Whether you’re walking along the sandy beach or venturing into the water, you have likely encountered a horseshoe crab in the coastal regions of North Carolina, South Carolina, or Georgia. The crabs are often so thick that it appears as though you can walk on them. What exactly are those prehistoric creatures meandering about in the salty sea and sandy shore?

How Do You Identify A Horseshoe Crab

To identify a horseshoe crab, spot the circular green to a brown-colored shell. The shell is bowl-like in appearance.

In addition to the hard armored shell, a tail protrudes at the back end of the crab. In regards to size, the horseshoe crab measure approximately two feet in length.

Fortunately, the horseshoe crab is significantly different from other Atlantic ocean crab species; therefore, confusion is avoided. The horseshoe is the most giant crab found in the Atlantic. 

Are Horseshoe Crabs Older Than Dinosaurs

The horseshoe crab dates back further than 400 million years, making them older than dinosaurs. 

Upon locating a horseshoe crab, you will quickly realize they are prehistoric based on their appearance. Catching a glimpse of a crab is a unique experience, particularly for children visiting from locations inland.

Why Do Horseshoe Crabs Die On The Beach

Unfortunately, this type of crab moves along clumsily. As a result of being clumsy, the crab is easily flipped on its back in giant breaking waves with the inability to right itself.

As the tide falls, the crabs become stranded and succumb to dry conditions and lack of oxygen. The gills must be wet to perform respiration.

Should you see, a crab stranded on the beach, place your hands on both sides of the shell and move the crab to the water. Southern shores are known to be littered with dead horseshoe crabs. However, they wash away as the tide rolls back in. 

Can A Horseshoe Crab Kill You

The horseshoe crab is a friendly creature and will not attack, bite, or sting you. When it comes to handling these types of crabs, place your hands in all areas except for the tail.

While the tail is never used maliciously, it contains sharp points that, when touched, causes cuts and scrapes to the skin. Always avoid making contact with the tail of the crab.

Are Horseshoe Crabs Good To Eat

Despite how prevalent the creature is, making them easy to harvest, they are not edible simply because they yield little to no meat whatsoever. 

Horseshoes are good eaters themselves. The crustacean would be tasty if they had meat on their bones or shell, so to speak. 

The diet consists of worms, crustaceans, and clams which are small in size. Food is picked up by the legs, crushed, and transferred to the mouth. 

What Is Special About Horshoe Crab Blood

The blood of a horseshoe crab contains a clotting agent when mixed with particular types of bacteria. 

Without the clotting agent from the crabs, the bacteria is challenging to detect in humans, and therefore it is valuable for medical practices. 

Fortunately, the crab is not harmed during the process of removing the blood. A significant percentage of blood is extracted without killing the creature. 

What Eats Horseshoe Crabs

The horseshoe crab becomes prey for sea life, including birds, sea turtles, and sharks. However, predators are not causing a reduced population of these crabs. It is caused by overdevelopment.

Overdevelopment of coastal shorelines and seawalls obstruct crucial habitats that once belonged to the crab. As a result, mating grounds are disturbed, so annual reproduction rates are decreased. 

Get To The Coast To Locate The Prehistoric Crustacean

Whether the shoreline is in your backyard or you’re traveling in from out of town. Take the opportunity to explore the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina to spot a horseshoe crab. The family will find enjoyment watching them scurry in the shallow waters and often see large groups together. Go by car or anchor the boat and remember to take a few pictures to make the experience last.