NB: in the 4 years since I wrote this article, Wikipedia has gotten some updated info that might prove useful to new owners. If you have a crab that looks like the one in the picture, check out the Halloween Crab article; if you have a darker-bluish crab, try the Moon Crab page.
After the recent purchase of our second Halloween Moon Crab (or whatever they’re called–it’s ambiguous), Zero Two, the little bastard died. Now, the original Zero was in a sorry state when he arrived in our house, missing three legs, and then soon four. When he keeled over, two weeks into his stay, we were saddened but not overly surprised. At the All New England Reptile Expo, we got a much healthier looking specimen, who seemed to be much more energetic, burying in the sand at night and eating frequently. Unfortunately, the place was so busy they didn’t want to talk to me about an $8 crab, so I couldn’t get any decent (better) advice on his care and feeding.
Then, one day, after we lost power for a few hours, I returned home to feed the fire, only to find Zero Two dead. I figured the cold must have killed him, but it was only down to about 60 degrees in my house, and I found that to be pretty reasonable for Costa Rica (their native habitat, according to at least a few sites (1, 2)) on a relatively cold night.
Upon closer inspection of all the information about moon crabs online (which, like most reptile and exotic info, is always contradictory), it seems that they are a seaside-dwelling creature that needs access to both fresh and salt water. This surprised me, since the first pet store we’d gotten Zero from had called him an ‘African Land Crab,’ but had mentioned that he could also be called a moon crab. PetSmart’s care sheet for African Land Crabs definitely doesn’t jive with the other two pages mentioned earlier, so I’m now thoroughly confused. Either way, I’m planning on getting another moon crab once I’ve gotten a generator for power outages, and I plan to sculpt some sort of hybrid land-water tank, rather than a mostly sand substrate with a water dish. Any information anyone might have about owning one of these critters would be greatly appreciated–I don’t want to kill another one.
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