hermit crab in a terrarium

If you want to own a hermit crab, you need to plan ahead. These cute semi-terrestrial pet crustaceans can live up to 15 years, so it’s not a responsibility that you want to take lightly. Moreover, the price of these exotic pets can vary quite a bit depending on where you look and when. So, here’s an overview of how much a hermit crab costs at PetSmart, along with additional costs to consider.

How Much Do Hermit Crabs Cost at PetSmart?

The price of a hermit crab at PetSmart can vary from location to location. In general, hermit crabs are moderately priced. You can expect to pay anywhere between $5 and $10 for a small juvenile hermit crab and $10–15 for a medium-sized adult. However, the price that you see on the website ($6.29) may not always reflect what you actually pay at your local store. Also, note that prices often do change without notice, so check with your local store before heading out.

Additional Costs to Anticipate

Here are the additional costs of owning and maintaining hermit crabs:

Terrarium*: $20–$100
Heater: $7–$20
Lights: $5–$15
Thermometer: $10
Bowls: $5–$10
Food: $10
Decor: $5–10
Shells: $5–10
Sand: $5–10
Hermit Crab Starter Kit: $20

*Side Note: A terrarium is ideal for hermit crabs. A 10-gallon terrarium will provide enough space for three to five average-sized hermit crabs.

hermit crab
Image Courtesy of Pixabay

Temperature: The temperature of the terrarium must be maintained between 72°F and 80°F, hence the need to purchase a thermometer that can be placed directly in the terrarium.

Lighting: Since they are nocturnal, hermit crabs do not need special lighting. You can put on a nighttime heating lamp (red or black), but be sure to choose a lamp appropriate for the size of your terrarium, as the environment will become too dry if the lamp is too hot.

Substrate: Two types of substrates are acceptable: small round gravel without sharp edges typically sold for fish or high-quality sand sold for reptiles. Sand is preferable to enable your small crustacean to burrow when it needs to molt.

Other Components of the Terrarium: All hermit crabs need to climb. It is therefore essential to place branches, rocks, sea sponges, toys, hiding places, and other decorative pieces (without sharp edges) in the terrarium.

PetSmart also sells kits suitable for habitats up to 10 gallons and includes the most important items that you need to get started, so you can save a few bucks and avoid buying everything separately.

The starter kit includes:

  • Hermit crab-care book
  • Thermometer
  • Sand
  • Soil
  • Food
  • Trial-size saltwater conditioner
  • Trial-size drinking water conditioner
  • Extra-small water dish
  • Sea sponge
  • Shell

How Many Hermit Crabs Should You Buy?

Hermit crabs are gregarious animals. They interact with each other on a regular basis and are often found in large groups, as they are attracted to the same food sources and places to hide. For this reason, it is best to buy more than one. They will then be more active and fun to watch.

Also, it is recommended to choose hermit crabs of similar size that are all quite heavy. A lightweight hermit crab may not be healthy. So, it is best to buy hermit crabs around 2 inches long, as they are typically more resilient and vigorous.

hermit crab
Image Courtesy of Pixabay

What You Should Know About Hermit Crab Shells

The shell serves to protect the hermit crab from predators and prevent dehydration. In addition, the water that accumulates in the shell enables the small crab to breathe properly, as it keeps its gills moist at all times. The shell can, however, injure the fragile and soft abdomen of the animal if it is damaged. This is why the hermit crab often inspects empty shells if its own is broken or to see if it would be better off in a new one. Finally, when the crab molts (about twice a year), it must also change its shell after having shed its outer skin.

For all these reasons, you will need to provide a few extra shells for each hermit crab that you have. You can purchase shells for about $3 to $5, depending on the size.


Hermit crabs are among the simplest crustaceans that you can keep as pets. They are also intriguing and entertaining little companions. They don’t require excessive care and are quite hardy as long as you provide a suitable habitat. Owning a hermit crab can also be an exciting and rewarding experience.

The asking price for a hermit crab at PetSmart is typically affordable. However, the price varies depending on your location and the store, and these animals are not always available. So, always check before you go to the store. Ultimately, you can expect to spend $10–15 for a medium-sized hermit crab at PetSmart, plus $60–100 for additional costs. For that price, you get an exotic pet that doesn’t require overly complicated care and is fun to watch.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay