Crustacean Dormancy

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    • #18569

      Hi. I’m a first time user of this board. I am a hobbyist with a question that I am having trouble answering.

      I own a “Purple pincher” hermit crab (Coenobita clypeatus). She has been a pet for roughly 18 years, 12 of that has been with me.

      In nature, this crab is found in southern Florida mangrove swamps. I am making an assumption that is where the particular crab in question came from. From all forums and online information, hobbyists are advised to keep temperatures in the range of 72-80F for this crab. However it seems that the temperature in Mangrove swamps dips to 66F in the winter. I’ve read that at this temperature and below, the hermit crab will retreat into a state of dormancy. This is presumably a survival mode to conserve body heat. Hobbyist forums do not seem to have any information on dormancy but I get the impression that they think it should be avoided. They advise not allowing temperatures to reach 66F and hint that to go below is unhealthy for the crab or possibly fatal.

      It seems obvious to me that since winter is a yearly event, dormancy is a yearly cyclic event also.

      My questions center around dormancy; Is dormancy a normal, healthy part of the hermit crab’s life? Should I allow temperatures in my crab’s tank to simulate natural cycles until the crab reaches a state of dormancy? If a crab is prevented from going into dormancy due to the unnatural environment of a pet crab, will the pet crab be harmed or deprived?

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