Hermit crab

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Hermit crab swarm

Source: Bestiary 3, pg(s). 58
Giant hermit crab

Source: Bestiary 3, pg(s). 58

Hermit crabs are a kind of crustacean that wear found objects (most commonly seashells) for protection.1


Hermit crabs, like their other crab kin, are most visually identifiable by their large front claws. Of their ten legs, these front two have grown into large pincers by which to attack enemies and manipulate the world around them, though in many species these claws are asymmetrical in size. The remaining eight legs are used for propulsion, though in hermit crabs the back two pairs of legs are often hidden within their shells to help secure their home.1

Hermit crab homes, such as they are, are typically an appropriately sized seashell. Due to the wide range of hermit crab sizes, these seashells can be of practically any size or coloration and provide the most visually striking element of the hermit crab after their claws.1

The creatures have essentially no upper limit on size, gated only by how many resources they are able to consume in their lifespan. Particularly large hermit crabs, called giant hermit crabs, can easily reach horse-size. These larger crabs will often use constructed materials for homes, as there are very few creatures that leave behind seashells large enough to house the beasts. Discarded boats, wagons, large chests, and the like can all be found on the backs of giant hermit crabs.1


Hermit crabs are melee combatants, using their claws to pinch and tear at their opponents. The crabs can grab and construct appropriately sized foes in these claws, crushing the life from their prey. Hermit crabs can, of course, always retreat inside of their hard shells when a defensive position is needed.1


Hermit crabs are very social creatures. The crabs will often come together to exchange and upgrade shells, forming a queue to move into the next size up as the next hermit crab larger abandons their shell for a new one. Interrupting this process can, however, be dangerous, as the disturbed crabs are likely to work together in a hermit crab swarm to deal with the predator (or curious humanoid).1

Hermit crabs also frequently form symbiotic relationships with anemones where the anemone provides additional protection in exchange for food from the crab. A hermit crab adopting a new home will typically bring their anemone friend along with them.1


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Logan Bonner, et al. (2021). Bestiary 3 (Second Edition), p. 58. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-312-6