Crab Profile Patriot Crab

The Patriot Crab is just that with it’s brilliant colors. It is known by many names, some of which are listed below. The carapace is dark blueish to purple in color. It’s legs are a reddish to orange and the white claws complete the picture. This combination of colors makes it a popular exotic pet.

Scientific data:

Scientific name; Cardosoma armatum

Common name: Rainbow crab, Indigo crab, Land crab, Patriot crab, Tricolor crab and Soapdish crab

Origins: West Africa. It is found primarily in the lower Volta river system and in the coastal areas of West Africa such as Cape Verde. Several Sites on Crustaceans will note that it is also found in Brazil.

Species and Characteristics:

•  It is a terrestrial crab and if kept in a tank there has to be both land and freshwater. The design of the tank should provide enough mud and sand to allow the crab to burrow.
•  The males are more colorful, but the colors of both fade as the crab ages. The males have a narrower carapace and larger claws of different sizes, while the claws of the female are the same size.
•  Adult Patriot crabs are quite territorial. When kept in close quarters with others they will become aggressive and will fight, sometimes to the death.
•  In the wild, the species will reach 8 inches across the carapace, but when kept in a tank, the size will be between 6-8 inches (15-20cm).
•  These crabs are cold blooded which means they need heat from an outeside source, such as a lamp. The tank needs to be kept about 75 degrees F.
•  In the wild, the female releases her eggs in the water. The eggs develop into larvae which then develop into crabs. At this stage they return to the land, otherwise they would drown. They will not breed in captivity.


The have the typical crab appetite and that is to eat just about anything they can get their claws onto. The crabs are omnivores, and their diet should include:

•  Vegetables
•  Fruit
•  Live food such as earthworms, fish
•  Crab and turtle pellets
•  Smashed eggshells or cuttle-bone for calcium

While they can be fed by hand over time, it is best to use tweezers as the crab can pinch quite hard. You can watch a video on youtube to observe one of these colorful crabs feeding.

Tank set up:

As mentioned, both land and water is needed. It needs to be able to burrow in order to create hiding spots as in its natural habitat. The size of the tank should be at least a 20-gallon for a single crab. Multiple crabs will need a 40-gallon tank. Multiple pairs can be either male and female, or two females. Putting two males together is not advised, as territorial fights will occur resulting in the death of one. There are some sites that suggest not putting any pairs together because of their aggressive nature.

Include some stones or small logs for the crab to climb up on, making sure they are not placed in a position that might make it possible for the crab to reachthe top of the tank and climb out.

This is a species that can bring much satisfaction to a person who enjoys crustaceans. If this crab is given the necessary environment needed for survival, it can be long-lived pet.