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Can You Eat Ghost Crabs? Read Before You Eat That Crab


Can You Eat Ghost Crabs

Ghost crabs are common shore crabs, popular in tropical and subtropical regions. They prey on smaller animals and are generalist scavengers. 

Ghost crabs aren’t on the federal list of endangered or threatened species. Thus, there’s likely an abundance of these creatures on our planet.

The surprising thing is that many people don’t consider these crabs as a delicacy as the blue crabs. Now, here’s a very crucial question. 

Can you eat ghost crabs?

Ghost crabs are quite edible and yes, you can eat them. Ghost crabs are not poisonous to humans when consumed. 

The only reason you may not fancy eating ghost crabs is their size. They are small and don’t supply enough meat as the blue crabs. 

However, if you wish to consume ghost crabs to know how good they taste, endeavor to cook properly for at least 20 minutes to eliminate parasites on them. Then deshell before eating.  

So, ghost crabs are edible. Nevertheless, hardly would you find them on people’s plates. They would rather go for other crabs. But then, just because people don’t eat ghost crabs doesn’t mean other animals don’t. These crabs are a delicacy for raccoons and birds. 

Read on as we share more information about ghost crabs.

What Ghost Crabs Are

Ghost crabs are common in tropical and subtropical parts of the world. You’ll also find them on oceanic and well-protected estuarine beaches. 

Most people may argue that they have never encountered ghost crabs on a beach before. So, how do they live there? It is simple. They burrow deep into the sand. 

Why do ghost crabs burrow? They do so for three main reasons. Firstly, they’re hiding from predators. The second reason is for protection against the scorching heat of the sun. Lastly, to get water and oxygen. 

These crabs are semi-terrestrial, meaning they live partially on land and water. However, they prefer spending time in their burrowed holes. Ghost crabs only take a plunge in the sea whenever they want to dampen their gills. 

Ghost crabs are nocturnal creatures. And they tend to come out of their burrows during nighttime. These creatures can also run super fast and change their legs to suit their speed level. 

Another unique thing about these crabs is that the quicker they run the fewer legs they tend to deploy. 

A Handy Tip: Ghost crabs possess the ability to dig four feet deep and live there. They also burrow hundreds of feet away from the edge of the beach. But then, while older ghost crabs burrow far away from the beach, younger ones burrow a bit closer to it. 

What Do Ghost Crabs Eat?

Ghost crabs have unique eating habits. They’re omnivorous and like prey on smaller animals. 

They feed on filter-feeders such as mole crabs, clams, insects, including loggerhead turtles’ eggs and hatchlings. You’ll also find these creatures scavenging for detritus and vegetation.

What Do Ghost Crabs Normally Do At Night?

Nightfall is when human beings and a plethora of animals rest after the rigors of the day. But ghost crabs have special plans for nighttime and use theirs judiciously. 

These creatures barely rest at night. They’re usually active at night. They take time to dig and fix their damaged burrows and even search for food at night. 

Ghost crabs usually search for plants and animals washed ashore to consume. So, it’s rare to find these creatures roaming the beach during the day. They’re generally super active at night. 

Is It Possible For Ghost Crabs To Breathe Underwater?

Yes, ghost crabs can breathe underwater like other creatures but cannot remain underwater for long, as they’ll drown.

These creatures are semi-terrestrial, meaning they can survive on land and in water. They only need water to keep their gills wet to stay hydrated and get oxygen. 

Furthermore, ghost crabs can get water to wet their gills in several ways. They can get moisture from the sand. These creatures can also run into the surf, allowing waves to wash over them. 

Another way ghost crabs wet their gills with salt water is by going underneath the water. But as we said earlier, these crabs can only remain underneath water for a limited time.   

How Fast Can The Ghost Crabs Get?

Ghost crabs run super fast. Little wonder why they’re called “the cheetahs of all crustaceans.” Ghost crabs’ ability to run super fast is why predators find it challenging to catch them with ease.  

These creatures can reach as fast as 10 mph. It has also been reported that the faster they go, the fewer legs they deploy when running. 

Additionally, these crabs have strong legs, which contributes to their super fast speed. Ghost crabs are the world’s fastest land crabs

Do Ghost Crabs Have The Hardest Pinch?

Running after ghost crabs on the beach is fun. Picking them up is more fun. You’ll know what to expect. But if you think ghost crabs can get aggressive and chop off your finger or inflict a deep cut on your skin, you’re wrong.

Ghost crabs can get a bit aggressive, but their pinch won’t do much damage to your skin. It might break the skin or leave a small cut on it. If this happens, wash the area, and you’ll be fine. 

So, no, ghost crabs don’t possess the hardest pinch. Coconut crabs boast the hardest pinch of all crabs.    

A Handy Tip: There are approximately 20 species of ghost crabs in the world. However, the O. quadrata is the only ghost crab species that have been discovered in the United States of America and on the east coast. 

Are Ghost Crabs Blind?

No, ghost crabs are not blind. Seeing directly overhead is the only blind spot that these creatures have. Besides that, they boast great vision. 

Ghost crabs’ eyestalk lets them view prey and predators in 360 degrees. They boast a superb vision that is so precise that they can capture insects from the air. 

Can Ghost Crabs Swim?

No, ghost crabs cannot swim. However, they need water to survive and thus, enter the beach now and then. 

When these crabs aren’t hibernating, they often wet their gills now and then. And this process helps them to filter dissolved oxygen from the sea. They can also get oxygen from underneath their burrows.

So, when you find ghost crabs in the shallow part of the beach, understand they’re only there to replenish oxygen and water. In most cases, they may be trying to escape from predators such as raccoons and birds. 

Furthermore, female ghost crabs may require water to ventilate the cluster of eggs, usually held on their tails. And you’ll most likely find these female crabs turned upside down in the water during this egg ventilation process. 


Can you eat ghost crabs? Yes, you can. But it won’t be a good idea to do so. The reason is that these crabs are quite small and do not have much meat supply. 

However, ghost crabs are edible meals for other creatures like raccoons and birds. And they boast plenty of notable characteristics. 

These crabs can run super fast. They boast strong legs that enable them to run as fast as 10mph. 

Jacob Lindsey

Jacob is a home remodeling guru having worked over 15 years in construction in Reno, NV, mainly focused on home renovations. He likes taking ideas from his clients and making them a reality.

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