Be Prepared with Crab Removal Techniques

Posted by Diedra Blackmill on Apr 4th 2019

Hermit crab

Last month we shared some advice on the right way to hold your pet hermit crab in order to avoid pinching. You can check out that article here.

But even if you do everything right, sometimes accidents happen. And you end up with a crab attached to your finger.

So this time, we’re going to talk about what to do if your crab DOES pinch your skin.

If you’re prepared ahead of time, you can end your own pain as soon as possible without harming your crab.

Let’s get started…

Reasons a crab might pinch

One of the best ways to avoid getting pinched in the first place is to avoid putting your crab in situations that make it likely to pinch you.

Here are some of the situations that make a crab more likely to pinch:

  • It’s a new pet that is unaccustomed to be handled;
  • It’s hungry or otherwise in a bad mood, such as if it has been stressed recently;
  • You don’t follow proper handling techniques to let the crab know it’s secure.

Proper handling generally includes making sure the crab is out of shell, happy, and aware before placing it on your hand.

Do not shake your crab

You’ve heard the advice that you should never shake a baby, right?

The same applies to exotic pets, like crabs, tarantulas, and lizards. They’re small. And even the toughest ones are fragile compared to your size and strength.

Crossed out crab falling to floor

If you shake your crab, you can do serious harm to it.

And worse, it could fall to the floor, which increases the chance of serious injury to your pet.

(Remember, you should be holding them close to a surface anyway, so that if they fall, it’s only a short distance. But if you shake the crab, it could fling to the floor even with this precaution in place.)

Other things to avoid

Shaking is dangerous to your crab, but other techniques you may have heard for removing a crab that has pinched on simply don’t work well.

Crossed out crab and running water

So here are suggestions you may have heard that do not work:

Do not run cold water over your crab.

Do not blow on the crab.

Do not just try to pull the crab off your skin.

Trust me on that last one. It’s a bad idea for you.

The right way to remove your crab

I get it that you want to get a crab off your skin as quickly as possible. It’s not a pleasant feeling. But the truth is hermit crabs are pretty small, and the initial part of the pinch is the most painful part.

What you need to do to get the animal off your skin as quickly as possible, with as little damage to you and the crab as possible, is this:

Calmly walk over to their terrarium, and put your hand down into it. The crab will most likely walk off on its own once it is in a familiar and safe space.

If you’ve given it a good half a minute and the crab is still there, try lightly tapping its other claws to encourage it to move along.

If that also doesn’t work, there’s one more thing you can do. It’s a last resort measure because it will irritate and stress your pet, but it will get them off your hand with no real harm done.

Spray them with a mist of water from a spray bottle. Again, do not run tap water over them. They hate getting wet, and just a spray of water works.

For this tip to work best, keep a spray bottle of clean water near your crab’s habitat. That way you won’t have to run around trying to find and fill up a spray bottle if you do have a crab stuck to your skin.

To learn more about hermit crabs, stop in at The Tye-Dyed Iguana.

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