How Long Do Hermit Crabs Sleep?

Hermit crabs are considered curious and playful creatures, which is part of the reason why they are such a popular pet, besides the fact that they are very easy to care for. But when you bring your hermit crab home and it suddenly appears inactive, you may start to worry. Did something happen to your hermit crab? Are they sick or just sleeping? This leads to a myriad of questions, which we hope to answer in this article.


How Long Do Hermit Crabs Sleep?

Crabs are nocturnal creatures, so they naturally sleep during the day and come out at night. This is mainly due to the problem of dehydration. Crabs dry out very quickly in the hot sun, so staying inside is the best way to keep crabs safe and hydrated. Because of this, crabs tend to be most active at night, rather than during the day. Of course this may be disappointing for you hermit owners who want to enjoy their new pet! However, if you feed hermit crabs in the morning, they are more likely to stay awake and active.

The hermit crab couldn’t sleep all day. However, many of them may stay in their shells for most of the day, unless coaxed. What they do there all the time is anyone’s guess, but it’s estimated that hermit crabs actually sleep 6-8 hours, similar to humans.

Does the Hermit Crab Always Sleep In Its Shell?

sleeping hermit crab

Hermit crab shells offer protection from a variety of predators who find them a delicacy. But if it’s too humid there, the hermit crab will leave its safe shell and bury itself in the sand. Crabs become very active when it’s humid, which is why they don’t always sleep in their shells when the humidity is high enough.

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Can Hermit Crab Sleep Stacked?

This is normal hermit crab behavior. They are wonderfully social creatures, and in the wild, they live in large colonies. In these colonies, you’ll see lots of crabs sleeping together, so it’s not surprising or strange to see them with domestic crab colonies.

How Do Temperature and Humidity Affect Hermit Crab Sleep?

hermit crab is sleeping

If your hermit crab’s environment has the wrong temperature or humidity, it can cause it to spend more time sleeping and much less time active. That’s not always the cause of such behavior, but if you see this behavior, you’ll want to make sure that the conditions in your crab’s habitat are ideal. Humidity should be 70% or higher. The temperature should be between 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

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How to Wake a Sleeping Hermit Crab

If you want to wake your hermit crabs, there are a few easy ways to do it.

1. Put Active Crab Nearby

As we mentioned, hermit crabs are social creatures. If you place one active crab near another sleeping crab, it will wake the sleeping crab for you.

2. Put the Crab in the Palm of Your Hand

hermit crab in someone's palm

Lift the crab and place it in the palm of your outstretched hand. Its sensory antennae will sense changes in the environment, awakening the crab. But be careful, crabs can pinch you in self-defense as they come out of their shells!

3. take a bath

You can take crabs and dip them in room temperature dechlorinated water. If the water isn’t room temperature, it could shock the crabs, so make sure the water is the right temperature.

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4. Adjust Temperature

If the temperature in your crab’s current habitat isn’t between 65 and 80 degrees, then do what you have to do to adjust it. Your crab will be much more active in this temperature range.

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Hermit crabs are nocturnal creatures, so you shouldn’t expect to see too much activity from them during the day. It is said that you can persuade crabs to stay awake with some food. If you want to wake the crab, simply bathe it or place it in the palm of your hand. Even though hermit crabs spend most of the day inactive, they probably only sleep about 6-8 hours like us. If you think your crab is sleeping too much, then you should ensure that the cage is between 65-80 degrees with a humidity level above 70% to encourage maximum hermit crab activity.

Looking for more information about hermit crabs? Check out our articles at:

  • How to Tell a Hermit Crab Type (with Pictures)
  • Why Do Hermit Crabs Dig? 4 Possible Reasons
  • Is Your Hermit Crab Leaving Its Shell? Here’s What To Do!

Featured Image Credit: Geekgal, Shutterstock