Sometimes you catch crabs on vacation. Sometimes the crabs catch you.
Last month we went on vacation to Myrtle Beach and stayed at a resort right by the ocean. I grew up in a town not far from MB, but regrettably did not take advantage of my proximity to the beach as often as I should have. The resort is located near a marsh inlet which proved to be an excellent source of wildlife! I will write more about the diverse ecosystem in another post, but for now, I want to talk about Crabs!
When we first got to the inlet, I noticed several large Blue Crabs in the shallow water so in I went. I was not really prepared for this endeavor so I was forced to use my hands. Finally with the aid of some well placed sand, I was able to grab the crab by the back of it’s shell and bring it out of the water.
He was not too happy. My sister was filming and had stopped recording when I spotted another crab with only one pincer. I figured it would be an easy catch, and while holding the first crab, nabbed the second by it’s lone claw. Here was my mistake. I took my eyes off of the first crab, and he knew it. Another family had come over to see what was going on and witnessed what happened next.
My sister began recording again briefly as I tried to figure out how to get the crab to release me. It was not as simple as I had hoped and every time someone moved (like when the woman came closer to take a picture), he would clamp down harder. One thing I learned on vacation…crabs are ornery!!
He held onto my finger for probably 10 or 15 minutes, periodically applying added pressure while I laid in the shallow water contemplating my life decisions. I eventually decided that I wasn’t going to go out like that, took a deep breath and jerked my hand out of the water. The crab gave one last parting pinch and then let go, falling back into the water and scuttled away, I’m sure cursing the silly human who dared challenge his domain.
Once I was finally freed, we called it a day and headed back to our room so that I could lick my wounds (figuratively of course). The next day my mom and sisters brought a net so that we could safely continue exploring. As I said, we found many creatures, but for this post, we will focus on the crabs. Almost immediately upon returning to the inlet, we hauled in a nice sized crustacean and the twins were amazed!
After catching several larger crabs, we began noticing many juvenile crabs scurrying about. There were crabs of all sizes, but even the smaller ones were mean and would grab anything that entered the pinch zone.
Eventually we found some that were small enough to pose no threat so the kids got to be more involved. It was very interesting to see how unique each crab was. They all seemed to be great at posing for pictures.
Once the kids got up the courage to hold the crabs, they were hooked!
Literally every crab we saw they wanted to catch and hold. I had to warn them that some of the smaller ones could still pinch. I am so proud of my brave explorers!
We soon discovered that we needed to be extra cautious when wading through the shallow waters of the inlet. As soon as Evan released one of the baby crabs, it buried itself under the sand and was nearly invisible. Next time I’m thinking water shoes are a must!
These animals are beautiful and amazing, but as I explained to the kids, they are wild animals and are not meant to be kept as pets. As with most of our adventures, we observe and release the critters we catch; that way they will be around for other kids to enjoy for years to come.
Be sure to check out our next post to see what other incredible creatures we discovered, and subscribe to the lilburghers Youtube channel for all of our latest adventures.
Until next time, happy herping, ya’ll!
One thought on “Wildlife Wednesday: Catching Blue Crabs in Myrtle Beach”
Great combination of science and theater!