After discussing last week what crabs like to eat, this week we’ll take a look at which animals like to eat crabs. Although their hard shell gives them protection, crabs have a surprising number of predators that can get through the shell to the tender crab meat. Read on to learn how humans are not the only crab predators out there.
Being at the top of the food chain has its perks, and one of the big ones is, we get to eat crabs. Even better, we get to eat crabs in a number of ways: crab cakes, crab dip, crab soups, soft-shell and hard-shell crabs… ah, it’s good to be king.
Crab predators in the water like bass, halibut, cod, dogfish, and sharks are strong enough to take on a crab and win. Crabs are especially vulnerable as juveniles, and when they’re shedding their shells for a new one, making them easy targets. Jellyfish, eels, rays, and turtles also enjoy crabs, as does the octopus, whose powerful (and sometimes poisonous) beak and suction-cup laden tentacles can break a crab’s shell and pick a crab with as much skill as a human does. Octopuses don’t mess around.
Seals and sea otters are two predatory sea mammals that love crabs. In the Antarctic Ocean, the Weddell seal and the aptly-named crabeater seal both enjoy feasting on crustaceans.
Shorebirds such as seagulls go after crabs that are stuck on the shore or in tide pools during low tide. These birds either smash crabs on the rocks or pick them up with their bill and drop them from great heights to break their shell and get to the meat.
Yes, crabs are a crab predator! There’s no lost love for each other among crabs, who are cannibalistic and will eat other crabs. Bigger crabs tend to go after small, sick, or disabled crabs or crabs that are in the process of molting and lack protection from their shell. It’s a crab eat crab world out there folks.
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Tags: crab predators, what eats crabs