Do hermit crabs eat mealworms

Do hermit crabs eat mealworms?

It is said that hermit crabs eat everything. From fruits, vegetables, meat, nuts, and fish, these scavengers are fond of eating a varied diet. Think about insects! Hermies love to consume different insects. If you offer them frozen or pre-killed bugs, they’ll finish eating them within seconds. But do hermit crabs eat mealworms? 

Hermit crabs eat mealworms. Hermies prefer to eat different types of bugs, but mealworms are their favorite. These insects are the best choice for occasional snacks (1 or 2 times a week). Moreover, frozen mealworms are a rich source of nutrients. Thus, thawed mealworms can make a perfect meal for your hermit crabs.

Do you know hermit crabs like to eat mealworms due to their different taste? Hence, mealworms can change the taste of their tongue if they are feeling a loss of appetite. Let’s see what are the benefits of offering mealworms to hermit crabs. Just follow the footprints of this article to find out more!

What are mealworms?

Mealworms are the larvae of darkling beetles, especially Tenebrio molitor. They are commonly used in various parts of the world as a food source for birds, reptiles, and many other pets, especially hermit crabs.

Moreover, these larval incarnations of the beetle are high in protein and calcium and have a mild, nutty flavor. Mealworms are offered to various pets as frozen, roasted, dried, or as a mixture with other dishes as a source of nutrition.

Do hermit crabs eat mealworms?

Yes! According to the report of a few Reddit fellows, hermit crabs can eat mealworms. As you know, hermit crabs are omnivorous; they consume a variety of foods. From plant and animal matter to all kinds of insects, they scavenge everything that is available for them to survive.

If I talk about mealworms, these larval beetles are a good source of energy for hermit crabs. These worms are often used as a part of a varied diet for these crustaceans. However, make sure that the size of mealworms is appropriate for your hermit crabs.

According to the Hermit Crab Association, if you offer them a mixture of mealworms, grasshoppers, cricket, shrimps, and various other bugs and insects, they’ll like the variety.

Read also: Can hermit crabs eat broccoli?

What are the benefits of feeding mealworms to hermit crabs?

Let’s delve deeper into the benefits of mealworms that help to keep the hermit crabs healthy and strong: ~ Source

  1. Nutritional value:

Mealworms are a popular diet for hermit crabs due to their nutritional value. Here is a table with different nutrients found in 100 grams of mealworms:

NutrientsQuantity of nutrients
Protein19.85 grams
Fat 15.19 grams
Fiber2.3 grams
Calcium0.1 grams
Phosphorus298 milligrams
Potassium970 milligrams
Magnesium76 milligrams
Vitamin A760 IU
Vitamin B121.15 micrograms
Vitamin D100 IU
Iron8.61 milligrams
Zinc 3.04 milligrams
Copper1.5 milligrams
Selenium70.5 micrograms

Thus, mealworms are a great source of proteins, fats, fiber, and calcium for hermit crabs. These are the basic nutrients that will keep your hermies happy, active, and healthy all the time. Simply, they grow well!

  1. Hydration:

Water intake is essential for their respiratory health and the functioning of their exoskeleton, especially during the molting process. Did you know 100 grams of mealworms contain more than 60 % water content? Thus, when they consume mealworms, they receive not only valuable nutrients but also a source of hydration. 

  1. Natural behavior:

Hermit crabs in the wild often feed on insects and small creatures. So, if you offer them mealworms to eat, it helps them to express their natural foraging behavior. This behavior also stimulates their mental and physical activity.

  1. Appetite stimulation:

Those petting hermit crabs know very well that a variety in their diet can help stimulate their appetite and prevent boredom. If you add mealworms to their diet as a bonus, it will contribute to a well-rounded nutritional intake for hermit crabs.

  1. Easy to store:

One of the fantastic benefits that attracts the owners of hermit crabs is that mealworms are easy to store. For example, you can keep them in for an extended period of time, but freezing is the right option.

This makes them a convenient food source. Furthermore, mealworms have a longer shelf life as compared to some other live foods. Hence, it reduces the need for frequent restocking.

  1. Versatility:

Mealworms are offered to hermit crabs in various forms, such as live, dried, or as part of a food mix. It provides flexibility in feeding. Moreover, it’s a useful dietary compound that helps to maintain the weight of hermit crabs (either underweight or overweight).

Last but not least, some hermit crabs are picky eaters. Thus, mealworms are an attractive food source for your pet hermit crabs.

What are the risks of feeding mealworms to hermit crabs?

hermit crabs eat mealworms

There are some risks associated with feeding mealworms to hermit crabs, even though this food is an occasional treat for them. Be aware of the following risks:

  • Chitin content: The exoskeleton of mealworms is challenging and contains chitin. Sometimes, hermit crabs have difficulty digesting these beetles. As a result, they suffer from digestive issues.
  • Obesity: As you can see from the given table, mealworms are relatively high in fats. That’s why they become obese if you feed them mealworms in excess.
  • Nutritional imbalance: If you rely too heavily on mealworms as a primary diet for your hermie, it will lead them to nutritional imbalance.
  • Allergies: Some hermit crabs are allergic and sensitive to certain foods, including mealworms. So, these bugs can cause adverse reactions.
  • Contamination: There is a risk of contamination if the mealworms were not raised in a clean environment. Possibilities are they were exposed to pesticides or other harmful substances.

How often do you feed mealworms to hermit crabs?

Insects are not the primary diet of hermit crabs. That’s why you should not feed them any type of insects more than one or two times a week. The same parameter goes for mealworms.

Thus, you can feed mealworms to hermit crabs occasionally. Also, offer them mealworms along with their main diet of hermit crab food, fresh fruits, vegetables, and calcium sources like crushed eggshells. It’s essential to provide a different diet to meet their nutritional needs.

Tips and guidelines for feeding mealworms to hermit crabs

Here are a few tips and guidelines for feeding mealworms to hermit crabs:

  • Chop the mealworms if their size is inappropriate for hermit crabs to consume easily. If their sizes are small, you can offer them as a whole in a bowl.
  • You can offer them live or dried mealworms. Live mealworms can stimulate natural foraging behavior. Conversely, dried mealworms are more convenient to feed them.
  • If you are using live mealworms, rinse them in clean and dechlorinated water to remove any unwanted residue from them, if any.
  • When your hermit crab finishes eating mealworms, remove the uneaten food after a few hours to prevent spoilage.
  • Dust mealworms with a calcium supplement. It ensures hermit crabs are getting the necessary calcium for shell health.
  • Occasionally, hermit crabs develop allergies to mealworms. If you notice any reaction, remove the mealworms immediately and don’t feed them again.
  • Purchase mealworms from reputable pet stores. Ensure they are 100 percent mealworms because some sellers add other harmful ingredients, too.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Can hermit crabs eat earthworms?

Yes, hermit crabs eat earthworms. However, as they are picky in food, it is possible some of them will not like to eat earthworms.

  1. How to store mealworms for hermit crabs for longer use?

Mealworms are served to hermit crabs, either live or dried. Here is the best way to store mealworms for hermit crabs if you want to store them for a more extended use:

  • Keep your live mealworms in a well-ventilated container. Offer them some oatmeal or bran to feed on.
  • You can store dried mealworms in a cool and dry place. Please keep them in an airtight container to maintain their freshness.
  1. Should I gut-load mealworms before feeding them to hermit crabs?

Yes, gut-loading mealworms with nutritious food helps transfer essential nutrients to your pets. Do it before offering them to your crabs.

  1. Can baby hermit crabs eat mealworms?

Yes, baby hermit crabs can eat mealworms. However, offer them small-sized or chopped mealworms.


So, “do hermit crabs eat mealworms?” As variety is the spice of life, hermit crabs are the perfect example. They like to consume mealworms, especially frozen and dried mealworms. It’s a safe food for pet hermies, but not all crabs eat them as their taste could be different. However, moderation is key, as overfeeding of mealworms and any other food item can have a negative impact on your hermit crabs’ health.

I hope you loved reading my article about hermit crabs and their dietary relationship with mealworms. If you have any confusion, kindly ask me. I would be happy to answer that!

Thank you for reading!