Fun Australian Land Hermit Crab Facts For Kids

Abhishek Mishra
Jan 05, 2023 By Abhishek Mishra
Originally Published on Aug 29, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
Interesting Australian land hermit crab facts for kids.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.5 Min

A terrestrial hermit crab species, the Australian land hermit crab (Coenobita variabilis), is found primarily in Australia. This species is endemic to northern parts of Australia, northern western Australia, and northern Queensland. The species is also found in New Zealand.

The maximum length of the carapace or shell is around 1.6 in (40 mm). The hermit crab is either red or light brown in color, a few are paler sand as well.

This species possesses two dark ovals in the front of the head. The crab also has long eyestalks that are red or brown in color. The claws are hairy and have dark vertical stripes, and the legs are filled with dark brown spots, while the abdomen of the species is generally short and fat.

The species closely resembles the Pacific hermit crab in appearance. They don't possess a permanent shell and generally replace the older one with an empty shell of other sea mollusks and snails.

This species generally is found on intertidal rocky shores, mangrove forests, and estuaries and is also considered one of the most popular crab pets in Australia. The species is often referred to as a crazy crab in Australia. Unlike other crabs, the Australian land hermit crab is a relatively low-maintenance pet.

Let's read more fun facts about the Australian land hermit crab, and if you find this article interesting, don't forget to check out exciting facts about different animals like the Sally Lightfoot crab and the king crab.

Australian Land Hermit Crab Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Australian land hermit crab?

The Australian land hermit crab (Coenobita variabilis) is an endemic species of hermit crab found in Australia. You can easily identify this species by its red-colored body and hairy claws. These social creatures generally dwell in tropical areas near water.

What class of animal does an Australian land hermit crab belong to?

The Australian land hermit crab (Coenobita variabilis) belongs to the class of Malacostraca, the Coenobitidae family, and the Coenobita genus. The species generally resembles the Pacific hermit crab in appearance.

How many Australian land hermit crabs are there in the world?

The exact population of the Australian land hermit crab (Coenobita variabilis) species is not known as of now, but the numbers seem to be stable and these crabs are considered great pets.

Where does an Australian land hermit crab live?

As the name suggests, the Australian land hermit crab (Coenobita variabilis) is a native terrestrial hermit crab to Australia. The species is found in northern regions of the country, Western Australia, and Queensland. The species has also been spotted in a few parts of New Zealand.

What is an Australian land hermit crab's habitat?

The terrestrial hermit crab generally inhabits tropical areas near water, intertidal rocky shores, mangrove forests, and estuaries. The hermit crab thrives in a humid, tropical environment, and unlike other crabs, this species prefers to spend most of its time out of the water.

Who do Australian land hermit crabs live with?

The Australian land hermit crab (Coenobita variabilis) is said to be quite a gregarious or social creature that loves to live in colonies. In the wild, the species not only form groups with other fellow crab species but thrives with other animals as well.

In the breeding season, the terrestrial hermit crab is generally found in pairs. While it is recommended to provide them with huge-sized tanks, they love exploring the environment with other hermit crabs. They are nocturnal and remain active during the night.

How long does an Australian land hermit crab live?

The average life span of the terrestrial hermit crab is not known, but hermit crabs, in general, can live for more than 30 years in their natural habitats.

Several studies also reveal that hermit crabs do not survive for more than a year in captivity due to a sudden change of environment, but if proper care is given, these crabs can live for around 20 years.

How do they reproduce?

Very little is known about the mating pattern of this terrestrial species, but it is said that the Australian land hermit crab generally follows similar methods to reproduce as other hermit crabs. Female hermit crabs generally use pheromones to attract potential males, while males detect the chemical to approach them.

Before breeding, males generally fight over females and the female decides the perfect partner.

Both partners generally mate within their shells to remain safe and insemination takes place without leaving the shell. Once fertilized, females generally carry eggs within their abdomen for around a month while the young hermit crab develops in several stages.

The first two stages, known as nauplius and protozoa occur inside the egg, while the larvae hatch at the third stage, zoea. The litter size of the Australian land hermit crab is not known.

What is their conservation status?

 The International Union for Conservation of Nature has Not Evaluated the status of this species, the most common reason for this would be its large population. Unlike other crabs, this terrestrial species holds an important place in the pet world. While in the wild, the hermit crab faces threats such as pollution, loss of habitat, and predation.

Australian Land Hermit Crab Fun Facts

What do Australian land hermit crabs look like?

Australian land hermit crabs are found in several sizes, and the size ranges from a small cup to a tennis ball. These hermit crabs are primarily found either in red or pale sand colors.

The color tone generally depends on the age of the crab. Unlike other true crabs, hermit crabs don't have permanent flat shells. The claws of this species are hairy and possess dark vertical stripes, while the legs also have multiple dark brown spots.

How cute are they?

The most fascinating fact about hermit crabs is about their temporary shells. These crabs generally fight over shells with other hermit crabs. Its very funny to see snail shell on the back of the crab. Also, this species is one of the most loved hermit crabs found in Australia.

How do they communicate?

Like other crab species, hermit crabs use similar methods to communicate with other each. They are known for releasing pheromones that are used to attract and find other members.

The primary use of this chemical is during the breeding season for females. Also, hermit crabs are known for rubbing certain body parts to produce sound and this process is known as stridulation.

How big is an Australian land hermit crab?

The maximum length of the carapace or shell is around 1.6 in (40 mm). These hermit crabs are quite smaller than green crabs and blue crabs.

How fast can an Australian land hermit crab run?

The exact speed of this species is not known as of now, but Australian land hermit crabs are quite active during the night. Other species of hermit crabs can move 4 in (10.2 cm) per second.

How much does an Australian land hermit crab weigh?

The exact weight of this species is not known as of now. In general, hermit crabs weigh 7-18 oz (198-510 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names given to male and female crabs. People often refer to them as Australian land hermit crabs. Both male and female hermit crabs look similar.

What would you call a baby Australian land hermit crab?

No particular name is given to a baby Australian land hermit crab. A young crab is known as zoea in the third stage.

What do they eat?

These hermit crabs are omnivores and the most common diet includes planktonic larvae in the wild, but they are natural scavengers. People often feed them pieces of meat and raw vegetables in captivity. These crabs are preyed upon by smallmouth bass and clearnose skate in the wild.

Are they poisonous?

No, these crabs are not poisonous but can attack humans if they feel threatened.

Would they make a good pet?

Australian land hermit crabs are considered great pets. In Australia, the cost of small crabs is around $7, while big crabs will cost you around $30.

Did you know...

The Tasmanian giant crab is the biggest crab in the world and this species weighs around 39 lb (17.6 kg).

Can you have a hermit crab as a pet in Australia?

Yes, having a hermit crab in Australia is legal.

How many babies do Australian land hermit crab lay?

The litter size of the species is not known currently, but female hermit crabs lay around 800-50,000 eggs at a time.

 Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods from our slipper lobster fun facts and lobster interesting facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable hermit crab coloring pages.

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Written by Abhishek Mishra

Bachelor of Arts specializing in History

Abhishek Mishra picture

Abhishek MishraBachelor of Arts specializing in History

As a content writer, Abhishek's passion for writing extends beyond professional content creation. With a Bachelor's degree in History from Ram Lal Anand College in Delhi, Abhishek is a skilled writer in both English and Hindi, bringing a creative flair to his work. He enjoys crafting satires and poetry and is dedicated to producing engaging and informative content.

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Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

Pradhanya Rao picture

Pradhanya RaoBachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

With a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Christ University, Bangalore, Pradhanya's passion for the English language and literature led her to explore the field of content writing, where she has gained extensive experience in writing, reviewing, editing, and fact-checking. She has also earned certifications in Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display, and Social Media Marketing, showcasing her proficiency in digital marketing.

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