How to Transport Live Crabs


Crabs should never be consumed if they are dead. Because there is no way to tell when the crabs died, there is no way to figure out if the meat has spoiled. If you are purchasing crabs to eat, finding a method of transport that keeps them alive is essential.

Things You'll Need

  • Small resealable plastic bags
  • Ice
  • Cooler
  • Work gloves
  • Masking tape (optional)
  • Fill the resealable plastic bags with ice and seal them tightly. Fill enough bags to cover the bottom of your cooler. Use any type of cooler for this purpose.

  • Line the bottom of your cooler with the plastic bags full of ice.

  • Put on a pair of work gloves. This will prevent your hands from being pinched.

  • Place the crabs on top of the ice. Crabs are fairly durable and require no special handling once you have taken precautions to avoid pinching. Ideally, there will be enough space so that they are not crammed on top of one another.

  • Close the cooler lid. If there is no latch on it, use masking tape to secure it. If you are on a long trip, periodically crack open the lid to give the crabs fresh air.

Tips & Warnings

  • Crabs need water to breathe, so periodically wetting the interior of the cooler can help the crabs survive if the trip is long.
  • The optimum temperature for transporting crabs is approximately 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping them in lower temperatures will kill them. To keep an eye on the temperature in your cooler, purchase an aquarium thermometer and mount it inside the cooler.

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  • Photo Credit dungeness crab image by Mat Hayward from
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