Sometimes our curiosity about finding new sources of food for hermit crabs may take us down a dangerous road. For instance, hermit crabs have been observed eating a great many disgusting things from the wild. Being scavengers, they are attracted to items that could be hazardous for humans to handle including carion and excrement. How far should a crab-keeper go in search of variety?
Carion. Crabs will eat dead meat in all stages of decomposition without risk of illness it seems. However, one must weigh that against the risk to human keepers who can become fatally ill after handling rotten meats. Whenever handling raw meat, please wash your hands. For the sake of your household’s human inhabitants, please avoid feeding decomposed flesh due to the smell, high bacterial content, and for fear of attracting bugs.
Pooh. People have witnessed wild hermit crabs eating turtle pooh. One experienced crab keeper has been feeding them pooh from her guinea pig for years without adverse affects. We currently have no resources for conducting food trials on excrement, but would like to offer some guidelines for those of you conducting your own trials. Please exclude pooh from carnivores and omnivores from your pet’s diet. The digestive systems of these sort of animals digest so thoroughly that there is very little usable nutrients remaining in the waste. Herbivores however have inefficient digestive system so what comes out looks very much like the food they ate—evidence that there is more there than waste alone. The waste of rabbits, cows, deer, elk, moose, horse, elephant, turtle, etc. may come to have merrit.
If you should come to have success with these sort of experiments, please comment on them here so that our readers can have access to the info you have gathered.