Types of pet crabs: Which is the best pet crab?

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A crab may not seem like an obvious choice for a pet, but they’re actually fascinating creatures with a lot to offer. And there are many different types of pet crabs to choose from… You may be surprised to learn that there are actually over 5000 different types of crab!

With so many different species choose from, which crabs make the best pets?

Different species of crab really vary in size and in their behaviour. Some of them make great pets, whereas others aren’t as suitable.

To narrow down the options, let’s look at some of the most popular types of pet crabs.

Types of pet crabs

Rainbow land crab and Halloween land crab

Rainbow land crabs are a popular type of pet crab
A rainbow land crab. Photo credit: Maciek Stanikowski (the base photo), and Arlo from JoeMonster [Public domain]
As the name suggests, these two types of crab live mostly on the land.

They are an appealing type of pet crab, as they both feature lots of bright colours.

The rainbow crab is purple, blue, orange and cream, while the Halloween crab has a black body, orange legs and purple markings.

Halloween Crab
Halloween Crab. Photo credit: Charles J Sharp [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]
They don’t grow very large so will only need a small tank. However, they’re happiest when kept in pairs, so make sure you have enough room for two.

You will need to set your tank up with both a water and a land area for these crabs to live happily and healthily.

Fiddler crabs

A pet Fiddler Crab
Fiddler Crab. Photo credit: Ianar? S?vi [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
There are 90 species of fiddler crab, mostly found in the inter-tidal zone of ocean beaches.

Male Fiddler crabs have one large claw, making them quite distinctive.

Fortunately, Fiddler crabs are not usually aggressive. This means that they can share their tank with other crabs, and potentially other species too, without the risk of fighting.

Fiddler crabs are small – only growing to about two inches across – which makes them an appealing pet. However, you will need to keep a close eye on them. It’s easy to lose sight of your pet when they’re less than two inches long.

This issue can be made even more challenging by the fact that Fiddler crabs like to hide! To keep your Fiddler crab happy, be sure to add lots of decorations – offering plenty of nooks and crannies – to your tank.

However, they do need access to salt water, which makes them more challenging to care for.

To keep pet Fiddler crabs, you will need to add aquarium salt to their water and the salt levels must be carefully controlled.

Land hermit crab

Land Hermit Crab
A Land Hermit Crab. Photo credit: Smithsonian?s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute

Found on the shores of the Caribbean, these small crabs make fascinating pets.

The hermit crab does not grow its own shell as other crabs do. Instead, hermit crabs move vacant shells that they find lying around.

You will need to provide your pet hermit crab with a variety of shells to choose from, as well as a layer of wet, calcium-rich sand to burrow into.

Vampire crab

Vampire Crabs are a popular type of pet crab
A pet Vampire Crab. Photo credit: CEphoto, Uwe Aranas

If you fancy seeing a pair of mysterious yellow eyes glowing at you from your tank of pet crabs, this is the crab for you!

Hailing from Indonesia, this stunning freshwater land crab is a beautiful purple colour.

Like other land crabs, it will need both water and land areas in its tank.

Which are the best pet crabs?

Crabs can certainly make interesting pets and there are lots of options available. There isn’t one “best type” of pet crab – there are lots of interesting types to choose from.

It’s a case of deciding which type is best for you.

Remember – pet crabs are best kept in a tank, which will need to be big enough for the species you select. You don’t want to choose a type of crab and then realise that you don’t have space for a large enough tank!

Not decided on a pet crab but considering other aquatic pets too? Explore other weird and wonderful aquatic pets now

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