Discovering Hermit Crab Eggs What Do They Really Look Like

Discovering Hermit Crab Eggs With Photo

Hermit crabs are one of the most popular crab species in aquarists. These types of captivating crustaceans are found in various marine environments worldwide. They showcase remarkable adaptability, as they can switch shells as they grow. But no one is sure about “what do hermit crab eggs look like?”

Hermit crab eggs look very small, just like tiny beads. Their eggs have spherical structures with a translucent appearance. Moreover, their eggs are mostly brown or red, and after some time, they change to gray. Hermit crabs lay eggs in captivity when their appropriate conditions are met. Then, the eggs possibly actually hatch.

Do you know hermit crab eggs play a crucial role in the life cycle of hermit crabs? Their eggs mark the beginning of a fascinating journey from egg to juvenile crustacean. Let’s follow the following guide to know everything about the eggs of hermit crabs.

Let’s dig in!

What Do Hermit Crab Eggs Look Like?

Hermit crab eggs are just like the eggs of other crab species – very small in size. Despite their super small size, the naked eye can recognize that their color is either red or brown. These are their initial colors.

After a few hours, the eggs start turning gray. Interestingly, two tiny dots start appearing right after two weeks. Do you know what these black dots are? Crabs eyes!

After the passage of one week, a gray egg with two black dots starts turning more grayish. After this, they hatch immediately, especially when the hermit crab eggs come in close contact with the oceanic water.

When Do Hermit Crabs Lay Eggs?

Hermit crabs lay eggs for the maturation process after storing them in their shells for approximately a month. Due to the hermit crabs’ tucked abdomens within their shells, the eggs remain concealed from the common eye. There are some certain female hermit crabs, particularly those of larger size, that have the capacity to lay an impressive quantity of up to 50,000 eggs. That’s shocking!

A bitter reality marks the journey from hermit crab eggs to adulthood – not all eggs manage to survive and reach maturity. Only a few of the laid eggs reach maturity and then become full-sized hermit crabs. So, that’s the main reason why hermit crabs lay a large number of eggs. Their effort is to continue their species and maximize the survival rate.

Fun Fact!

Hermit Crabs lay 800 to 50,000 eggs at one time. The number of eggs that a female hermit crab lays depends on the size of that female hermit crab. Small-sized hermit crabs lay fewer eggs, while the bigger ones lay thousands of eggs.

Hermit Crabs Lay Eggs in the Wild

Hermit Crab Eggs

In the wild, it’s a fact that hermit crabs lay their eggs in the ocean. Hermit crabs typically lay their eggs in a specialized pouch, often located near the base of their fifth pair of walking legs. This pouch provides protection and a conducive environment for the eggs to develop until they are ready to hatch.

Interestingly, scientists say that the pouch of a female hermit crab is located on the left side. For around a month, the eggs remain in the mother’s pouch. They are brown or red in the pouch and stay attached like glue to each other. From the view of a microscope, they look like a grape cluster.

From time to time, their eggs start changing color. So, when the eggs are ready to hatch, the mother hermit crab in the wild starts moving towards the ocean. During this time, the mother crab lays all eggs at once. Usually, the hermit crabs are always living near the oceans, like in forests and marshes.

So, it becomes easy for them to lay eggs in the ocean if their residence is close to the ocean. After laying all the eggs, the female hermit crab returns to do her chores. Now, it’s time for the eggs to hatch and mature in the water.

Unfortunately, the poor, innocent baby crabs are at the mercy of the waves of oceans and survive on their own. Most of the time, they are hiding from predators and spend more than seven days in the ocean. All baby hermies get separated from each other due to ocean waves.

Read also: Salt to Water Ratio for Hermit Crabs – Complete Guide

Hermit Crabs Laying Eggs in the Captivity:

I have mentioned before in the introduction that the eggs of hermit crabs rarely hatch in captivity. They require the optimal conditions to get fulfilled for hatching eggs. If these conditions are not met, the eggs do not hatch.

For example, you should provide them with a perfect saltwater pool in their captive environment. It’ll help them to hatch eggs. In this scenario, two options are available:

  • When you see that the eggs are ready to hatch, put them all in the pool.
  • Let the female hermit crab lay eggs in the provided saltwater pool directly.

In both cases, most of the eggs will hatch. In any case, if the eggs get hatched, separate the baby hermies from their parents. Let the babies stay in a saltwater pool for not more than about a month.

During this time period, give them food items like powdered spirulina, marine infusoria, and brine shrimp. They’ll grow quicker and stronger. After a month, you can add them to a beach shore transition tank where they’ll live easily. Now, it’ll be time to note them closely and let them grow patiently.

How Often Do Hermit Crabs Lay Eggs?

There is no specific time or a certain period for hermit crabs to lay eggs. Female hermies lay eggs throughout their lifespan. Female hermit crabs engage in breeding approximately once a week. This frequency contributes to the potential for multiple egg clutches throughout the year.

And when they get pregnant, they save their eggs for about a month before laying them. Consequently, a hermit crab can lay a minimum of ten egg clutches in a year due to this reproductive frequency.

What are the signs to tell a female hermit crab is carrying eggs?

You cannot tell if a female hermit crab is carrying eggs or not. This is because their eggs are not possible to see from outside the shell of hermit crabs. However, here are a few signs that I noticed in my pregnant female hermit crab:

A few shell changes:

When my female hermit crab refuses to change shells, it’s always pregnant. Similarly, if my hermit crab changes shells more frequently without any reason, it’s also a sign that she’s pregnant. Otherwise, hermit crabs change their shells in a normal pattern.

Calm temperaments:

Hermit Crabs are one of the most calm and unaggressive creatures. If you see behavioral changes in your female hermies, they will likely be pregnant. Moreover, they become aggressive and cautious while changing shells.

Breeding season:

Do you know what’s the breeding season for captivated hermit crabs? They breed between June and July or January and February. So, you can double-check the calendar if you suspect that your female hermies are pregnant or not.

So, do you know any other sign of guessing whether a female hermit crab is pregnant or not?

Frequently Asked Questions:

How To Know if My Hermit Crab Eggs Have Been Fertilized?

You’ll get to know that your hermit crab eggs are fertilized when they start showing two dots (eyes). Moreover, a female hermit crab needs a male hermit crab to fertilize its eggs.

What Is the Gestation Period of a Hermit Crab?

The gestation period of a hermit crab is about four weeks, not more than this.

Why Can’t Hermit Crabs Reproduce in Captivity?

The reproduction rate of a hermit crab in captivity is slower than that of in the wild. This is because the exact conditions are often missed in captivity that let the hermit crab reproduce successfully.

The fluctuation in ammonia, temperature, pH level, and salinity causes them to limit their reproduction rate. Remember, the temperature matters greatly for hermit crabs; it must be within 720 to 850 degrees Fahrenheit.

Do hermit crab eggs have yolk?

Yes, hermit crab eggs contain a yolk. The yolk serves as a nutrient source for the developing embryos. Also, it provides essential nourishment during the early stages of their growth within the eggs. However, you can’t see their egg yolk with the naked eye.


So, the guide about “What Do Hermit Crab Eggs Look Like?” comes to a conclusion. Their eggs look like gluish material attached to each other. If they do not hatch within proper conditions and time periods, they rot and get wasted. You can watch this amazing YouTube video of hermit crab eggs hatching. After six months, the small babies start growing tiny appendages and small exoskeletons.

I think it’s a fantastic journey to watch how they grow every day! From fragile eggs to a fully healthy hermit crab, it takes a lot of care and effort in captivity.

I hope you like reading my guide. Thank you for your precious time.