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Does a blue crab bite or pinch?

The front claws of a blue crab are very powerful and are used for defense and feeding. A blue crab’s mouth is a small triangle shaped opening. Blue crabs stuff most anything into their mouths, but do not bite their food or people.

If you are catching or handling live blue crabs, be sure to watch out for the 2 front claws, a blue crab claw pinch can be very painful. There are a few ways to keep safe when handling angry blue crabs. Placing the crabs on ice, causes them to cool down and become still, where handling is much safer. Some folks pull off the front pinchers, while others say they can hypnotize a crab to sleep. Whatever method you choose, be sure to make sure the crab is still before attempting to clean or cook.

As one of Florida’s top seafood products, these tasty crustaceans provide healthy and delicious dinner fare. Blue crabs are found throughout Florida’s estuaries.  Blue crab meat is low in fat, high in protein and contains vitamins, calcium, iron and omega3-fattty acids.

Blue crabs are harvested both commercially and recreationally. Commercially, blue crabs are harvested using traps. Recreationally, blue crabs can be harvested using traps, dip nets and even string with a hook and use chicken as bait. If you decide to try to catch blue crabs recreationally, using any of these techniques, make sure you pay attention to trap requirements, size, daily bag limits and have a recreational saltwater license. For more information, click here.

Whole blue crabs and blue crab meat can be purchased in many local seafood markets. Sometimes you might find blue crabs at your local grocery store seafood counter. Whole blue crabs can be purchased cooked (usually steamed), cleaned (exoskeleton and insides removed), soft-shell (the soft tissue body right after a blue crab sheds it’s hard exoskeleton), fresh or frozen. The body meat is sold either as claw meat (strictly from the claws), cocktail fingers (claws that have most of the shell removed) lump and jumbo lump crab meat.  You can purchase local blue crabs and meat fresh or frozen or purchase pasteurized blue crab meat that is usually imported. To learn more about Florida Blue crabs and Florida seafood, check out the Fl. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences Seafood webpage to learn more about Florida Blue crabs and Florida seafood!!

As more and more families are cooking seafood in their homes for the health benefits, flavors, simple cooking techniques, we encourage those to support local and national seafood industries, Support American Seafood!

Photo Credit: Florida Sea Grant

Chris Verlinde – UF/IFAS Extension Florida Sea Grant Agent, Santa Rosa County

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