Step 1: Healthy Food Mix (method One)
- grains (wheat bran, oats, amaranth, wild rice)
- seeds (chia, pumpkin, sesame)
- unsweeted dried fruits (goji berries, mango, pineapple, raisins, coconut)
- unsalted nuts (walnuts, pistachios, almonds)
- random (granola mixes, nutritional yeast flakes, etc.)
Don't have access to a bulk food section? Check your pantry for things like:
- granola crumbs from the bottom of the bag
- healthy crackers or chips (minimal salt, no onion flavoring)
Step 2: Gather Ingredients & Tools
- seeds, nuts, grains, etc. from the bulk food section or your pantry (appropriate amounts shown in bags)
- calcium powder
- dried land bugs and water "bugs": mealworms, river shrimp, bloodworms, crickets. I've found Walmart has a better price on these than pet stores.
- Small plastic tubs (1 cup capacity or less), lacking those, you can use plastic baggies.
- Desiccant packets. Not crucial, but very useful in keeping your mixes fresh and dry. They can be purchased on amazon for less than $5 for a large pack.
- Mixing bowl, spoon
- Small mortar and pestle. Also not crucial, but it's handy for grinding food especially if you have small crabs.
- Cutting board, knife
Step 3: Chop Fruit and Nuts
Step 4: Choose Your Ingredients
Step 5: Combine & Package
Your mixes are done. Use a dedicated spoon to stir the ingredients before serving. Usually one spoonful per feeding bowl is a good amount.
If you keep your mixes stacked, move the mix you're using to the bottom of the stack after feeding to ensure daily rotation :)
Step 6: Popcorn! (method Two)
For perfect hermie popcorn:
- plain corn kernels
- paper lunch bag
- small amount of coconut or other vegetable oil
Step 7: Stir & Microwave
For the love of all that is holy, watch the popcorn the whole time! I set a microwave fire today while making this. I wish I were kidding. As long as you watch and smell carefully this probably won't happen. Kids, please ask parents for help with this one!
Let the popcorn cool and store it in a baggie. Hermies don't mind if it's a little burnt or stale after a few months. You can also add it to a food mix!
Step 8: Chia Garden! (method Three)
Step 9: Poke a Trench, Plant & Spray
In about two days you'll see the sprouts. Your crabs will start munching on them soon after and soon the "garden" will be gone. But it's easy to replant. You should be misting the crabs with water daily, so the seeds will be watered in that process and flourish effortlessly.
Hermit crabs use modified gills to breath, so their crabitat needs to be nice and moist at all times!
Step 10: Leftovers! (method Four)
If you eat organic produce and eggs, you can share the waste from them with your crabs. They are natural scavengers and will enjoy crunching through egg shells (great source of calcium) and pinching pieces from your apple cores and wilted produce.
Why organic? Pesticides, which are bad for your body, are very harmful to theirs.
Step 11: An Example of a Fancy Hermie Meal...
- Wondering if a food is hermit crab safe? Check out this list. In general, avoid onion, garlic and citrus.
- When picking any kind of dried meat it is critical to look at the ingredient list for a pesticide called Ethoxyquin. It is a common preservative in many commercial hermit crab and fish foods and is poisonous to your crabs.
- Have questions about hermit crab care? Please feel free to ask me, I would love to help. People tend to receive poor or inadequate advice at the pet store.
- For more ways to spoil your hermit crabs, check out my other two Instructables on this topic: Make a coconut castle and more food ideas.