Family Matters: Do Crabs Eat Their Babies?

do crabs eat their babies

Sharing is caring!

Crabs are found in all oceans across the world and are some of the most fascinating creatures on the planet.

They display unique behaviors that are rarely seen in the animal kingdom and have unique abilities such as being able to walk and run sideways.

In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at some interesting crab behavior, and specifically answer do crabs eat their babies?

Yes, crabs do eat their babies. Mother crabs sometimes eat their larvae when they get hungry and need a quick and easy meal.

Do Crabs Eat Baby Crabs?

With around 4,500 different species of crab worldwide, they are incredibly abundant creatures that can produce up to 100,000 eggs.

They are found high and low in all waters across the world, and it’s no surprise given the number of eggs one mother crab can produce.

This provides an opportunity for larger, fully grown crabs as baby crabs can be a plentiful food source that is easily accessible.

This is why crabs do eat their babies. There can often be hundreds of thousands of baby crabs in one condensed area, so when mothers get hungry they do take advantage of this food source, even if some of the babies are their own.

Why Do Crabs Eat Their Babies?

The main reason why mother crabs eat their babies is due to the sheer number of babies that they have. It’s an opportunity for them to feed without drastically reducing the number of babies.

Each female red crab can lay 100,000 eggs, but some species of crab can lay as many as 10 million eggs in a single session.

A female blue crab for example can lay 8 million eggs at a time, meaning the number of baby crabs (or food) running around is immense.

That said, it’s worth keeping in mind that only around 1 or 2 crabs will survive from each brood, as crabs would be pretty much taking over the world if all of their eggs survived!

Check out this video of a red crab eating its babies below:

What Type Of Crab Eats Its Babies?

The Christmas Island red crab is well known to be a cannibal crab that eats its own babies when hungry.

However, Yellow Shore crabs, European Green crabs, and many other species also feed on their own babies when they need to.

It’s a common behavior in the crab world that is seen across many different species. Female crabs that recently carried eggs usually eat between 25 – 30% of their own larvae.

Final Thoughts

Do crabs eat their babies? Absolutely! With a huge number of baby crabs, or potential food running around whichever way you look at it, it makes sense for hungry mothers to snack on a couple of babies here and there.

In a crab-eat crab world, lots of different crab species capitalize on eating babies as it’s a quick, easily accessible meal that will keep them alive.

After crabs hatch from their eggs and are just out of the larval stage of their life, they are only around 5mm across.

Mother crabs are gigantic when compared to their babies, so they are able to quickly gobble up dozens of babies in one sitting to keep them sustained.

Hopefully, this post has been insightful and you’ve learned something new today about why crabs eat their babies.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post and feel free to share it with others who may find it valuable.