How Long Do Crabs Live?

How Long Do Crabs Live. Lifespan Life expectancy

Whether you are considering getting a freshwater or land crab as a pet or simply out of curiosity, you may be searching for the answer to the question, “How long do crabs live?” 

When it comes to their lifespan, the answers can be elusive. Some species of crabs can live for 10 years or more. Whereas most common species (that we keep as pets) are generally able to live for 2 – 5 years at most.

As you can see there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. After all, there are many factors that will influence how long crabs live. Their lifespan can be affected by their diet, temperature, humidity, and stressful environment in general.

It is absolutely crucial to know these things because, with a little luck and care, you can enjoy them for a long time!

Determining Your Crab’s Lifespan

To know the crab’s potential lifespan, you need to identify the species in the first place. For example,

Thai Devil crabs if cared for properly are likely to survive for 8 years. However, Thai Micro Crabs can barely live past 1.5 years.

Interesting fact: The title on ‘longest-lived crab’ goes to The Japanese spider crab (Macrocheira kaempferi), which may live for up to 100 years! These crabs can grow really hugewith a leg span of 13 feet (4 meters) and weight more than 40 pounds (20 kg).

Typical Lifespans of Pet Crabs in Captivity
Species Lifespan 
Pom Pom Crab up to 1 year
Thai Micro Crab up to 1.5 years
Vampire crab up to 2 years
Tangerine-head crab up to 2 years
Red Devil crab up to 2 years
Blue Leg Hermit Crab up to 2 years
Fiddler crab up to 2.5 years
Red claw crab  up to 2.5 years
Matano Crab up to 3 years
Marble crab  up to 3 years
Emerald crab up to 4 years
Red Mangrove crab  up to 4 years
Tanganyika сrabs
up to 5 years
Arrow crab up to 5 years
Sally Lightfoot Crab up to 5 years
Boxer Crab up to 5 years
Porcelain Anemone crab up to 5 years
Chinese mitten crab
up to 5 years
Spider Crab
up to 5 years
Red Apple Crab  up to 6 years
Thai Devil Crab  up to 8 years
Potamon Potamios  up to 8 years
Black land crab up to 8 years
Rainbow Crab up to 8 years
Halloween hermit crabs up to 8 years
Halloween Moon Crabs up to 8 years
Panther Crab up to 10 years

Main Factors that Determine How Long Crabs Live

Crabs are adaptable animals that live in both water and land. These crustaceans have been in existence for millions of years and adapt well to any environment. 

Nonetheless, it does not mean that they will a long life if you put them to their limits.

Interesting fact: Crabs’ evolution started in the shallow seas of the Paleozoic Era (approximately 540-248 million years ago). They become as we know them today about 50 million years ago. They are many times older than the latest common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees. 


As with any living organism, a crab’s lifespan is affected `by several genetic factors including:

  • physical size,
  • metabolism,
  • age of reproductive maturity,
  • length of reproductive viability.

For example, large species with low metabolism usually live longer. In addition, the early age of reproduction and/or frequent reproductions often lead to physical exhaustion that also reduces lifespan.


In most crab species, females live longer than males since males tend to be more aggressive and territorial.

In males, aggressive competition is usually due to mating opportunities. Frequent fighting leads to injuries and high-stress levels. Injured crabs become an easy target and are prone to die more often.


Most crab species are scavengers. They are also classified as opportunistic omnivores. It means that they will eat just about any food they manage to find whether it’s dead or alive (both meat and plants).

Unfortunately, this is one of the beginner’s traps for those who keep them as pets.

Although crabs can eat almost anything, it does not mean that they do not have preferences. Some species lean more towards the herbivore side (such as leaf litter, fruits, seeds, seedlings, the detritus of decomposing plants, and benthic algae), whereas others are more carnivore and required a high-protein diet.

Be sure to properly research the ideal diet of your new pet crab. Inappropriate nutrition will affect their health. Balanced food will result in a longer lifespan.

Crabs use a large amount of calcium in forming their shell structure. They need some sort of calcium supplement to help keep their shell strong and healthy. Calcium will prevent shells from deteriorating.

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Tank Quality (Care and Maintenance)

Generally, crabs are easy to care for pets. Due to their hardy nature, these crustaceans can tolerate varied ranges of temperature and water parameters.

Nonetheless, crabs are also pretty messy animals and produce a lot of waste. So, a clean tank with enough space will also go a long way to keeping them healthy and happy.

Dirty living conditions can dramatically shorten a crab’s life. Therefore, to reach their maximum lifespan, we have to do research and learn more about their care essentials – from special housing (temperature, humidity, substrate, etc.) to food and other supplies.


Do not take it lightly. Actually, stress is a killer, literally. Crabs that regularly undergo stress are more susceptible to sickness, disease, and failed molting.

In Conclusion

The lifespan of crabs depends on their species, their diet, and other aspects of their environment.

The lifespan of a pet is something that is usually taken into consideration when thinking about whether or not to get one. Knowing their lifespan will let you give them the best because your pet snails can live for a long time with proper care.

  • Not all crabs live for the same amount of time.
  • On average, land and aquatic crabs live for 2 – 5 years in captivity.
  • Wild crabs often have shorter lifespans than pet crabs because of predation.
  • Food availability, temperature conditions, gender, and other factors affect crab’s lifespans.

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