What Do Crabs Eat? - Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:03 Crabs
  • 0:38 Dungeness Crabs
  • 1:05 Blue Crabs
  • 1:41 King Crabs
  • 2:08 Snow Crabs / Hermit Crabs
  • 3:16 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

Did you know that there are over 4,000 different species of crabs? They all look different and live in different places, but they eat many of the same things. Let's learn about what crabs like to eat!


Have you ever seen a crab? They are odd-looking creatures with long arms that end in pincers or claws, which they use to catch food. Believe it or not, there are over 4,000 different species of crabs! Four of the most widely known types of crabs are Dungeness crabs, blue crabs, king crabs, and snow crabs. People know more about these crabs because we like to eat them!

People enjoy eating crabs, but do you know what crabs themselves eat? Because crabs live in many different places, their diets vary depending on their environment.

Dungeness Crabs

Dungeness crabs live in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of the U.S. from northern California up to Alaska. They are carnivores, which means they like to eat meat, so they catch fish, other crabs, worms, squids, starfish, and snails. They hunt along the sea floor for animals that are partly covered by sand. Dungeness crabs will also eat fish eggs, and will even eat other Dungeness crabs!

Blue Crabs

Unlike Dungeness crabs, blue crabs live in the Atlantic Ocean, along the entire east coast of the United States. Blue crabs eat many of the same things as Dungeness crabs. Blue crabs will also eat fish and plants. They sometimes catch small crustaceans, which are marine animals like shrimp, barnacles, lobsters, and crabs. They especially like to eat fiddler crabs and marsh periwinkles, which are a type of sea snail. Like many other crabs, they're scavengers who will eat dead animals that they find on the sea floor. Blue crabs will also eat other blue crabs.

King Crabs

King crabs are sometimes called Alaskan king crabs because they live in very cold ocean water off the coasts of Alaska and Russia. King crabs eat protozoa, which are one-celled, tiny animals that live in the ocean water. They also eat algae. As king crabs grow, they eat larger sea creatures, including other crabs, worms, clams, mussels, snails, sea urchins, sponges, sand dollars, and barnacles.

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