There are many hermit crab owners out there that like the idea of painted hermit crab shell. And I must admit the idea to giving your crab a shell that you have hand painted it very appealing. However in the hermit crab world this is one of those controversial subjects. Some crab owners love this idea and go ahead and do it while others believe that painted shells can be harmful to your crab. There are some stories out there about the paint chipping off and fouling the crab’s water. Some people also claim that when crabs are given the choice between natural, unpainted shells and painted shells they usually pick the natural shell.
If you really want to paint your hermit crab shells then just make sure you do it to make it as safe as possible for your little guy. So if you are going to go ahead with this don’t take a shell that your crab has already been living in and paint it, you want to make sure that any shell that you put in the tank has been painted before you offer it to your crabs. Also never paint a shell with a crab in it. Like with any shell you offer your crabs you will want to make sure that it has been properly sterilized before offering it to your pets. So make sure you boil the shell you plan to paint for approximately 15 minutes.
It is very important that you buy non-toxic and waterproof paint for painting your shells. You can find special hermit crab shell painting kits are many pet stores and they will include non-toxic waterproof paints. When you go to paint your shells ensure that you are only painting the outside of the shell because it is important that the inside stays natural. Any paint of the inside of the shell may harm your hermit crab. Also try to keep the paint away from the opening of the shell. If you plan on buying any shells that are already painted you will want to make sure that there isn’t any paint on the insider or near the opening of the shell.
Before you put your newly painted shells into your tank make sure that they are completely dry, it’s a good idea to wait a day or two after painting them to be on the safe side.
After you place your newly painted shells into your crabitat it will take some time before a crab will choose to inhabit it. So don’t get frustrated if your crab doesn’t go directly into the newly painted shell. You might want to paint a shell that is a little bit bigger than the shell he currently occupies because then when he molts or is looking for a little more space he might give your custom painted shell a try.
So if you really want to paint your shells then go ahead and have some fun with it. Just make sure you follow the guide lines above because you want your little friends to be as safe as possible.