Do Hermit Crabs Hibernate?

Hermit crabs, known for their unique behavior of taking over abandoned shells to use as their own homes, are interesting creatures that have fascinated people for centuries. However, despite their popularity as pets, many people still wonder if hermit crabs hibernate. In this article, we will explore the answer to this question and provide some insight into the behavior and habits of these fascinating crustaceans.

What is Hibernate?

Before we delve deeper into whether hermit crabs hibernate or not, it’s essential to understand what hibernation means. Hibernation is a state of inactivity and metabolic depression that some animals enter during the winter months, when food is scarce, and temperatures drop dramatically. During hibernation, an animal’s body temperature drops, and their metabolic rate slows down to conserve energy. This slows down all of their bodily processes, including breathing and heart rate.

Do Hermit Crabs Hibernate?

So, do hermit crabs hibernate? The answer is no. Hermit crabs are tropical animals that thrive in warm temperatures, and while they may undergo periods of inactivity, this isn’t the same as hibernation. Unlike animals that hibernate, hermit crabs don’t slow down their metabolic rate or drastically reduce their body temperature.

When in captivity, hermit crabs tend to become less active during the winter months, primarily due to the reduced photoperiod (length of daylight). This reduction in activity is known as diapause, which is often confused with hibernation. During diapause, the hermit crab may move less, eat less, and spend more time inside their shell, but their metabolism remains active, and there is no significant slowing down of bodily functions.

In the wild, hermit crabs tend to migrate to warmer waters or burrow into the sand to avoid colder temperatures. This migration helps them to maintain their body temperature and avoid the metabolic depression that comes with hibernation.

Hermit Crab Behavior During Diapause

As mentioned earlier, hermit crabs undergo diapause during the winter months when temperatures drop, and the days become shorter. During this period, the hermit crab may become less active and spend more time inside their shell. They may also eat less and breathe slower, but their metabolism remains active, and there is no significant slowing down of their bodily functions.

To help a hermit crab through the diapause phase, it’s essential to maintain the temperature and humidity in their enclosure. The temperature should remain between 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit, and the humidity levels should be between 70-80 percent. Providing a warm and stable environment will help the hermit crab stay healthy and avoid any stress or illnesses that could arise from changes in their environment.


In conclusion, hermit crabs do not hibernate. Instead, they undergo diapause, which is a period of reduced activity during the winter months. During this time, their metabolism remains active, and there is no significant slowing down of their bodily functions. To ensure that your hermit crab stays healthy during diapause, make sure to provide a warm and stable environment with the right temperature and humidity levels.


1. Can I wake up my hermit crab during diapause?
No, it’s best not to disturb your hermit crab during diapause. Let them rest and go through the natural process without any interruptions.

2. What is the ideal temperature for hermit crabs?
The ideal temperature for hermit crabs is between 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Do hermit crabs need light?
Yes, hermit crabs need light to regulate their circadian rhythm, which helps them maintain biological processes like eating and sleeping.

4. Can hermit crabs survive in cold temperatures?
No, hermit crabs are tropical animals and cannot survive in cold temperatures. They require warm and stable environments to stay healthy and thrive.

5. Do hermit crabs molt during diapause?
It’s possible for hermit crabs to molt during diapause, but it’s less common than during other times of the year when they are more active.

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