Do Hermit Crabs Need a Heat Lamp? (DO THIS NOW!!)

Hermit crabs flourish in their natural habitat, which is why when they’re in captivity, you want to imitate the same conditions. Part of this is maintaining the right temperature inside their tank. This is where the thought of whether or not they need a heat lamp comes in. 

In this article, we will see whether or not heat lamps are an essential requirement for hermit crabs. We will also recommend some of our favorite heaters available.  

Do Hermit Crabs Need a Heat Lamp

Do Hermit Crabs Need Heat to Survive?

Yes, hermit crabs need heat to survive. This is because, unlike humans and other mammals, they cannot generate their own heat. Instead, they have to rely on their external environment to regulate heat in their body. This is why they are called “ectothermic” animals. 

This means that, without any source of heat in their tanks, your hermit crab could die from the cold. 

Besides hermit crabs, other animals with this type of behavior are fish, amphibians, and reptiles. 

Do Hermit Crabs Need a Heat Lamp?

Yes, hermit crabs need a heat lamp, especially in a cooler environment. The heat lamp helps to provide warmth and mimic the natural sunlight in their native habitat. This is extremely important for their overall well-being. 

Having said that, while hermit crabs need heat, too much of it can cause problems. So in addition to a heat lamp, you will also need a good thermostat and thermometer to keep the tank from overheating.

How Do You Give a Hermit Crab Heat?

There are several ways to provide heat for hermit crabs. The most common methods include using a heat lamp, an under-tank heater (UTH), or a heat pad. 

Let’s look at each one in detail: 

Heat Lamps

Heat lamps are popular among hermit crab owners because they not only provide warmth but also emit light. The goal is to provide the crabs with heat similar to the natural heat of the sun. As I mentioned earlier, a heat lamp shouldn’t be used independently. Rather, you want to combine it with a thermostat and thermometer to monitor and regulate the temperature. 

Under-Tank Heaters (UTHs)

UTHs are placed beneath the tank and provide a warm surface for the hermit crabs to rest on. The entire setup creates a temperature gradient in the tank, with one side being warmer and the other being cooler. 

Heat Pads

Heat pads are very similar to UTHs, but as their name suggests, they are more like “adhesives” and are attached directly outside the enclosure. They also create a warm area for the hermit crabs to sit on, offering an alternative method to provide heat.

You can use these independently or combine them. Whatever option you choose, the heater type will determine where to place the device. 

What to Look at When Choosing a Heat Lamp for Hermit Crabs 

Here are the main factors to consider when choosing a heat lamp for hermit crabs:

  • Heat Output and Wattage: Hermit crabs require a specific temperature range to thrive, typically between 72 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. When selecting a heat lamp, check the wattage and heat output to ensure it can maintain the right temperature for your crabitat. Larger tanks may need higher-wattage lamps, while smaller tanks may require lower-wattage.
  • Type of Heat Lamp: There are various types of heat lamps available, such as incandescent bulbs, halogen lamps, and ceramic heat emitters. Incandescent bulbs and halogen lamps emit both heat and light, while ceramic heat emitters only produce heat without visible light. Consider the natural behavior of your crabs and how they respond to different light conditions.
  • Safety Features: Safety should be a top priority when choosing a heat lamp. Look for lamps with built-in safety features, such as a protective mesh or guard to prevent accidental burns or contact with the hot bulb. Additionally, ensure the lamp has a sturdy and secure fixture that can be safely attached to the tank.

What are the Best Heat Lamps for Hermit Crabs?

Here are three of the best heat lamp for hermit crabs setups:

  • Zoo Med Repti Basking Spot Lamp: This lamp is quite popular for hermit crab enclosures. It’s a halogen lamp that imitates the natural rays of the sun. It has the shape of a reflector with UVA output. The lamp is meant to be used for 10-12 hours a day.  
  • Fluker’s Ceramic Heat Emitter: This is a high-efficiency emitter that releases only infrared heat and no light, which means it won’t disturb the natural day-night cycle of your crabs. It provides heat for 24 hours, which makes it perfect for both desert and tropical reptiles. The wattage is the standard 100 watts. 
  • Exo Terra Sun-Glo Basking Spot Lamp: The Exo Terra Sun-Glo Basking Spot Lamp provides a focused beam of heat and light, closely resembling natural sunlight. It has a built-in reflector that enhances the heat and light output, ensuring that your hermit crabs receive the warmth they require. The lamp comes in different wattages and is suitable for various tank sizes.

NB: Regularly check the heat lamp and replace it if you notice any signs of wear or malfunction. 

What Kind of Heater Do Hermit Crabs Need?

When it comes to choosing a heater for your hermit crabs, you should consider their specific needs. 

Heat lamps provide warmth from above the tank, similar to the sun’s rays, while UTHs and heat pads are placed below the tank to create a warm surface for the crabs to rest on. 

In fact, sometimes, you may need to combine UTH and lights to maintain appropriate temperatures. 

How Do I Know If My Hermit Crab Is Too Cold?

Because they are ectothermic creatures, hermit crabs are usually sensitive to temperature changes. You don’t want them to get too cold as they can have a terrible effect on their health.  

This is why it’s important to monitor the temperature inside the enclosure regularly and make adjustments when needed to ensure the crabs are always comfortable.

Sluggishness, inactivity, and hiding for extended periods are all signs that it’s cold inside. 

What Temperature Kills Hermit Crabs?

Extreme temperatures, whether too hot or too cold, can be fatal to hermit crabs.

In general, the recommended temperature for their crabitat is 75 to 85 degrees F during the day and 65 to 75 degrees at night. Anything outside this range can make them very uncomfortable and might eventually lead to their death. 

But if you can keep the temperature at 75 degrees at all times, there won’t be issues. You can use a good thermometer to always monitor the temperature. 

How to Keep Hermit Crabs Warm Without a Heater

In case of emergencies or if you cannot use a traditional heater, there are alternative methods you can use to keep your hermit crabs warm. Wrapping the tank with insulating materials, using heat packs designed for reptile enclosures, or placing the tank near a warmer area in your home can help provide temporary warmth for your crustacean companions.

Let’s go over each of these methods:

Insulating the Tank

One of the simplest and most effective ways to retain heat within a hermit crab enclosure is by insulating it. You can achieve this by wrapping the sides and back of the tank with insulating materials like foam boards or insulating blankets. This helps to trap heat inside the tank and prevent it from escaping, creating a warmer environment for the crabs.

Heat Packs

Heat packs designed for reptile enclosures can be used as a temporary heat source for hermit crabs. These disposable packs generate heat when activated and can be placed in the tank to provide warmth. However, be cautious not to use them directly under the hermit crabs or make direct contact with the crabs to avoid burns.

Warm Water Baths

Providing warm water baths is another way to warm up your hermit crabs. Use dechlorinated, slightly warm water (around 80 degrees F) and allow your hermit crabs to soak for a brief period. This will help to regulate their body temperature. 

Covering the Tank at Night

Covering the hermit crab tank with a towel or blanket at night can help trap the heat generated during the day. This method can help maintain a more stable temperature inside the tank, reducing the risk of significant fluctuations.

Other things you could do include:

  • Placing the tank in warmer areas of your home
  • Using incandescent bulbs
  • Reducing air conditioning in your home

Do Hermit Crabs Need a Humidifier?

Hermit crabs are native to tropical environments and require a certain level of humidity to thrive. A hygrometer should be used to monitor the humidity level in their tank, which should ideally be around 70-80%. While some tanks may naturally maintain this humidity, others may need the assistance of a humidifier or misting to achieve the appropriate levels.

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