Hermit crabs rarely mate in captivity, as they call for an unlikely set of situations to bear young. This means that your reproduction procedure is not always well understood. Come clarify, hermit crabs lay eggs, not live young.

You are watching: Do crabs lay eggs or give birth

Hermit crabs lug as numerous as 50,000 eggs. The pregnant mrs will bring these eggs in a sac fastened to her abdomen for around a month. Once the eggs are all set to hatch, they room laid in the sea. This concludes the hermit crab’s involvement with her babies. She will certainly then seek her next mate and also repeat the process.

The breeding and birth procedure of hermit crabs is unique. This provides it rare. Once you understand how particular hermit crabs are around breeding, that a wonder the they room as populated as lock are.

Table of Contents hide
1 do Hermit Crabs Lay egg or birth Live Young?
1.1 Where carry out Hermit Crabs Lay their Eggs?
1.2 just how to phone call if a Hermit Crab is Pregnant
1.3 What carry out Hermit Crab egg Look Like?
1.4 How countless Eggs do Hermit Crabs Lay in ~ a Time?
1.5 perform Hermit Crabs Lay eggs in Captivity?
2 how Do Hermit Crabs Reproduce?
2.1 just how Do Hermit Crabs Mate?
2.2 how Do Hermit Crabs pick a Mate?
2.3 What reproduction Conditions do Hermit Crabs Need?
2.4 room My Hermit Crabs adjustment or Fighting?
3 What Happens once a Hermit Crab’s egg Hatch?
3.1 Zoeae
3.2 Megalopa
3.3 youth
3.4 Adult
3.5 perform Hermit Crabs acknowledge Their Babies?
3.6 connected Articles:

Do Hermit Crabs Lay eggs or birth Live Young?

Hermit crabs never ever birth live young. They space hatched from eggs and also undergo a four-stage life cycle prior to reaching adulthood. As soon as these eggs are hatched, the mother has actually nothing an ext to do with them.

There is no clear and also defined age at i beg your pardon hermit crabs reach sex-related maturity. Fertility is based an ext upon size and also weight. A female must have enough body massive to lug her egg in a sac on her abdomen.

The journal of Natural background claims that a length in between 4.5 and 6mm is considered ideal for mating and reproducing. Hermit crabs are generally considered adults after they grow beyond 3.6 mm.

Once maturity is reached, hermit crabs have the right to breed at any type of age. They do not experience menopause and also can live for approximately 40 years. In theory, castle can proceed laying eggs for this whole lifespan.

However, due to the big array the predators and also other risks in the wild, hermit crabs rarely live this long. As a result, most hermit crabs breed as frequently as they have the right to while young. The much more eggs are produced, the likelier the types will survive and thrive.

Where carry out Hermit Crabs Lay your Eggs?

The gestation period of hermit crab eggs is around one month. After this time, the hermit crab will release she eggs right into the sea. The egg hatch on call with saltwater and also start their journey of evolution.

The female may wait because that the birds to come in and lay she eggs top top the seabed. This is rare, though. Hermit crabs cannot organize their breath indefinitely, and also many types of fish feed on hermit crabs. This renders the s a dangerous location to dwell for prolonged periods.

As a result, countless hermit crabs instead opt come toss eggs into the ocean from a safe distance. Some hermit crabs will also climb a tree front of this. The female is protecting herself, boosting her possibilities of breeding and laying much more eggs in the future.

How come Tell if a Hermit Crab is Pregnant

Ensure the hermit crab in concern is female. Male hermit crabs room not qualified of bearing young. Together per the newspaper of the Marine organic Association of the united Kingdom, some hermit crabs room intersex. These pets typically live – and also breed – as males, though. The defining physical features of woman hermit crabs are:

Smooth, hairless legs (those the a male space covered v fine hairs)Small gonopores above the behind walking legsEgg sac ~ above the next of the abdomen

The latter is, through far, the easiest means to phone call if a hermit crab is female. It is also an essential to discovering if the hermit crab is pregnant. Once fertilized, this sac will certainly be filled v visible eggs. The woman will stop saltwater at this point, aiming to avoid premature hatching of her eggs.

Some pregnant hermit crabs take it this avoidance to a depth level, burrowing under the sand. Her pet will certainly still need to emerge to eat and drink. She is likelier to freshwater because that the latter, though.


What carry out Hermit Crab eggs Look Like?

Hermit crab egg look bright, brick red when the female at first starts to lug them. Over a month, these eggs will grow increasingly prominent. The sac top top the hermit crab’s abdomen will swell.

The closer the eggs room to hatching, they will begin to fade in color. Do not worry if the eggs room no longer as vibrant. As the gestation duration reaches its herbal conclusion, the egg sac will end up being a dark the shade of gray.

How countless Eggs execute Hermit Crabs Lay in ~ a Time?

The bigger a hermit crab is in size, the more eggs she will certainly carry. The fertility the the male that bred v the female will certainly also impact the number of eggs. Hermit crabs birthing their very first clutch of eggs may lug a smaller quantity.

All the same, the brief answer come this inquiry is, “a lot”. Many hermit crabs will certainly not bring less than a thousand eggs at a time. Some will birth as countless as 50,000 in ~ a time. This eggs space tiny, for this reason it will not it is in painful because that the hermit crab.

This go not median that 50,000 brand-new hermit crabs will certainly be born. As we will comment on shortly, very couple of of these egg survive past the many primitive step of the hermit crab life cycle. This is why females carry so countless eggs. That a numbers game.

Do Hermit Crabs Lay eggs in Captivity?

As discussed, female hermit crabs lay their eggs in the ocean. This method that hermit crabs adjustment in captivity is very rare. A female will certainly not show any type of interest in breeding is she will certainly not have the ability to safely lay she eggs.

It is theoretically feasible to convince pet hermit crabs come breed. Alas, it takes patience and also a professional environment. You’ll need to trick a female into thinking that she is in the wild. This needs time and resource beyond the reach of many owners.

This way that you deserve to keep males and also females in the same tank. You will certainly not require to problem about populace explosions. Females will certainly still go into season, and also males will certainly still present interest. The female will certainly not reciprocate this desire, though.

How perform Hermit Crabs Reproduce?

The reproduction process of hermit crabs follows several unique circumstances. These are almost impossible come replicate in captivity. This is why pet hermit crabs rarely breed. The procedure will be together follows:

Female enters reproduction season, publication a pheromone come announce thisMales finding this pheromone and compete for mating privilegesThe female shows that she is interested in reproduction or hides in her shellSuccessful masculine ‘guards’ the female come ward off amorous competitorsThe hermit crabs mate, fertilizing the femaleThe female carries almost everywhere from 800 – 50,000 egg in a sacAfter around a month, the mrs enters saltwater and also lays she eggs

After mating, the hermit crabs go back to their business. Males present no additional interest in reproduction with the female. She is no longer releasing adjustment pheromones. The hermit crabs live in harmony till the woman is next in season. The process then starts anew.

How do Hermit Crabs Mate?

The selection of a mating partner lies solely with female hermit crabs. As described by the journal of Crustacean Biology, males cannot force mating ~ above females. So, competition have the right to be fierce amongst males.

This leader to what is known as, ‘guarding’ behavior. If a male is interested in breeding, it will certainly follow the woman around and also fight off rivals for her affections. If the female is not interested, she will certainly hide in her shell. If she is willing to breed, the hermit crabs will certainly mate.

During mating, both hermit crabs remain in their corresponding shells. Masculine hermit crabs have a penis roughly half the size of the abdomen. This way they deserve to mate there is no placing themselves in any kind of danger.

The two hermit crabs will push their bodies against each other. The male will insert its dick into the female’s gonopores, located over the behind walking legs. As soon as spermatozoa space released, the female is fertilized.

How execute Hermit Crabs pick a Mate?

Males will typically be attractive to larger females. This says that the female will carry an ext eggs, thus propagating the species. The an ext eggs are hatched, the higher the potential for much more hermit crabs.

This is important for two key reasons. The first is survival. Hermit crabs live in big colonies as there is security in numbers. Wild hermit crabs have numerous natural predators, and also land-based hermit crabs battle to protect themselves.

Also, an ext hermit crabs mean more resources. While hermit crabs might occasionally come into conflict over food, they value a big population. When new hermit crabs sign up with a colony, more shells are available for trading.

Females additionally often breed with the largest male that mirrors interest. This is partly as result of logistics; bigger males will certainly be more successful in guarding a female versus smaller competitors.

Female hermit crabs additionally instinctively assume that bigger males carry an ext spermatozoa. Interestingly, as per Proceedings that the imperial Society, the is smaller, an ext timid males that often tend to enjoy greater rates of fertility.

What breeding Conditions carry out Hermit Crabs Need?

Hermit crabs perform not have an official mating season. Most population expansions take place over the spring and also summer, though. Hermit crabs do not grow in cold conditions. Advancement dictates that they breed as soon as their young have the ideal chance the survival.

During the warmer climes, as discussed, a sexually tires male and female as compelled for breeding. That is not uncommon for females to breed v multiple partners to develop the ideal chance the success.

The hermit crabs will require plenty the saltwater to breed. A female hermit crab will certainly not mate unless she is specific she has somewhere to lay her eggs. This way that hermit crabs will certainly congregate close to the tide.

Are mine Hermit Crabs adjustment or Fighting?

As discussed, hermit crabs seldom mate in captivity – however this go not stop males native trying. A handful of males will contend for the privilege of reproduction with the woman in question. This have the right to lead come fighting.

These disputes will rarely turn violent. The crabs are trying to admire the female, mirroring their viability together a mate. This will normally take the kind of antennae rings or with tasks of strength. This may incorporate shell rapping or knocking the competitor crab turn off its feet.

A male that enjoys success in this display screen will begin to guard the female. This will mainly involve following her around and not permitting other males close. The female, for she part, will hide in her shell, refusing the possibility to breed.

This will just last about three days. A hermit crab’s time in season is short. ~ a couple of days, a female will prevent releasing adjustment pheromones. This will break the spell end the male, that will lose all interest. The hermit crabs will certainly then go back to living in harmony.

What Happens as soon as a Hermit Crab’s egg Hatch?

The life bicycle of hermit crabs is damaged into four stages. Adulthood is the longest the these. Unfortunately, few eggs laid by a female hermit crab do it this far. The four life stages are as follows:


Once the eggs of a hermit crab hatch, zoea climb to the surface ar of the ocean. Zoea space larvae the float ~ above the height of the sea, together plankton. Unfortunately, this provides zoea a usual snack for passing whales. Many will not survive past this life stage.

It takes in between 30 and also 60 days because that zoea to evolve. If they last this long, the zoea will begin to relocate toward the coast of the ocean. From here, enduring zoea evolve right into megalopae, the next life phase of the hermit crab.


A megalopa is a tiny, post-larval life phase for hermit crabs. The is impossible to study a megalopa there is no the aid of a magnifying glass. If you execute so, friend will notice that this life phase resembles a cross in between a hermit crab and a lobster.

The megalopa phase lasts around 30 days. Again, couple of megalopae survive an ext than a few hours. If a group of megalopae increase from the sea, castle will most likely eat each other for strength and also energy. Those that survive will burrow under the sand and evolve further.


After roughly 30 days, the megalopa will arise from the sand as a youth hermit crab. In ~ this stage, the crab will begin to resemble your ultimate pet. It will certainly be tiny though, for this reason will most likely seek a gastropod shell as result of its diminutive size.

Juvenile hermit crabs molt constantly, getting size and mass every time. If the juvenile can survive lengthy enough, it will ultimately reach adulthood. In ~ this point, that will begin to look for the firm of various other hermit crabs. A larger, an ext permanent covering will likewise be required.

See more: How Tall Is The Guy Who Plays Hagrid, Error 403 (Forbidden)


If the hermit crab survives the three life stages over and grows to over 3.6 mm in length, that is taken into consideration an adult. Adult hermit crabs flourish a little bolder. They will certainly make a beat for leading status in a colony and start seeking to breed themselves.