Pest Guides

How To Catch Ghost Crabs

Horned Ghost Crab On The Maldives Beach

The Atlantic ghost crab is an iridescent crab found throughout the Atlantic coast, from Rhode Island’s Block Island to Brazil’s Santa Catarina.

These little crustaceans have a sand-hued look and the capacity to change color to blend in with their environment. Because of this, they are adept at camouflaging themselves and avoiding predators.

Ghost crabs are typically seen on coastal beaches, making sun-protective burrows in the sand. These tunnels can be up to four feet deep and filled with sand to stabilize the temperature.

Younger ghost crabs burrow near the shore, and older crabs burrow farther up on the beach.

Catching ghost crabs is popular among beachgoers on the Atlantic coast because catching these fast-moving crabs is humorous. Ghost crab hunting is a fun activity for anyone.

It’s accessible and entertaining; all you require is a flashlight and a silent night on the beach. Ghost crabs are not dangerous creatures.

They’re tiny, so if they pinch you when you try to grab them, they won’t sting too much. Chasing them is a fun way to spend time on the calm, breezy beach.


The Ghost Crab’s scientific name, Ocypode, means “fast feet” because of its capacity to travel sideways quickly at rates of up to 10 miles an hour.

These fascinating crustaceans rub their legs together and tap their claws on the ground to make a characteristic bubbling sound.

Ghost Crabs must maintain the moisture balance in their gills together with oxygen intake. They acquire water from the ocean’s edge or from wet sand to accomplish this.

There are various pointers to keep in mind for individuals interested in ghost crab hunting to boost your chances of a successful search. They include:

  • Choose less busy beaches and avoid densely populated regions for the best likelihood of collecting these elusive creatures.
  • It is best to gather the crabs in a gallon bucket because they are known to be superb escape artists, particularly the bigger ones.
  • Ghost crab hunting is best between May and September.
  • Finally, because ghost crabs continuously seek prospective predators, try donning darker-colored clothes as concealment.

This article outlines easy ways to have a fun-filled ghost crab hunt.

6 Ways To Catch Ghost Crabs

Atlantic Ghost Crab On Sand

Ghost crabs are little, almost iridescent creatures that live along the Outer Banks’ shorelines from the sea wash to the high tide line, and during the quiet night, they arrive in large numbers to comb the beaches for a late meal.

Beachgoers who desire to get near the local wildlife should head to the oceanfront when the sun goes down, turn on a torch, and see the native ghost crab population disperse.

Ghost crabs, so named because of their nocturnal activities, are a little-known yet loved local draw every tourist enjoys seeing.

Here are some ideas for catching these lovely creatures:

1. Choose the Best Time of the Year

Sand Running Through The Bulbs Of An Hourglass Measuring The Passing Time

To catch ghost crabs during their peak activity period, it’s best to visit the beach during the summer months, from May to early September.

This will increase the chances of seeing and catching ghost crabs.

2. Wear Appropriate Clothing

Sand Crab Catcher Fishing Mole Crab In Beach

Wearing dark clothing will help you blend in with the surroundings and make yourself less noticeable to the ghost crabs. It’s essential to walk softly and quietly to avoid frightening the crabs.

3. Visit the Beach at Night

Beautiful Fantasy Of Landscape Tropical Beach

Ghost crabs are nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night. Visiting the beach after sunset is best to see and catch ghost crabs.

4. Use a Flashlight

Crab On The Sandy Beach Of The Indian Ocean Blinded By A Flashlight

A flashlight is essential for spotting ghost crabs. Scan the beach with the flashlight, looking for any movement.

Ghost crabs are small, quick, and the color of sand, so it may be difficult to spot them at first, but with a flashlight, they become more visible.

5. Use a Large Container

Shallow Focus Of Colourful, Plastic Crab And Lobster Containers

Using a five-gallon bucket to hold the crabs will prevent them from escaping and give you a sense of how many you’ve captured during your hunt.

You can also share the experience with family members or friends using a larger container.

6. Release the Crabs Back Into the Wild

Ghost Crab On Island Nature Reserve

After hunting, releasing the ghost crabs back into the environment is essential.

This activity is more about observing and appreciating the crabs than removing them from their natural habitat. It’s essential to respect the environment and the wildlife that inhabits it.


If you’re doing this with a friend, seeing how many ghost crabs each person could get before releasing them is amusing.

The belly laughs come from releasing the bucket of ghost crabs at the end and witnessing intricate footwork accompanied by loud squeals of joy and fright.

With the right tactics, ghost crab hunting is a thrilling activity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Possible To Have a Ghost Crab for a Pet?

Yes, ghost crabs can be kept as pets, but they have special care needs and may not be ideal for everyone.

Ghost crabs are marine animals that must live in seawater with the correct water quality, temperature, and humidity.

They also require a large, well-ventilated tank, burrowing substrate, and a varied diet of live prey such as crustaceans and worms.

Furthermore, ghost crabs can be highly energetic and prone to escaping. Therefore, a secure tank and cover are required.

Before obtaining a ghost crab as a pet, extensively understand its care requirements and ensure you have the equipment and resources to offer an appropriate environment.

Is It Safe To Hold a Ghost Crab?

If you catch a ghost crab, you can hold it but must handle it carefully. Ghost crabs have strong claws and can pinch if threatened, so grab them gently from the back or sides to avoid their claws.

You should also avoid squeezing the crab too hard, which can harm its internal organs.

Furthermore, returning the crab to its original habitat is critical as quickly as possible since prolonged separation from its surroundings can induce stress and injury.

Watching them from a reasonable distance is advisable if you are unfamiliar with crabs.

Can Ghost Crabs Live in Freshwater?

The Atlantic ghost crab is a marine specie that is adapted to living in saltwater environments.

They cannot survive in freshwater as they require a specific range of salinity levels to maintain their health and survival.

The salinity levels in the ocean are generally much higher than those in freshwater environments. This means that ghost crabs cannot tolerate or adapt to changes in water conditions if placed in fresh water.

Don’t use table salt for your water tank. You should go to a pet store and buy reputable salt mixes.

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