Jun 23, 2014
posted by: Daniel

How to Paint a Hermit Crab Shell

From a young age, I’ve always had a soft spot for Hermit Crabs. Not for any particular reason, except for, well…just look at them. They fascinate me. The fact that you can actually witness these crawly critters continually grow is pretty amazing.

The Hermit Crab has long been a beautiful and exotic (not to mention inexpensive) animal for kids. The best part is you can add a bit of your own “pizzazz” to their shell. You can always go out and buy shells with designs, but where’s the fun in that? Follow these easy tips for a fun and creative hermit shell painting activity.

1. Make sure the shells you purchase are slightly larger than your Hermit Crab’s current shell. This ensures that the crab will fit into the new shell as it grows. Shells can be found at any pet supply retailer.

DIY Hermit Crab painting

2. Choose the design you want to put on your shell. Keep your Hermit Crab comfortable by designing a brighter colored shell. Darker colors may absorb too much sunlight and become very hot for the crab if it is already in a humid habitat.

3. Paint the shell using acrylic paint. Make sure not to get any paint on the inside of the shell. Allow it to dry for at least 24 hours.

Paint a Hermit Crab

4. Place your new shell into the tank! Don’t worry if your Hermit Crab doesn’t immediately make a move for the new shell, it may wait until it molts (sheds its old shell to make room for new growth) or just until nighttime, as Hermit Crabs are notoriously nocturnal.

 DIY Hermit Crab Shell Designs

So there you have it, the four point plan to a sizzlin’ shell! This is the perfect activity for everything from a rainy Sunday, to a snowy November day and everything in between! Try it out and let us know how it goes, we’d love to see what kind of fun shells you and your little one come up with!

Comments on IT

  1. Hermie mom April 28, 2016 at 8:38 am - Reply

    NO NO NO NO NO you can’t paint their shells at ALL. The acrylic WILL kill them if they ingest it, and trust me when I say they can and will pick the paint off from that distance.

    There are so many beautiful NATURAL shells for them to wear. They love love love turbo shells and those come in all sorts of colors like green, blue, and sometimes are even iridescent in spots! They also like magpie shells which are a dark grayish blue and have white speckles.

    Hermits are NOT TOYS, they don’t need decorating.

  2. MK May 13, 2017 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    No, Please, oh God no. As pretty as your painting skills are your crab will DIE if you do this. They tend to eat parts of their shell for calcium, and being scavengers, they will eat anything.. Especially paint chips. There are plenty of beautiful natural shells for hermit crabs that aren’t covered in toxins. They’re sensitive little animals, especially to chemicals.

  3. Crab Owner January 21, 2018 at 2:05 am - Reply

    Lease delete this -_- or change it so it not about hermit crabs….
    This is VERY bad for your crabs.

    Also I’m not sure how you figure crabs are cheap…. to get them set up proper…. I just spent over 250 US dollars

  4. Concerned February 9, 2018 at 8:35 pm - Reply


    pretty please? paint is a nono? it can get in their water and hurt them so please DON’T DO THAT

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