His legs fell off

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Dec 2nd, 2008 12:20
Maryland
AngelaH
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My son has a Hermit Crab. He has had the Crab for approx. 6 months. Just the other day ALL of his legs and claws just fell off. The crab is still alive. We have placed him in his food dish and in reach of fresh water but I am concerned that he will not live. Can any one tell me why his legs and claws fell off and is he gonna die?
   
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Dec 4th, 2008 17:05
Maryland
ahtnamas
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I had hermit crabs, so I know something about them.
   
Are you sure that he didn't just shed his shell? Are there a pair of little black eyes on stalks just under the top edge of the shell? If not, this may be just an old exoskeleton
   
An empty hermit crab exoskeleton often looks like a dead crab - I mistook an empty shell for a dead crab lots of times. They shed regularly. They often switch shells altogether at these times, then burrow into a safe corner until they harden.
   
Check all the other shells in the tank and see if he's curled up tightly inside one; all you'll see is his big claw blocking the opening. If you find him, just put him back & leave him alone until his shell hardens. He'll walk around when he's ready.
   
If you don't find him hiding in another shell, there's nothing to be done except hope. Even though lots of people have hermit crabs, very little is actually known about what makes them sick. This may just be a lesson in death for your son; he may want to get another one to replace him. I had a series of about 8 hermit crabs over several years.
   
I also recommend getting 2 or 3 crabs, it's more fun that way.
   
Oh, do you use Instant Ocean to make his salt-water dish? (He needs that in addition to the fresh water). He should also have gravel that's actually crushed coral; you can buy it in aquarium stores or in the fish section of Petsmart. The coral sheds calcium that the hermit crab uses to build new exoskeletons. He also should have a little shelter to hide under, like a coconut shell or something.
   
If you don't have this stuff, let me know, I'll give you a quick primer on keeping hermit crabs.
   
This is an educated guess, as I don't know exactly what he looks like.
   
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Dec 5th, 2008 09:03
Maryland
AngelaH
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No he did not shed his exoskeleton, he is still alive with out any legs or claws. I move him from his sand to his food and water every other hour so he can eat and drink and see his enviroment. he is a crab who's leggs just fell off. He does eat and drink and he comes out to look around I just don't know what happenend. I hope they grow back. Since I have a daycare he is considered our disabled pet. Thanks for all the info though I didn't know that a land crab needed salt water and fresh water. I do not have any crush coral all i have is sand in this habitat.
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