Hermit crab mites are a tiny parasite, similar to fleas on cats. Although tiny, untreated mites can cause a great deal of unnecessary stress and damage for your crab. Over a period of time, mites may even kill your pet or cause him to lose a leg. Luckily, this situation is relatively easy to control through proper cleaning of the affected crab and his enclosure.
Mites are nearly microscopic, so you may not be able to see them even if you look closely. Mites attach themselves to the crabs, where you might see small tan and black flecks. If you think your crab has mites, do not use a commercial mite spray.
Can Be A Serious Problem
Because of the crab’s small size, it can cause serious health problems. Instead, bathe him immediately. Most of the mites will be killed by the water. Thoroughly wash him several times to eliminate the mites. It is especially important to wash the inside of the shell, where many of the mites will be hiding.
Mites don’t just live on the crab itself, but also in the pets living environment. If you have a mite problem, the most effective way to prevent a recurrence is to replace the substrate. At the very minimum, boil it to sterilize it.
Bake And Boil
If you use sand in the tank, it will need to be baked until completely dry. You’ll also need to boil the tank accessories, such as the food and water dishes, to kill the mites. Before replacing the contents of the aquarium, be sure to clean the cage by wiping the sides and bottom with a wet cloth.
There are also a few ways to prevent the occurrence of mites in the first place, or to keep mites from coming back after you’ve already dealt with the problem once. The first step is to sterilize everything before it is placed in your crab’s habitat.
Boil For 15 Minutes Plus
This means boiling for a minimum of fifteen minutes to kill mites and anything else that may be living on the tank accessories. If you do have to deal mites, take the appropriate actions to get rid of them as quickly as possible, and closely monitor your crab and his environment for a possible recurrence in the following weeks.
Prevention Is Key
Perhaps just as importantly for preventing the problem in the first place , always quarantine any new pets before adding him to an existing group of crabs. Occasionally, the crabs you purchase may already be carrying mites, and you don’t want to spread the parasite to the rest of your pets.
Within a few weeks, you should be able to tell if your new pet has mites or not. If he does, you’ll want to treat the problem before introducing him to the group.
Proper care, including keeping the tank clean and giving your little pet a bath every few weeks, is also essential for preventing mites. Mites are sometimes an unfortunate part of pet ownership, but they can be prevented by following proper hermit crab care guidelines. With the proper care, your crab can avoid mites and live a long, healthy life.