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.