WHAT IS A CRAB?
With their sideways skitter and thick exoskeleton, these crustaceans are mobile tanks with an appetite . Born with 8 legs and 2 pincers, they’re smart enough to use tools or even communicate by drumming. While most aquatic life cannot live out of the water, crabs are a remarkable exception. Unlike fish, these crustaceans can keep their gills wet while on land. This allows them to continue to continue to breath by filtering oxygen out of the air via the water into their gills (osmosis). Predators on both land and sea, they’ll eat anything that they can catch (including mice or each other). From the tiny hermit crab to the sci fi looking spider crab (18 feet / 5.5 meters from claw to claw) they are very adaptable. Crabs can survive in temperatures from just above freezing to right next to a hydro thermal vent. However most of them are short lived with life spans of 2 to 3 years (except for the 100 year old spider crab).
WHERE DO CRABS COME FROM?
With the exception of Antarctica, they thrive in most aquatic environments around the world.
WHEN ARE CRABS IN SEASON?
While they live year-round, in colder temperatures crabs are much less active and tend to burrow into the sea floor. The best time to go crabbing is during warmer weather when these guys are much more active. Late Spring to Early Fall is best, but only when the tide is coming in. Feeding crabs are pulled to the shore making them much easier to catch.
IS THE YELLOW STUFF INSIDE A CRAB ACTUALLY MUSTARD?
The yellow looking substance inside of cooked crabs is not mustard. It’s actually the crabs digestive system! Much like liver or kidneys, it filters the crustacean’s blood for impurities and is considered a delicacy.
ARE CRABS HEALTHY TO EAT?
The good news is that they are mild in taste, low in fat and rich in certain vitamins (A,B,C) and minerals (selenium, phosphorous, copper, zinc, chromium). In terms of sodium though, crabs have higher counts then other aquatic dinner options. But while most predators are rich in environmental pollutants like mercury or PCBs, crabs are an exception! Their small size and short life span combined with an omnivorous diet make them healthy to eat. However the “mustard” organ of this crustacean accumulates contaminants as it filters them out of the bloodstream (making it the least healthy part of this creature).