image of crab, shrimps and a text saying: what do crabs eat

What Do Crabs Eat?

Written by: Akeem Eletu
Last updated on:
image of crab

Crabs eat different varieties of food.. They are omnivorous.  Crabs are not picky eaters, and they will eat anything they lay their claws on, from fish to worms, shrimps, snails, plants, and  barnacles, and they can even eat other crabs. 

They adapt easily to wherever they find themselves, as survival is a keen instinct. 

Here is a detailed discussion about crab’s diet and other important things.

What Do Crabs Eat?

As omnivores, crabs eat a wider variety of foods, including flesh and plants. Shellfish is a great delicacy for them. Other great food choices that supply crab with nutritional value, depending on the size of the crab, include; 

  • Seaweed
  • Small clams
  • Algae
  • Snails
  • Worms
  • Small fish 
  • Prawn,
  • Mussels,
  • Whelks
  • Shrimp 
  • Brittle stars
  • Sponges

What Fish Do Crabs Eat?

Crabs love fish. But some specific fish species are the perfect meal for a crab. They include salmon, dogfish, sharks, striped bass, and many other shellfish like scallops, cockles, and mussels.

In the wild, crabs will eat any fish they can catch with their pincers. The same variety of food for a wild crab is suitable for your pet one. But crabs in the wild eat a more varietied diet than captive crabs.

Larger wild crabs eat other crabs. This could happen to your pet crabs if you keep a bigger species or even bigger size of the same species together with smaller crabs. Starvation could cause the larger crabs to feast on  smaller crabs. You should separate them.

Crabs Eat Worms

image of Crabs and Worms

Crabs are not picky eaters. They eat worms.  Squid worms and earthworms make a great meal for crabs. 

Feed your pet crab only live worms. Frozen worms should be avoided unless they do not contain harmful chemical additives. Also, avoid worms where the soil in which they bred has been exposed to chemicals such as pesticides.

Crabs in the wild will catch worms with their pincers.  They eat the worm slowly, and use their pincers to hold the live worm while eating it.  Many crabs in fresh water and marshes enjoy earthworms as a delicacy. 

Crabs Eat Plants

Crabs also love plants which are generally full of protein, vitamins, and nutrients the crab needs for a healthy body. Some great plant food choicesinclude:

Sea Lettuce

Sea lettuce is a major source of iron and calcium. It is also high in sodium, potassium, phosphorus, and manganese and contains vitamins A, B1, and C, among others. Crabs enjoy this shallow seaweed. 


Crabs eat parsley. They enjoy the nutrients that this vegetable plant offers. Parsley contains essential nutrients such as vitamins A, K, and C. It is also a good source of  calcium, magnesium, and potassium.


This plant is a great protein and fiber source. It helps the crab to keep a healthy cholesterol level. You can feed it in a variety of ways. You can reduce the leaves to smaller pieces and leave them in an open container for your crab to find and eat, or you can place them on the enclosure floor.

Other plants that crabs eat include carrots (carrot tops precisely), algae, watercress leaves, and lettuce leaves.

If you have a pet crab, it would be best to feed some of these plants in moderation to avoid health-related problems.

Crabs Eat Fruits

image of mango and apple

Many omnivores enjoy fruits as a part of their diet. Crabs are no exception. For your pet crabs, you can feed them the following fruits:


Crabs enjoy mangoes. It is a good feed choice for your pet crabs. But do not peel the mango before feeding it to your crab. Mango skin has good nutrients. If the mango was grown with chemicals for premium yields which may have amassed on the fruits’ skin, you should feed it to them with the peel. Mango fruit skin has good fiber and nutrients, which the crabs need to be healthy.


Apples are a great fruit choice for your crabs, especially when they are out of water. Apples contain fiber and numerous vitamins that your crabs will benefit from. 

Other fruits you can feed your crabs include kiwis, grapes, peaches, and figs.

What Do Baby Crabs Eat?

image of Baby Crab on the palm of person's hand

Baby crabs are very fragile animals. Their foods have to be monitored closely, but baby Crabs thrive on any food, such as algae, beef, eggs, and vegetables. Baby crabs also eat a lot of fruits because it  helps them grow.

Other foods you can feed your pet crab include dog feed and cat feed, but follow the instructions.

Why Do Crabs Eat Snail

Crabs are animals that eat anything.  Crabs feed on snails whenever they are available to them. Since snails are rich in proteins, crabs do not hesitate to eat them. 

However,  crabs also eat snails for their shells whenever they have outgrown their own..

Are shrimps safe for crabs?

Shrimps are a good food to include in your crab’s diet. Even though crabs are heavy consumers of shrimps, they should eat them in moderation

Shrimp is a high protein food low in fat, which reduces the chances of obesity. If you want to feed shrimps to your crabs, do so in moderation and remove all forms of claws from the shrimps so the crabs can enjoy their meal without getting hurt.

What Not To Feed Crabs

Some plants and other food choices should not be given to your crabs for health reasons. In the wild, crabs have many food choices. Also, crabs are always moving from one part of a region to the other where food sources are more readily available. So for them, “what not to feed” is not important. They can eat anything.. 

But the case is different for your pet crab. For your captive pets, avoid foods that are low in calcium. Like many other crustaceans, Crabs are exoskeleton: a hard shell structure covers their bodies. 

Every other part of their body contains a hard skeleton known as chitin. They need a lot of calcium to grow strong shells, pincers, and every other part of their exoskeleton. This means your pet crabs will not grow a hard skeletal structure if you frequently feed them foods that have very low calcium content. 

Also, avoid starchy veggies such as potatoes because of their low nutritional value for crabs. Stay away from dairy products as much as you can. 

Processed foods and junk food are not advised as chemical additives and preservatives may harm the health of the crabs.

Final Thoughts

Crabs are not picky eaters and will likely eat almost anything you offer them unless they do not like the taste. While they are omnivores, their habitat determines whether they will eat more plants or meat.

Although crabs in the wild feed on carrion, do not feed your pet crabs dead fish or other dead organisms. It is not healthy.

And finally, to prevent your larger crabs from feasting on the smaller pet crabs, ensure that the enclosure is not overpopulated and that crabs of the same sizes are placed together.

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