Healthy New Jersey

New Jersey Animal Emergency

Hermit Crabs

What Do I Do Before a Disaster?


Hermit crabs have many unique needs that could be challenging to meet in an emergency. Additionally, most hermit crab enclosures are large glass aquariums that cannot be moved easily during an evacuation. Before an emergency happens, consider different types of emergencies and whether sheltering your crabs in place or evacuating them would be the best option for you and your crabs.

  • Shelter-in-place – keeping crabs in their enclosure and modifying the enclosure to meet crabs’ needs during an emergency.
    • Example: Winter storm with a power outage for a
  • Evacuation – moving crabs to a temporary enclosure and taking them with
    • Example: Wildfire where your house is

No emergency plan is one-size-fits all, so please consider what is best for you, your family, and your pets.



    • Shelter-in-place:
      • Top off water pools and provide enough food – ideally, we do not want to open the enclosure during the emergency, since this will drop temperature and humidity.
      • Cover enclosure with reflective emergency blankets to trap heat in the These can also be taped to the enclosure to help seal the enclosure.
      • Cover the emergency blankets with a larger blanket or comforter – this will also help keep heat in the enclosure.
      • Keep the room with the enclosure warm for as long as possible – close doors, cover windows with blankets, keep thermostat at a higher temperature until power is
      • If the power is off for an extended period of time (i.e., days), consider adding disposable hand warmers wrapped in washcloths into the enclosure for heat and humidity.


    • Evacuation:
      • Prepare a plastic storage bin/tote with lid - place enough substrate in it to cover the bottom. This substrate does not need to be deep.
      • Prepare a “Go Bag” for your crabs and keep in an easily accessible place. Have food, water, containers for pools, and hides ready to You can also bring an under-the-tank heater if evacuating to a place with electricity/outlets (i.e., a hotel).
        • Pools and food can be placed in the enclosure after evacuation is complete. Placing these items before evacuating can cause flooding and dirty the enclosure.
    • Moisten moss and place in the storage bin/tote to provide humidity during
    • Place crabs into storage
      • If you have molters buried, it is up to you on whether to keep them buried and shelter in place vs digging them The type of emergency and time available may limit your ability to dig up buried crabs. If digging up a molter, make sure to take any exoskeleton near the molter with them and keep molters in their own separate containers with moistened moss. The transport container can be small, like a plastic food container.

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