What is a Red Rock Crab?

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  • Written By: Misty Amber Brighton
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 30 December 2019
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A red rock crab is a type of crustacean that is normally found in the Puget Sound area of the northwestern U.S. and southern Canada. It is known for its very thick shell, which is usually a deep red color. They can be very aggressive creatures, and often pinch people, even through heavy gloves.

These animals are often caught commercially in the Puget Sound area, a marine waterway that extends from Washington State to British Columbia, Canada. Even so, they are also found off the eastern coasts of the U.S. and Canada. Their Atlantic Ocean habitat ranges from Nova Scotia to Florida.

Red rock crab are known for having a very thick shell that is often difficult to break or crack. It is usually a dark red color, but might also be brown. Generally speaking, crabs are darker in northern regions than in the south. They usually have black tips on the end of their claws, both in front and back.

Males are typically slightly larger than their female counterparts. An average male is usually around seven inches (17.78 cm) wide from one side of his covering to the other. A female, on the other hand, might only be around five inches (12.7 cm) wide across her shell.


Red rock crab generally prefer shallow waters in bays or estuaries. Here they may make their beds in rocky areas or beds of gravel on the bottom. They might also select areas where kelp grows, as it can offer them a moderate amount of protection from some of their predators.

These crustaceans are known to be extremely aggressive, so care must be taken when handling them. This includes wearing thick, leather gloves when picking them up. Even so, a red rock crab can sometimes bite or pinch through this type of heavy cloth. Long sleeves and pants should also be worn to protect the arms and legs.

When eating this seafood, diners can find most of its meat in the animal's claws. More might also be found in its thighs as well. For this reason, when eaten as a main course, approximately eight to 10 red rock crabs per person should be served.

Even though it is not an especially meaty type, red rock crab nonetheless can have a mild yet pleasant taste. They are usually boiled while they are still alive because their meat tends to spoil quickly. People who enjoy crab and other seafood may enjoy catching and eating this species.


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