Fish/Crab/Scorpion/Tarantula Care in Temporary Shelters
DIET: If you don’t know the species, move it to experienced caretakers ASAP.
Fish eat a pelleted or flaked fish food, different foods are available for different species. Hermit Crabs eat commercial crab diets, flaked fish food, insects, vegetables, and fruits. Scorpions eat insects (worms, larvae, beetles, moths, crickets) or fish food. Tarantulas eat insects (worms, larvae, beetles, moths, crickets), preferably alive.
HOUSING: Environmental temperature range: Koi 65 to 75 degrees, Bettas 75 to 85 degrees. Hermit Crabs 75 to 90 degrees. Scorpions 75 to 85 degrees. Tarantulas 75 to 85 degrees. Move to indoor climate controlled facility if needed. Use secure wire mesh top for ventilation.
Provide heat lamp or heating pad when possible at one end of enclosure to allow animal to move to desired temperature. Aquarium heater and thermometer may be needed for fish. Unchlorinated water must be available at all times in a shallow bowl, tote, or litter box for soaking. Place large clean flat rocks to enable climbing in and out of water. Spray enclosure with dechlorinated water several times daily. Use no bedding material, just leave the bottom of the container bare or use paper towels. Provide branches for climbing and a box or other hiding place. Never house multiple animals together unless they were together in their home and of same species and similar size.
RESTRAINT: Avoid handling if possible.
Wear smooth disposable gloves to avoid injury to fragile skin or appendages, and exposure to or spread of diseases. Move by scooping animal into a plastic container as nets may injure skin, fins, or toes. Wash hands with soap and water before and after handling. Do not expose animals or anything in their enclosure to hand sanitizer residue on your hands.
COMMON MEDICAL PROBLEMS: Poor water quality and excessively cold or hot temperatures cause most problems.
May ingest bedding material or foreign objects. Injuries to skin from rough handling or drying out from lack of water.
OTHER: Messy eaters may need frequent water changes and cleaning of cages and dishes.
When moving fish put the fish in their original water into a plastic bag, float in new container for several hours, then add fish with original water to new container with 1/3 fresh water. Water should be dechlorinated: Allow chlorinated water to sit in an open container for 24-48 hours so chlorine can dissipate, or use bottled spring water. Filtered tap water run through a sediment and activated charcoal filter. Wash rocks with soap and water, disinfect with bleach, and rinse thoroughly.
Compiled by Julie Burge, DVM, Burge Bird Services and Burge Bird Rescue, August 2016
Exotic Companion Medicine Handbook for Veterinarians by Cathy Johnson-Delaney, DVM, Diplomat ABVP-Avian
Immediate Intake Care of Small, Unusual & Exotic Pets by Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary