Handling Live Blue Crabs


Crabbing Gloves

Nothing beats a good pair of crabbing gloves when it comes to handling live blue crabs.

While gloves protect your skin from being cut by the crab's sharp claws, they do not protect you from the extreme pressure exerted by the crab. If you handle fairly large (and strong) crabs, be advised to use caution and avoid the claws since the tremendous amount of pressure that a crab can exert on your gloved hand (or finger) is tremendous and can be very painful!

NOTE: Robwear Brand gloves are manufactured by the Best Manufacturing Company. Robwear "Crabber's Delight" gloves are identical to Best's "Original Nitty Gritty" wrinkle finish gloves.


Bare Handed

With a lot of care and practice, you can handle live blue crabs with your bare hands! The trick is to know where to hold them. Pick up the crab from behind, grabbing it at the base of its swimming fin where it connects to the main body. Hold it so that your thumb is on top of the joint and your index finger is curled underneath.

When held properly, the crab will not be able to get you with its sharp claws, try as he may! The first several times that you do this, your gut instinct is to panic and let go because it seems as if he'll pinch you. But, you soon get the hang of it and you won't think twice about it.

Some useful tips include gently stepping on the crab with your shoe (from the front) in order to subdue him so that he won't be able to maneuver and pinch you while you're approaching him. You can also use a piece of wood or other object to hold the crab down while you grab his swimming fin.

Above all, you must have respect for the crab. The instant you let your guard down, he'll strike! And once he grabs a hold of you, he won't let go without a fight!


Another popular method of handling crabs is to use a sturdy pair of tongs, especially when transferring crabs to the cooking pot.


If you find yourself in the awkward predicament of having a crab latched on to your flesh, be assured that he won't let go without some persuasion! A quick flick of the wrist might do the trick, assuming that he's locked onto a finger. But, the most efficient method of getting the crab to release is to simply put him back in the water. Once the crab is back in water, he'll immediately release his grip and swim away. If you have a friend nearby, you might be able to dip-net the crab once he's free.

Blood Poisoning

On rare occasions, people have been known to get blood poisoning if the skin is broken from the pinch of a blue crab. Bacteria live on the outer shell of the crab and if your skin is broken this bacteria can cause an infection. Wear gloves and always have respect for the formidable blue crab!


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