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May 13, 2015

A giant crab with fist-sized claws is making itself at home at Portsmouth’s Blue Reef Aquarium.

The massive crustacean, which weighs close to four kilogrammes and measures over 26cms across its shell, was hauled up in the pots of a local fisherman. It was destined for the dinner table until staff at Viviers fish merchants took pity on it and contacted the aquarium to see if they wanted to save it. Now the edible crab, which has been nicknamed the ‘Beast’ by aquarists, is destined to enjoy a peaceful and pot-free retirement at the Southsea wildlife attraction.

Blue Reef’s Lindsay Holloway said: “He’s a fantastic-looking specimen with an awesome set of fist-sized claws. It’s clear that he has been around for a long time and it would be a shame for such an impressive-looking crab to end up as someone’s lunch. We’re currently keeping him in our quarantine area but the plan is for him to move in to his new home here at the aquarium in the coming days. He’ll be looked after and provided with everything he needs and there’s the added bonus that he won’t have the temptation of any crab pots! No one is entirely sure how long crustaceans can live for but it’s certainly decades so hopefully he’s got a good few years left to enjoy his retirement,” he added.

The edible crab is Britain’s largest species of crab. It uses its giant claws to crush and tear its prey which includes a variety of shellfish such as mussels. The crab is also a highly successful scavenger. Tests have shown that edible crabs’ claws have the crushing strength of over 90 pounds per square inch. An average person’s hand is only capable of squashing to 25 lb per square inch. They also use Aquarist gets to grips with one of 'The Beast's' fist-sized claws at Portsmouth's Blue Reef Aquarium PIC BNPSthem in fights with other crabs and often end up losing them, although they do re-grow whenever the crab next moults.

 Please Note: ‘Beast’ is currently not on display in a tank, he is currently in quarantine and will be on display very soon. There will be opportunities to see him during our Rockpool encounter sessions, however we can not guarantee he will make an appearance  as our priority is the health of our animals.        

Issued by Portsmouth’s Blue Reef Aquarium. For more information please contact Lindsay Holloway or Martyn Chandler on 02392 875222.


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