Are Horseshoe Crabs Dangerous?

If you were to come across a horseshoe crab for the first time you might think so. With it’s tail that looks like a spear you would think it would use it for a weapon or that it might contain poison.

Actually, horseshoe crabs don’t use the tail as a weapon at all and there is no poison to be found here. The tail which is called a telson is just used to help it navigate and to turn itself back over should it get knocked onto it’s back.

With that in mind, I wouldn’t want to accidentally step on it with bare feet. The tail is fairly sharp at it’s point and I’m sure you could get a pretty good stab wound from it.

The horseshoe crab has no teeth or even a jaw, so it can’t bite at all, so no chance of getting bit by one. The pincers on the end of it’s legs are not very strong. Just enough to pick up small pieces of food and direct it into it’s mouth. Nothing at all like a real crab which can give you quite a pinch if you let it.

Speaking of crabs, a horseshoe crab is not a crab, but rather a relative of spiders and scorpions. It is a lot friendlier than either of those two cousins. I’m not much into picking up spiders or scorpions that are alive, but a horseshoe crab. No problems there.

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David Hodgson (32 Posts)

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