No Wonder They're Crabby: Crabs Feel Pain

Laws should consider the suffering of crustaceans, scientist says
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2009 12:20 PM CDT
Not only do crabs suffer pain, a new study found, but they retain a memory of it.   (Shutter Stock)
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(Newser) – Before you drop another crab into a boiling pot of water, take note: Crabs feel pain. Scientists don’t fully understand pain in humans, but do now know that crustaceans respond to discomfort and keep a memory of it, LiveScience reports. Hermit crabs that were shocked fled their shells, “indicating that the experience is unpleasant for them,” said one researcher.

In another test, scientists provided all the crabs with a new shell. Those that were shocked were more likely to choose the new abode than those that weren’t. “Crabs trade off their need for a quality shell with the need to avoid the harmful stimulus,” explained the researcher, adding that the findings signal the need for greater protections for the critters.