I read this strange remark:

Picture a bucket full of crabs with no lid. The moment a crab tries to get out, the other crabs will literally rip its legs off.

It was said as something that is common knowledge. I had no idea about this. What are they talking about? Huh? Why would crabs behave like that? Is this just nonsense?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ No, that's an exaggeration of the "crab bucket" phenomenon. They just pull the other crabs down: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crab_mentality It's also a metaphor for a certain type of human behaviour. See for instance Terry Pratchett (in Unseen Academicals): wiki.lspace.org/mediawiki/Crab_Bucket $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Commented Jul 1, 2021 at 16:38
  • $\begingroup$ @jamesqf Well, I watched numerous videos on YouTube but couldn't find a single one where this actually happened. Very frustrating. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 1, 2021 at 18:13
  • $\begingroup$ I've no personal experience of live crabs, so I can't say whether it actually happens. But as a metaphor, it's perfectly understandable. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Commented Jul 2, 2021 at 5:14

1 Answer 1


As lobsters are crustaceans that I am more familiar with, I will say that lobsters are cannibalistic at times, so in addition to aggression, crabs may also exhibit the same predation behaviors when in close contact. I am not sure if that explains this behavior, but it is possible. Both crabs and lobsters do randomly bite each other when trapped together though.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your enthusiasm, but please review the criteria for How to Answer — in particular we want answers that provide detailed explanations with references to reliable sources (preferably primary literature). Speculation that isn't backed by such sources is indistinguishable from opinion, which is expressly off-topic on this site. $\endgroup$
    – tyersome
    Commented May 5, 2022 at 19:50

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