Do Hermit Crabs Eat Coral? (the Best Diet For Hermit Crabs)

You are finding the answer for the question “do hermit crabs eat coral?”. You are at the right place.

In the wild, hermit crabs are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plant and animal matter. In captivity, you can tailor your hermit crab’s diet to ensure that its nutritional needs are met. Their diet should be a balance and supplement between high-quality commercial food with fresh foods and treats.

Many people saw hermit crab eating coral even though it is not on the list of recommended foods. So is that true and why do they eat corals?

This article will answer the question do hermit crabs eat coral and also provide information on some foods you should feed hermit crabs.

See also:

  1. Learning Top 5 Unbelievable Facts About Hermit Crab Pregnant.
  2. How Many Hermit Crabs Per Gallon? (4 Questions To Decide).

Are Hermit Crabs Carnivores Or Herbivores?

The truth is that the Hermit crab is neither of those two animals types. Hermit crabs are omnivores, which means they eat both plant and animal matter. They are not picky eaters and eat the carcass of some conspecific species that have died.

One positive of omnivores is that hermit crabs are never short of options. As per the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, they rarely eat the same thing twice in any 24 hours.

What Do Wild Hermit Crabs Eat?

In the wild, there are two types of hermit crabs. They are hermit crabs that dwell mainly on land and in the ocean. Depending on the type of crab, they will eat different foods.

For the crabs that primarily dwell in the ocean, many of them are strictly aquatic. They will stay on the floor of the seabed, rarely surfacing. So their food is:

  • Coral reefs
  • Algae
  • Mollusks and small snails
  • Dead animals

Meanwhile, the land hermit crab will be on both land and water. However, land-based crabs only go to the sea when absolutely necessary because under the sea, there are many species of fish and other sea creatures that are their natural enemies. Land-based crabs cannot defend themselves effectively from such enemies. That’s why land-based hermit crabs often forage after sunset. Their nutrition comes from:

  • Leaves and moss 
  • Wood
  • Garbage
  • Food left by human visitors to the beach
  • Fecal matter
  • Dead animal carcasses

If you bring wild hermit crabs to your tank, adjust their diet slowly so they can get used to it.

What Do Hermit Crabs Eat In Captivity?

For your crabs to grow at their best, you should consider the composition of their food. Their diet requires ample protein and calcium. This helps keep their skeletons strong and their healthy color body. Dietary diversity is critical to keeping hermit crabs interested in food. To ensure balanced nutrition in captivity, they are typically fed high-quality commercial foods mixed with fresh produce and treats.

A well-balanced hermit crab diet consists of:

  • High-quality commercial food for hermit crab .
  • Recommend vegetables (spinach, carrots and romaine lettuce) and noncitrus fruits (Apple, banana, mangoes, coconut and papaya) as treats.
  • Treats like: Nuts, seaweed, brine shrimp and fish flakes c
  • Carotene and calcium supplements (such as cuttlebone).
Hermit crabs are omnivores
Hermit crabs are omnivores

Do Hermit Crabs Eat Coral?

Yes, Some hermits will eat coral. 

Reef hermit crabs are primarily detritivores, meaning they eat bits of dead or decaying matter they find on the coral reef. Other species are algae eaters and are considered desirable in marine aquariums for this reason. 

However, when they are not provided with enough food, they will starve and may eat stemless sessile, including corals. In addition, when the coral dies, it becomes detritus or dead tissue. Hermit crabs just eating dead skeletal portions of your coral.

Do Hermit crabs harm corals?

Not all hermit crabs are considered safe for reef tanks. In fact, many hermit crabs are known to destroy corals, eat other invertebrates, and even eat fish. So, Be careful when you intend to add hermit crabs to your tank.

Do Hermit crabs need water?

All species of hermit crabs should have access to both fresh and salt water. Fresh water is needed for drinking, and most hermit crabs will also drink salt water (some also like to bathe in the salt water so providing a dish of saltwater big enough for the crab to get into is a good idea).

How do Hermit crabs find their food?

Hermit crabs can find their food in two ways: by smelling the food and seeing other hermit crabs eating. 

Some people might be surprised that hermit crabs can smell, but it makes sense when you consider the sensory receptors located on their hairs. When these antennae wiggle or wave around, the smell is drawn into receptors, allowing the crab to smell for food.


To sum up, Hermit crabs can eat coral in some cases. Knowing what to feed hermit crabs is critical. Do not make the mistake of assuming that, because hermit crabs are scavengers, they can eat anything. Poor nutrition can be harmful to hermit crabs.

5/5 - (1 vote)