Most hermit Crabs live their lives inside seashells and other salvaged objects that serve as armor to protect their soft spiral shaped abdomens from predators.
There are two types of hermit crabs, marine and terrestrial. All marine hermit crabs live in the ocean, except for a single species, Clibanarius fonticola, that lives in fresh water. Terrestrial crabs prefer land in tropical areas near water. Both breath through gills, and must keep them damp or wet in order to avoid suffocating.
All hermit crabs are scavengers, feeding on plants, fallen fruit, turtle eggs, dead fish, plankton and just about anything edible they come across. These social creatures live and forage in groups. Most are nocturnal, preferring the safety of darkness on land and in the water.
As they grow, hermit crabs must find new homes to accommodate their larger size. Whether aquatic or terrestrial, these crabs will fight one another for the best shell, and have even been known to steal shells from one another when they can get away with it. We photographed this hermit crab on Angaga Island in The Maldives. Read more in our post, Scuba Diving in Ari Atoll, Maldives.