How Long Do Crabs Live?

Do you think about how long crabs live? Let’s learn about their lifespan in this article. 

The decapod crustaceans can live millions of years. But many other environmental factors affect their lifespan. Humans eat crabs, in this way, they are consumed and finished earlier. Some species of crabs can live up to decades more than others. 

How long do crabs live?

How long do crabs live?

The average lifespan of crabs is 3-5 years, but it depends on the type of crab. There are many species of crabs, and their lifespan is also different. 

Let’s compare the crab’s species and age;

  • King crabs: Red king crabs live almost 20 to 30 years in the wild. 
  • Snow crabs: They have a lifespan of about 20 years. 
  • Blue crabs: These crabs mostly live 3-4 yeaThey gain maturity in 18 to 20 weeks of their age. Water and temperature affect their growth; they can grow faster in warmer water.
  • Dungeness crabs: Their life cycle is about ten years. 

You have learned about different crabs’ species and their lifespan. When proper care has been done for crabs species as pets, they live more than wild crabs. 

The crab’s life cycle:

Let’s understand each stage of the crab’s life cycle to understand it better. 


Crabs attract mates when they release chemical pheromones. After mating, the females store sperm until their eggs are released. When eggs are removed, the sperms move towards them and fertilize their eggs.


Red crabs lay 100,000 eggs at once. A female blue crab can lay almost 8 million eggs in one season. 

Horseshoe crabs lay 88,000 eggs at a time. The female stores fertilized eggs inside their body and in the abdominal flap. The eggs are stored near the pleopods, the crab’s tiny legs. Female crabs use pleopods to send water waves above the eggs to keep them healthy. 


Baby crabs are known as Zoeas. When hatched from eggs, the larvae live a long distance away from their mothers. The zoeas are translucent and have crusty skin outside. They have tails that enable them to swim. 

They also have spikes on their heads that help them to defend themselves. Before entering into a megalopa stage, which resembles a mature crab, each has a specific number of zoeal steps separated by molts.

After moving, the crab is now called a juvenile, dwelling on the seafloor instead of afloat.


A small juvenile crab with strong claws feeds on small fish. In this stage, the crab can moult frequently and grow fastly. They reach maturity in 18 weeks of their life cycle. 

What factors affect the crab’s lifespan?

Crabs are an essential component of our surroundings. They are captured for different purposes, consuming about five million tons annually. However, many factors influence our ability to sustain a healthy crab population. 

These factors affect the life cycle of the crabs;

Loss of habitat:

In water, grass provides a safe environment for the juvenile and saves them from predators. The deprivation of these grasses is the loss of habitat for many species. The crabs hide in shallow water near wooded regions. Loss of habitat affects the survival chances of the crabs. 


In the water, a plethora prey upon crabs. Their predators contain anything from fish to sea animals like dolphins, sharks and porpoises. Even octopuses feed on them. As we know, humans also prey on crabs.

Climate change

When water temperature changes, it affects predators, winter mortality, and prey availability. If the sea level increases, it may impact the environment. Changes in rain quantity can increase regions of low dissolved oxygen, reducing foraging materials and limiting the amount of habitat for the crabs to live.

The oldest of all the crabs

The oldest of all the crabs:

Horseshoe crabs have lived there for about 445 million years and have changed from where they initially were. However, a horseshoe crab is not an actual crab. But it’s an interesting fact.

Hopefully, you have learned that all species depend on humans to maintain life expectancy. 

How long do crabs live without water?

Blue crabs can breathe by gills the same as marine animals. Blue crabs survive without water for an extended period, even 24 hours until their gills remain moist.

Crabs seek cool, dark and damp places when they are out of water to keep their gills moist and save them from predators. All the Crabs have flexible plates around their gills. 

A crab can live out of the water, depending on the species. Unique crabs, like coconut and land hermit crabs, live on land and can live without water, but gills must be moist.

These crabs spend their whole life out of water. When they were submerged in the water,they would die. 

Other crab species, like blue crabs, are aquatic and take oxygen from the underwater environment. They also can live for 1-2 days without water. And the European green crab is famous for its ability to live for a week out of water.

How long do crabs live in captivity?

Usually all crabs can survive for 3-4 years in captivity. The life cycle of hermit crabs depends upon the care. Many crabs in captivity live for one or two months. It is typical for crabs to live in captivity for one to twenty years. 

How long can a crab live without food?

Crabs are capable of living for prolonged periods without food. They can live for about two weeks without food by reserving water in their bodies to dampen their gills and drink.

How long do pet crabs live?

How long do pet crabs live?

The care of the hermit crabs is challenging because most pet owners do not know better how to care for these tiny creatures. With proper care, pet hermit crabs can live for about 20 years in an intense environment and care. A safe environment and nutrition can increase their life cycle. 


You have learned all about the crab’s life cycle. All the species have different life spans. Some crabs live for 30 years, and some live only five years. Average species can survive for three to four years, but some die in the early stages.

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