hermit crab meaning

Hermit Crab Meaning

Last Updated on October 25, 2020 by Avia

Hermit Crab Meaning and Symbolism

Hermit Crab Meaning and Symbolism: You know that saying, “big things come in little packages”? That seems to be the motto for hermit crab meaning and messages.

I know, because I’ve been the proud mamma of a colony. I cared for eleven hermit crabs in a palatial ‘crabitat’ (hermit crab community) in my studio office. That’s Obe Wan Kenobi in the picture above (yes, “The Force” was with him).

We lived with each other in happy harmony for a long time, and their shared wisdom has been monumental in my continued evolution. I thought I’d share a bit of their insights with you.

Hermit crabs got their moniker for the obvious action of tucking in their shells at the sign of threat. Their ability to retreat in their shells is a good lesson. It implies a period of withdrawal before taking action. It’s also an encouragement to internalize before attacking. Let me tell you – hermit crabs pack a vicious pinch. Nobody can call them cowards. Curling up in their shells is a choice.

David J. Crotty Photography on Etsy

They seem to pick their battles. They know when to hole up in their homes, and they know when to whip out the pinchy-pinch crunch. This certainly helped me on a symbolic level. This ability to know when to pull back, or when to stand firm is a major life lesson from which we all can benefit.

hermit crab meaning
Hermit crab meaning

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

~Leonardo da Vinci

There’s more symbolic hermit crab meaning to explore. But before I go further, let me offer you a quick list of symbolic hermit crab highlights:

Quick List of Hermit Crab Meaning and Symbolism

  • Patience
  • Community
  • Adaptation
  • Exploration
  • Resourcefulness
  • Social Structure
  • Sensory Perception

It may seem paradoxical to reference ‘social’ and ‘community’ in the same symbolic list with hermit crabs. After all…aren’t they hermits? No, not really.

In truth, hermit crabs crave social connection. In their native habitats, they form colonies of 100 or more. I’ve had the utter pleasure of observing their social interaction. They communicate in a myriad of ways, and to my astonished delight, they even help each other out (like climbing on top of each other to get to a coveted high spot in their crabitat).

But they aren’t all social sweetness. They also recognize their need for seclusion and times of social rest. A big lesson for many of us. These crabby babies remind me that community is vital, but equally vital is a time of introspective seclusion.

hermit crab meaning
Hermit crab meaning

“The best protection we have from harm is awareness of ourselves, others and our environment.

The second-best protection is to know how to navigate all three of these.”


Their social etiquette seems largely based on perceptual communication. Rarely audible (except for the slightest of chirps when they’re really ticked off), they communicate mostly by sensory methods like with: Antennae, visual perception and touch/body language.

This reminds me of humankind’s methods of communication. All too often we exchange data verbally, paying little heed to subtle expressions. A look, a touch, an intuitive impulse can convey a million times more than a word. There is great crab-wisdom in that. We would all do well to do as the crab does: Make efforts to communicate with our extra-sensory ‘antennae’ rather than conventional methods.

Perhaps most impressive is the hermit crabs adventurous spirit. It seems they cannot bear the idea of one inch of their environment gone unexplored. I was constantly adding new gibbly-gommels (that’s the technical term for crab toys, of course) to their crabitat because their curiosity seems insatiable.

I’ve watched them and thought how our own lives can be enhanced by a healthy (even childlike) sense of wonder and exploration. How much more vibrant our lives could be if we tackle each day with pure curiosity!? Instead of a new task/event representing a hassle (having to learn something new, or the challenge of tackling a new project), hermit crabs remind us to approach new stuff with an attitude that says: “Oh joy! A new bauble to explore!”

Hermit crab meaning and symbolism is married to the moon. Lady Luna gets hermit crabs on the jazz in a big way. A lot of this has to do with the moons gravitational pull and her influence on tidewaters. I remember visiting Galveston beach in Texas and seeing a whole mess of crabs come up to shore with the tide. It seemed they were bursting with glee. Scurrying and jump-jiving…these babies know how to dance and play in the pale moonlight. This is a two-fold lesson. Hermit crabs encourage us to follow the rhythm of nature and the universe. They remind us to pay attention to the miracle that is our Earth and our solar system.

The second symbolic lesson is this: PLAY! Dance, skitter, jitter and tango your way into a better state of being. The hermit crab (whose lifespan is a scant 2-5 years) will tell you life is short. Dance to the joy that beats in your heart. Grab your gusto and dosie-do while you can. Indeed, hermit crab meaning asks us to “squeeze the day!” and have fun while you’re squeezing.

hermit crab meaning
Hermit crab meaning

Symbolic hermit crab meaning is also connected to water. Although they don’t live in the water, they require it for their well being. Water is highly symbolic. It’s message is one of healing, purification, emotion and intuition. Whoa. That’s pretty powerful. Consider diving into meaningful water essence when connecting with hermit crab wisdom. These creatures, combined with water energy, pack a whallop of deeper understanding. Add the moon to all that…and you’ve got a trio of good juju.

See…I told you big things come in small packages!  It’s often the most overlooked and underestimated creatures that give us a much-needed ‘KAPOWIE!’ of psychic goodness.

Hermit crab meaning and symbolism offers loads more wisdom. The rest of their mysteries are up to you to explore and discover. I hope this post about hermit crab wisdom inspires you to get crabby in the best possible ways! If you liked this article, be sure to check out related features via the links at the end of this page.



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