Biting Back: Do Crabs Have Teeth?

do crabs have teeth

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Crabs can be found in many oceans and freshwaters all around the world. Some live on land, whilst some live out at sea, but they all have many unique abilities.

They are not picky eaters and will feed on pretty much anything they can get their claws on, including plants, dead or living fish, worms, and even other crabs.

In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at how crabs eat and specifically answer a question many of our readers are searching for. Do crabs have teeth?

Although crabs do not have teeth in their mouths, like we humans. They do have “teeth” in their stomachs that are used to grind up food and allow them to digest their meal.

Do Crabs Really Have Teeth?

Yes, as strange as it may seem, crabs do have teeth, but not in their mouths. Crabs have teeth located in their stomachs that are used to chomp up their food before they digest it.

So how do they get food from their mouths into their stomach without chewing it? Well, depending on the species of crab, they may have soft or hard mouthparts that help move food into their mouth.

For example, the Dungeness crab has several types of mouthparts. Those for holding food, for breaking it up, and those for moving food further into their mouth.

Some species such as the Ghost crab even use their stomach teeth to growl and warn off predators.

How Do Crabs Stomach Teeth Work?

Once the crab uses its mouthparts in order to push food into its stomach, this is where it can start to grind up the food before digesting it.

The species of crabs that do have teeth in their stomachs typically have a hard exoskeleton-like structure to grind up food that is passed into the gastric tract.

Once there, the teeth in the stomach grind against one another when the stomach contracts, which mashes up the food making it easier to digest.

The gastric teeth are also present in species such as the brown crab, decorator crab, and even some lobsters.

Can Crabs Bite?

Due to the positioning of the crab’s teeth, they are unable to bite humans, however, oftentimes they do have large claws which are capable of pinching you instead.

Depending on the size of the crab it will latch onto its target and then squeeze, which can be very painful and leave a nasty mark.

This is why it’s very important when picking up crabs, as you need to ensure that you hold the crab correctly to stay out of the way of their claws.

Crabs use their strong claws to rip and tear up their food, whilst their mandibles shred the food a little more before passing it along to the digestive tract.

What Do Crabs Eat?

When it comes to food, crabs are not fussy eaters and will eat anything they can get a hold of.

Their diet consists of barnacles, plants, worms, living or dead fish, and much more. They will mop up the remains of a predator’s meal and leave nothing but bones.

Most crabs are scavengers that eat anything they can find. They are also carnivores or omnivores which eat both meat and plants.

Final Thoughts

Do crabs have teeth? Yes, they certainly do. But not in the way you might expect, crab teeth are located in their stomachs and not their mouth.

This allows them to grind up and digest food that is passed down from their mouthparts, allowing them to mash up food to digest it.

Hopefully, this post has been helpful and you’ve learned something new about crabs and their teeth today.

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