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Can You Eat Ghost Crabs? (All You Need to Know)

If you are a beach person and often visit beaches around different countries, you must have seen one of these little crabs skittering across the sand. Crabs are one favorite and most selling dish among beach-goers. But not all of them are ideal for eating by humans.

If you have ever wondered that if these small ghost crabs are edible or not, you might want to have a look throughout this article.

Can you eat ghost crabs?

Ghost crabs are edible which means you can eat ghost crabs. It is important to wash thoroughly with water. However, most people don’t prefer eating ghost crabs. They are small in size and their bodies don’t contain a large amount of meat making them good for eating.

Can humans eat ghost crabs? 

Ghost crabs are one common crab type mainly found and seen on the coastal beaches and back shores. These crabs are smaller in size. Technically, the ghost crabs are edible by humans. However, most people don’t prefer to have ghost crabs.

It is because they are tiny and don’t contain a large amount of flesh. 

On the other hand, some people use these ghost crabs to can make broth and are used for making soup. Before eating make sure to remove the sheet and the outer shell of the ghost crabs.

It is to be washed thoroughly and boiled for a minimum of 20 minutes before preparing the crabs before eating. 

However, some other people do not recommend eating these grabs because they are not very familiar with and convenient food to eat. The choice varies from person to person. There are several recipes with ghost crab on the internet. 

What is a ghost crab?

Ghost crabs are one species of the Ocypodinae family, commonly called semi-terrestrial crabs. These crabs are found in the different tropical and sub-tropical regions across the world. They feed on small sea creatures and are the prey of birds and fishes.

They are box-shapes crabs with semi-transparent shells.

A ghost crab is a distinct species of crab commonly known as Sand crabs. Atlantic ghost crabs are most well-known. The Atlantic ghost crabs are found on the Atlantic coasts.

Other than these, there are many different ghost crabs found on coastal beaches and back shores all over the world. 

The ghost crabs live in both water and land, but not wholly on the land. This is why they are known as semi-terrestrial by nature. They live on the land partially, but not wholly. They dig sand burrows and mostly stay there.

Usually, in the cooler times of the day, they come out of their sand holes. 

One special feature of this species is that they can change their body colors to match the environment. It helps them to hide and be less vulnerable to their predators.

They are mostly found in the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Eastern Pacific coast of the Americas.

Are ghost crabs poisonous or harmful?

Ghost crabs are not poisonous. Most of the crab species are not poisonous to human bodies. But not all of them are good for health. A few of these species might carry toxins in dangerous amounts. Again, they are very small in number and rarely found.

They should be avoided while eating.

These crabs are generally harmless. As long as they don’t feel threatened and hurt, the ghost crabs don’t do anything that could harm people. Moreover, they do not bite people or do not produce any poison by themselves. 

Can ghost crabs hurt you?

Ghost crabs don’t hurt people and they are completely harmless. They might sometimes bite but it is their respond as self-defense. Although, a small bite from these crab species won’t do any harm or damage to the body.

As long as they don’t feel threatened and hurt, the ghost crabs don’t hurt people.

If ghost crabs are treated and handled with little care, they can make good pets. Children who often go to the beaches with their parents are very fond of these ghost crabs and are likely to play with them. 

Why can’t you eat ghost crabs?

Although ghost crabs are edible, it is recommended not to eat this particular species of crabs. Here are some reasons that might give support to the idea of avoiding eating ghost crabs.

Small in size:

Ghost crabs are usually small in size. They dig small holes in the sands and live there. As they are small in size, their bodies don’t have a large amount of meat. Due to this reason, people don’t usually feed on these ghost crabs.

Predators of birds and raccoons:

Among the ghost crabs, the most well-known among the species is the Atlantic ghost crabs are mainly the predators of sea birds. These crabs live partially on the sand and the water. Usually, the birds near the sea feed on the ghost crabs. The raccoons also feed on them.

Not easily washable:

 Before preparing for food, crabs need to be boiled for at least 20 minutes and must be washed thoroughly with clean water. Due to their smaller size, the ghost crabs are not easily washable and the shells are not easily removable.

It makes them difficult to clean and thus not recommended to eat.

Can you eat golden ghost crabs?

As the golden ghost crabs are non-poisonous and harmless in nature, they are technically edible. However, most people don’t prefer and recommend eating these particular ghost crabs. One main reason for this is their size.

These crabs are relatively smaller in size than the other crab species.

What are ghost crabs used for?

The ghost crabs are normally generalists as they feed on lifeless animals and leftovers. These crabs are small in size and are mostly used for making traps and preying on small animals. Sea animals like fishes and small turtles like to feed on small crabs like ghost crabs. 

The ghost crabs are mainly considered good baits. Fishing with ghost crabs as bait is quite helpful for the fishers. It attracts big fishes like snook, redfish, and cobia. These fishes are attracted to these small crabs are known as crab eaters.

Thus, the crabs are mainly used for baiting

Some people are fond of hunting ghost crabs and consider it as an adventure as a fun part of the trips to different beaches. The children like to catch the crabs from the sand, play with them and release them back to their sand burrows. 

Ghost crab hunting is a one-of-a-kind, unforgettable event that will leave you with squeals of excitement and memories that will last a lifetime.

Are ghost crabs good to eat? 

Ghost crabs are not good to eat. They are well-known as sand crabs. It is because they live in the sand burrows. They are one small species of crabs and not preferable to eat. Ghost crabs do not contain a good amount of meat in their bodies and this is why they are not good to eat. 

Are ghost crabs cannibals?

Ghost crabs feed on everything, whether on their species or other animals. Ghost crabs are cannibal species of crabs. Moreover, they live on seaweed and dune plants. They also eat the eggs of sea turtles and fish.  

Ghost crabs are flexible consumers which means they change diets according to the availability of the food in nature.

Ghost crabs are outstanding trophic plasticity consumers, inhabiting many trophic levels, getting food through a number of ways, and feeding on a diverse variety of prey.

Can you eat the crabs you find on the beach? 

The crab species found on the beaches are mainly known as Sand crabs. These sand crabs are usually edible when they are prepared properly, washed thoroughly, and if found on a clean beach.

Some of these crabs that are found on the beach can be poisonous to some extent. Sometimes the sea is contaminated by different toxins which may enter the sea creatures’ bodies making them harmful to consume.

Domoic acid, a toxin produced naturally by microscopic algae, causes severe amnesic poisoning in animals including sand crabs.

How big can ghost crabs get? 

The Atlantic ghost crabs are well-known species of ghost crabs that can be up to three inches in size. The ghost crabs are small in size by nature.

These Atlantic ghost crabs are mostly found by the shores of the Atlantic, have square-shaped body structures with a semi-transparent outer shell and one big claw.

The male crabs are larger than the female crabs. They are the small-sized crabs that live in the sand burrows. One specialty is they can change their body colors with their surroundings making them less visible.

Final Thoughts:

The ghost crabs are pale-bodied and small-sized crabs that are edible and not poisonous to human bodies when consumed. However, these crabs are not commonly seen to consume due to the small amount of flesh in their bodies. Some people enjoy eating them on occasion.