Hairy Hermit Crab

Pagurus hirsutiusculus

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Hermit crabs protect their soft bodies by carrying snail shells on their back. If a hermit crab grows too big for its shell, it will find a new, better-fitting shell to move into. They rarely leave the security of their shell. If they sense danger, they will tuck themselves back into their shell and block the opening with their big claw. The crab’s name is derived from the small, stiff hairs that coat its legs and thorax.

Like most members of their species, Hermit Crabs are scavengers that crawl across the ocean floor looking for their next meal. They use their long antennae to feel around their rocky habitats to find various kinds of decomposing organic matter, including seaweed and dead animals. The crabs have one large claw and one smaller claw. They use the large claw to hold onto their food and the smaller claw to break off pieces to feed into their mouths.

Range and Habitat

Hairy Hermit Crabs usually live in the shallow intertidal areas from Alaska to Baja California. They are a common animal in Oregon tide pools and can be easily spotted scuttling quickly from rock to rock or hiding under pieces of kelp or seaweed.

Conservation Status