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why does the hermit crab live in a shell

Wash your hands before you help Hermie move back home and prepare an isolation tank with the proper humidity and temperature level. Using dechlorinated water, wash off any substrate clinging to your naked crab and rinse his old shell. Put them both in a clean glass cup, put the cup in the isolation tank and leave him be. He won't be able to abandon his shell or run away in panic, plus he'll conserve energy.

If this method doesn't work, try to gently curl his abdomen into the shell. If he resists, give him a very light tap on his head to scare him into his shell. If Hermie won't go home, try a different shell that's the same size or a touch bigger. Never attempt to force him into a shell that's too small or uncomfortable, which can be dangerous for him.
If Sheldon looks a little cramped, or hasn't changed shells in a long time, it's normal to wonder why he's so reluctant to move.

You can try to encourage a switch by ensuring that he's got a nice variety of shells to choose from. If you provide different shapes of sufficient size, it might make him a little more willing to change. He'll need a shell that he can completely withdraw into; a basic guideline is to choose a shell with an opening about 1/8 inch larger around than the size of his large claw.

You might also try boiling the shells to ensure there is no odor lingering that might be dissuading Sheldon from choosing a new residence. If you do this, make sure you don't have a little hermit crab hiding away in there! Finally, always avoid painted shells; the paint can chip off and poison Sheldon.

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