Can You Take a Horseshoe Crab Out of the Water?

Often, individuals may wonder, can you take a horseshoe crab out of the water? The simple answer is that it’s best not to. While it’s true that horseshoe crabs can survive on land for short periods, they are marine animals and need to be in the water to thrive and survive.

Horseshoe crab

Why You Shouldn’t Remove Horseshoe Crabs from Their Natural Habitat

It’s crucial to understand that while taking a horseshoe crab out of the water might seem harmless, it can lead to undue stress for the creature. Here are some reasons why one should refrain from doing so:

  1. Stress: Horseshoe crabs, like any other animals, experience stress when handled excessively and taken out of their natural environments. Prolonged exposure to such situations can prove harmful to their health.
  2. Physical Damage: Handling horseshoe crabs ineffectively can harm their exoskeleton or even flip them upside down, making it difficult for them to return to a normal position.
  3. Impact on Breeding Success: Disturbing horseshoe crabs during their breeding period can significantly disrupt their life cycle and lower their breeding success.

What You Should Do Instead

Instead of personally interacting with these ancient creatures, one can consider various non-disruptive alternatives such as:

  1. Observation: Enjoy these fascinating creatures from a distance without disturbing their natural behaviours.
  2. Photography: Take photographs or videos to marvel at their uniqueness and share them with others.
  3. Education: Educate oneself and others about the importance of preserving these creatures and respecting their habitats.
Don’t Do ThisDo This Instead
Remove horseshoe crabs from the waterObserve them without touching
Flip them upside downLearn about their behaviour
Disturb them during breeding periodEducate others about respecting their habitats


While horseshoe crabs have survived eons in diverse conditions, it’s in our best interest to let these marine animals continue living undisturbed in their natural habitats. Remember, every small step we take towards respecting marine life will help maintain the delicate balance of our ecosystems.

Reyus Mammadli/ author of the article

I have had pets since childhood: cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, geese, chickens, ducks, parrots, aquarium fish and dogs (in the yard). Of course, I constantly encountered diseases of pets and treated them. Glad to be able to share my skills and experience, as well as advice on caring for and adapting these critters and birds.

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