The first point we execute once obtaining a hermit crab is to give it a name. This might involve finding out just how to tell if a hermit crab is male or female. Sexing hermit crabs isn’t straightforward as sex distinctions have the right to be comparatively subtle.

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The simplest means to sex hermit crabs is to examine their legs. Male hermit crabs have hairy legs; females have smooth legs. You have the right to inspect the hermit crab’s genitals. Females have actually 2 tiny sexual organs, dubbed the gonopores, aoptimal their 3rd set of legs. Young males likewise acquire dimension and mass faster than females.

Owners shouldn’t enrespond to any kind of reproduction worries because of hermit crab gender. It’s safe to pair them in opposite-sex teams as captive hermit crabs rarely mate. All the exact same, learning just how to sex hermit crabs is an interesting procedure.

Table of Contents hide
1 Is My Hermit Crab a Boy or Girl?
1.1 Physical Appearance
1.2 Sexual Organs
1.3 Behavior
2 Male vs. Female Hermit Crabs
3 Do Hermit Crabs Change Sex?
4 Do Male or Female Hermit Crabs Make Better Pets?
5 Can Male and Female Hermit Crabs Live Together?
5.1 Related Articles:

Is My Hermit Crab a Boy or Girl?

How do you know if a hermit crab is male or female? You will need to obtain a look at your hermit crab out of its shell. Never before wrench a hermit crab from its house for sex identification.

Some physical characteristics are virtually similar in between male and also female hermit crabs. For instance, it’s difficult to tell boy and also girl hermit crabs apart by claw size. Some say that females have larger clegislations, but tbelow is no scientific basis for this claim.

Instead, you will certainly must evaluation physical features and, to a lesser degree, actions. Once you understand what you are trying to find, sexing hermit crabs will certainly end up being second nature. All the same, distinctions deserve to be subtle, so it might take more than simply a cursory glance.

Physical Appearance

In many kind of species, the size of an animal deserve to be used to detect sex. Generally, the male is larger unmuch less the female demands to lug sizeable embryos. This isn’t relevant to adult hermit crabs. Once grvery own, hermit crabs stay around the very same size.

Tright here are some imbalances, specifically as soon as young. Hermit crabs thrive and molt at different rates based upon sex. Male hermit crabs thrive conveniently, frequently molting. So, a young male might tower over a female of identical age.

Females grow slower as hermit crabs breed while young, generally in the initially year of life. This is a matter of survival. Females lug their young in an egg sac attached to their legs, which makes them delicate. By thriving more slowly, a female is likelier to find suitable shells to hide within.

Throughout mating season, male hermit crabs deserve to prosper in size. Many type of males molt ahead of mating and also arise larger. This does not make them any kind of even more appealing to females, though. It simply offers them a better chance of overpowering rivals for a potential mate.

Where physical appearance differs is the legs. Male and also female hermit crabs have 10 legs. In females, these will be entirely smooth. In males, the legs are covered in coarse hairs.

Additionally, females have actually 3 appenderas on the left of the abdoguys. Males absence these. These appenderas (pleopods) double as a sac for a female to lug her unborn young.

Sexual Organs

Genitals are the most failsafe way of identifying sex in an pet. It’s the exact same with hermit crabs, but you have to understand what you’re looking for.

Male hermit crabs have actually a penis below the fifth collection of legs. The Royal Society Open Science clintends that this body organ can be disproportionately huge compared to body mass. It have the right to be as large as 60% of the hermit crab’s body size. This is an evolutionary tactic to safeguard the shell.

As discussed, males prosper quicker than females. This renders appropriately-sized shells a rare commodity. To protect against losing their shells, male hermit crabs construct a huge penis. This permits the male to mate without vacating his shell, otherwise leaving it available for a rival.

The sex-related organs of the female are referred to as the gonopores. These are two tiny openings located above the 3rd pair of legs. When we say tiny, we carry out mean tiny. You may require a magnifying glass to identify gonopores.


Tright here are some noticeable distinctions in temperament in between male and female hermit crabs. It’s inadvisable to count on watching their habits to sex hermit crabs. Tright here are a handful of variations, though.

In some cases, females are more confident and also outgoing. Females are likelier to explore brand-new terrain. They might additionally uncover a selection of various hiding places. Males are even more likely to discover one area and stick through it as they feel safer this means.

While this have the right to be linked to fundamental survival instinct, it might additionally pertain to mating. According to Biological Sciences, hermit crabs via high fecundity breed less. This is because of better rates of mortality linked through risk-taking habits.

More mindful males tend to reap higher success with reproduction. Remaining cautious helps hermit crabs live longer and reap more mating cycles.

These mating rituals may result in other conduct in between sexes. Sexually mature males guard females that they’re interested in reproduction with. As described by Behavioral Ecology, this deserve to result in problem.

If you check out a number of hermit crabs neighboring each other, the object of attention is likely female. The interested parties will certainly be males hoping to curry favor. As captive hermit crabs seldom breed, this technique is unlikely to watch outcomes.


Male vs. Female Hermit Crabs

Tright here are differences in appearance and also conduct in between male and also female hermit crabs. This table summarizes the core variations between the sexes. Here’s exactly how to sex a hermit crab at a glance:

Male Hermit Crab Identification:Female Hermit Crabs Identification:
Hairy legsSmooth legs
No legs on the abdomenLegs on the left of the abdomen
No abdominal appendagesThree feathery appenderas left of legs to carry eggs
Has a penis below the fifth set of legsHas gonopores apeak the third set of legs
Increase size and mass in mating seasonSize continues to be regular in mating season
Grow in size quickly from a young ageSlowly and steadily rise in size with age
Keen to recreate throughout mating seasonRacount receptive to mating in captivity
No sex-related pheromonesReleases pheromones if receptive to mating
Attracted to bigger femalesInvarious to the dimension of males
Stick to acquainted terrainSeek a variety of various habitats
Reprimary shy and also cautiousCan be bolder and also braver

With over 800 various species of hermit crabs, variations will certainly occur. Following this guidance will enable you to sex a hermit crab. Just execute not be alarmed or surprised if you discover that your initial perspective was mistaken.

Do Hermit Crabs Change Sex?

Some owners claim that their hermit crabs change sex throughout their life time, however this is unprstove by scientific research. It’s even more most likely that alters to physical appearance brought about mistaken identity.

Despite this, hermaphroditism is widespread in invertebrate species. For instance, if a clownfish is born a male, it deserve to change sex irreversibly if it desires to come to be a school’s dominant female. Oysters and also shellfish, closer family members to the hermit crab, execute the same point.

All the very same, hermit crabs are not believed to change sex. The Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK confirms they have the right to be intersex, though. These hermit crabs live as males after molting. The gonopores close, and the hermit crab mates as a male.

Do Male or Female Hermit Crabs Make Better Pets?

Tbelow is no factor to believe that sex impacts the high quality of hermit crab companionship. The truth is, most sellers are ignorant of gender. Even specialists occasionally acquire it wrong once assigning sex to a hermit crab.

Be wary of anybody that clintends that one sex is premium. This will likely be a sales tactic to affect a purchase. There are no clear and distinct advantages of one hermit crab gender over another.

Can Male and Female Hermit Crabs Live Together?

The Journal of Ethology confirms that hermit crabs deserve to detect sex within their species. This becomes significantly apparent in the wild in the time of mating seaboy. Males will ignore each other while actively seeking out females.

Hermit crabs cannot be spayed or neutered. In most pets, this is a cause for worry. It suggests that the two sexes shouldn’t be housed together. In truth, captive hermit crabs rarely mate. It takes a specific atmosphere and expert handler to gain this to take place.

Females have to be willing to mate with an eligible male. As per the Journal of Crustacean Biology, males cannot pressure mating with disinterested females. Larger hermit crabs have actually no organic advantage once it comes to reproduction. Invariably, a bigger hermit crab will certainly win this challenge.

With this in mind, there’s no injury to pairing mixed-sex groups. Regardless of their name, hermit crabs are a social species. They favor to live in nests and also groups. Denying this possibility on the grounds of sex leads to loneliness.

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Sexing a hermit crab needs close attention. Wait for the hermit crab to emerge from its shell. When it does so, assess its legs. If they’re hairy, you have a boy. If not, it’s a girl. Beyond this, you’ll need to recognize its genitals.