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Can Mud Crabs Take Off a Finger? 

Can Mud Crabs Take Off a Finger

For those of us who have ever had to feel the scorn of a crab, we know that it can hurt quite a lot! Some crabs have such an incredibly strong grip that it can feel as though they’re going to take our whole hand off! But can crabs actually take off your fingers? 

Certain crabs, such as the coconut crab or even the mud crab, are known for having a long and very strong pinch. They’re definitely not the type of thing that you would want to put your hand near. But how powerful are they, and are they really strong enough to take off your finger? 

Generally speaking, no, mud crabs are not strong enough to break your finger off. However, they can break shells up to 40 kg, and if they do feel threatened by you, then they could potentially do some serious damage.

From bone-breaking to nerve-shattering, there is definitely a lot of pain that they could cause. Therefore, it is wise to avoid getting in their way, and if you do have to hold them, then remember to wear protective gear and take as many precautions as possible. 

How strong is a mud crab pinch? 

As previously mentioned, mud crabs have a pinch that can destroy shells that need up to 40 kg of force to break. Therefore, there is no denying that these little crabs are incredibly strong! Avoid getting any fingers or toes anywhere near them, just in case – that’s our advice!

In times of distress, mud crabs will pinch you and can even detach their pincers from their body, leaving you with a bit more of a problem – strange but true!

If that happens to you, then you will need to get yourself checked by a medical professional and have the pincers removed as soon as possible. However, you do not have to worry about the crab. Generally speaking, the mud crab will simply regrow its pincers to replace the ones that they lost. Therefore, there’s not too much need for you to worry.

What happens if a crab pinches you? 

First of all, you will need to remove the crab. Your natural instinct may be to shake it off, and in some cases, with smaller crabs, that may work. However, the chances are that the crab will just grip tighter and cause you even more pain.

Some suggest placing the crab back in the water to make it feel more secure. As is the case with mud crabs, the crab may release itself from its pincers to get away, at which point you do not need to worry about hurting the crab and just do what you can to remove the pincers carefully and safely.

The best thing to do is to get professional help as soon as possible, to ensure that there is limited damage. 

Once the pincers have been removed, you will need to go to a hospital, even if it was a relatively mild pinch. There could be fractures or even nerve damage where the crab pinched, and you will need to get checked over by a doctor right away.

Crabs pinch people all of the time, no matter what part of the ocean they are in. Whether you’re just going for a quick swim or even walking calmly along the beach, a crab can cross your path and pinch you.

Trust us, they’re not doing it to be mean, nor are they even very vicious animals. It’s more to do with the fact that they are small and vulnerable, so when they feel threatened, they attack. Remember that you will be going onto their territory, and they do not know why; therefore, they pinch!

Are mud crabs territorial? 

Mud crabs are indeed territorial. When kept in small areas with others of the species, they will commonly fight over their area. Therefore, you need to keep a close eye on how they behave with their tankmates – just in case!

That being said, mud crabs are also known for living in large groups together in the wild. They do not spend their days fighting with one another and appear to live in harmony! The trick is for them to have the space and enough food for all of them. As long as mud crabs have everything that they need, they are not aggressive towards one another. 

However, as mentioned, mud crabs can be very aggressive towards humans, especially if they are not being handled properly. Therefore, it’s worth learning how to care for these critters appropriately if you want to give them a home in your tank any time soon.

Where do mud crabs go in winter? 

During the wintertime, female mud crabs leave their usual habitats in rivers and estuaries to go and hatch their young. Their male counterparts tend to stay put and enjoy the extra food!

However, mud crabs do not hibernate during the winter. Many assume that the winter is the worst time to find them because they hibernate, but it is simply due to the fact that they are smaller in numbers. 

That being said, it definitely is better to go crabbing during the summer, where you will find plenty of mud crabs. You may come across them by accident on the beach! It’s also worth looking for mud crabs in aquatic centres in the summer, too, if you wish to adopt a handful of your own.

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Erik Miller

Passionate scuba diver

Hello, there. Welcome to my blog. I am Erik and I’m the main editor of Sealife Planet website.

My passion and hobby has always been scuba diving. My mission is to grow this website and help others with useful information about the sea world. Enjoy! is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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