live over 30 years in captivity.
Calcium is a mandatory part of your hermit crabs diet. They need it to keep their exoskeleton strong, and to regenerate their exo skeleton during molt. They should always have a calcium available to them 24/7 don’t let your hermit crab go without it.
with fruits you want to make sure they are either 100% organic or give without the peel. If you do give the peel you’ll need to scrub it really well and soak in hot water to get off as much of the possible pesticides. Pesticides are poison to crabs.
Again, if not 100% organic, you’ll want to soak all veggies and scrub them before giving the peels.
Proteins (meats, grains, seeds & nuts)
Without adequate proteins, hermit crabs may cannibalize each other. Since hermit crabs do not like to eat the same foods every day, you’ll definitely want to mix up their diet as much as possible.
Chitin and Cellulose is also a very important part of their diet. Prevents cannibalizing. You can often just sprinkle leaves and flowers around their crabitat, as it usually does not go bad. Please note that if you take these items from outside, only gather from areas that DO NOT use pesticides or fertilizers of any kind. DO NOT use flowers or plants from the florist… and always ask at farmers markets if they “spray” their plants.
Foods on this list have been known to be toxic to hermit crabs ... Foods with an asterisk (*) next to them should be used with caution as they are toxic to other similar animals (such as birds, and rodents).
African violet leaves
*Aloe vera (juice is potentially safe, outer skin is NOT)
Avocado leaves, bark, pits, and seed (meat is safe)
Apple leaves, bark, and seeds (fruit is safe)
Apricot leaves, bark and pit (fruit is safe)
Bay leaves (natural insect repellent)
Bird of Paradise Flowers
Cherry pits, leaves and bark (fruit is safe)
Chocolate/cocoa (raw cacao is safe)
Citrus leaves & bark (part of the evergreen family. The fruit & flower is fine)
Coffee (contains phenols and carcinogens)
Custard Apple (young fruit)
Evergreen (pine, cedar, juniper, etc.)
Ivy (of any kind)
Lemon Balm (Sweet Melissa)
Lemon Grass (natural insecticide)
Lucky Bamboo (Regular bamboo is ok)
*Onion (toxic to dogs, cats, birds, and other animals)
Parsley Seed (fruit)
Peace Lily (Tiger Lily is ok)
Peach pit, leaves, bark (fruit is safe)
Pear leaves and bark (fruit is safe)
Pencil Tree Cactus
Peppermint (natural insecticide)
Philodendron (part of evergreen family)
Pine or cedar wood or needles
Pride of China fruit
Prunus species trees: apricot, bitter almond, cherry, cherry laurel,
nectarine, peach, plum (Fleshy fruits are edible, everything else
contains a cyanide-like compound and is fatally toxic, including
seeds, wood, leaves, bark and flowers).
*Rosemary (use with caution, this food is still being researched)
Tansy (part of evergreen family)
Tulip bulb (petals are fine)
Wild Angelica fruit