Animal Encounters

Fun Animal Encounters

From a hairy tarantula to a talking African gray parrot, you never know what you’ll bump into in Ranger Rick's Backyard Safari at the Tennessee Aquarium!

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Get a peek behind the scenes of the Aquarium’s Husbandry department. Read their weekly animal updates and get an insider’s look at caring for over 10,000 animals and plants.

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Hermit Crab

Dardanus megistos

ON EXHIBIT:  Seahorses: Beyond Imagination at River Journey 

Hermit Crab

FUN FACTS
The common name, “hermit,” refers to this group of crabs living alone in discarded shells.  Although the exoskeleton on their head, claws and legs is hard and protective, most hermit crabs have long soft bodies.  Hermit crabs protect themselves from predators by living inside shells.  These shells are typically made by snails and then salvaged by the hermit crab.  As the crab outgrows its shell, it must leave it behind and find another larger shell.

There are about 500 known species of hermit crabs.  Most live in oceans and estuaries, but there are some species that can live on land.  Hermit crabs and true crabs are not closely related to each other.

Fan Photo

Hermit Crab
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About This Animal

SIZE: Up to 8 inches long

RANGE:  Indo-Pacific; East Africa to Hawaii

HABITAT: Reefs and sandy areas; intertidal to 30 ft deep

DIET: Scavenger of plants and animals