i need this.
it's really really common for a crab to die within 3 months of buying it from stress. to get to you crabs are caught on a beach, thrown into a warehouse where if they're in a painted shell, their natural shells have hole drilled into them and their squishy bums are poked with a needle until they leave the shell and take a new one (or they're frozen until near death and plucked out and made to take a painted shell, or any number of horrible things) and then they're shipped to a store where they're not taken care of properly and children pick them up and drop them and such. crabs die easily when stressed to begin with, but that's really hellish.
crabs should be kept in pairs by species. they're called hermit crabs, but on the beach, they live in huge colonies and therefore don't like being alone. when buying a new crab, try not to pick it up for a few weeks and just let it acclimate.
sometimes crabs like to burrow in sand to destress. keep your sand moist and the temperature and relative humidity above 70. you can use playsand (from the home depot) or compressed coconut bark as a substrate, don't use gravel as they can't burrow in it and it can't hold water. it's recommended to use an under tank heater as a heat source and a glass aquarium to keep them in, don't use lights as it'll dry the tank out. remember that crabs like to climb (as can climb up aquarium sealant if they have nothing else to climb on, choya (cholla) wood or cork bark or driftwood are all good investments. the crabs will climb on them as well as munch on them.) so a wire top is a good investment. if it causes the humidity to escape, cover part of it in saran wrap.
it's reccomended to keep a dish of salt and fresh water, deep enough that the crabs can partially submerge to wash the poo out of their shells with sponges in the fresh water and rocks in the salt so the smaller crabs won't drown. also, you won't have to bathe them (which stresses them out) because they'll be able to do it themselves.
your little guy could be hiding out in his shell for lots of reasons. first one being that crabs are nocturnal, so you primarily hear them clunking around at night. secondly, he might be stressed out from the travel to you or losing his friend, he might also be lonely. lastly, some crabs are just shy. i have crabs that always hide from me, some even won't come out of their shells and will "bark" at me for picking them up.
if you have any other questions, feel free to ask.
ps, if you're feeding a commerical food, make sure ethoxyquin isn't an ingredient. it's a preservative that is fatal to crustaceans. you can also suppliment a commerical food with bits of cooked meat or tuna and fruit. they're scavengers in the wild and love a variety of foods.
I did get my crab in Fla so it came with the little plastic container and the gravel rocks but its in a natural shell not a painted one. I guess I have not been taking care of it due to lack of knowledge. So is it ok to still let it live in the plastic container? Just replace the gravel with sand? My room is no where near 70 degrees its always cold in my room so I guess thats why it stays in its shell a lot. Can you get that climbing wood at any pet store? thanks ash
sadly, most people don't know proper hermit crab care. it's most important to keep it warm and humid, they make heating pads for the plastic container at petsmart so you can probably make due with that. a 10 gallon glass aquarium is the best option though. your crab will die if you don't up the heat and humidity now.
the cholla wood is really easy to find near the bird section at petsmart, or in the crab section if you're at petland.
Alicia you have truely been a help to me thank you! I am going to get that heating pad cause I dont have room for the aquarium. I am also changing out the gravel for sand and hopefully my little crab will be happier for days to come!