Let’s face it: In terms of sea creatures, crabs get a bad rap — possibly one of the worst. Even everyone’s most favorite crab, Sebastian from The Little Mermaid, is a pretty, well, crabby guy. It’s endearing on the fiery red Disney crustacean but not ideal when you encounter a crab in real life on your dream beach vacation. Every time you see a crab on television, in cartoons, or in movies, they always seem on the hunt to pinch someone. Often, the only nice thing people have to say about crabs is that they taste delicious! The truth, however, is that crabs are pretty interesting. And they’re definitely not out to get you (unless, perhaps, you invade their territory). Our point? Crabs are friends, not foes. And if you’re looking for something super-fun to help your crab-fearing kiddo understand, our collection of crab coloring pages is calling your name.
While there’s a lot you can learn about crabs, there’s even more you can learn from coloring. Did you know that starting your kids coloring at an early age can help better prepare them for school? Coloring is a blast, but it’s also beneficial to a child’s development. Take into consideration all of the actions (and non-actions) involved in coloring, such as sitting in one spot until a task is complete, maintaining focus, building attention span, gripping a crayon, and learning to stay inside the lines. A lot of self-regulation in children takes place when they work on coloring pages!
So, what better way to sharpen those life skills than with free printable crab coloring pages? We’ve scattered some cool crab facts below as well so you can fill your child’s head with knowledge. Once they finish these, they can scuttle over to our other ocean-themed printables, including dolphin coloring pages, octopus coloring pages, shark coloring pages, and whale coloring pages.
Free Printable Crab Coloring Pages
Crab No. 1
Did you know crabs are from the decapod species of the crustacean family? While there’s nothing wrong with calling them crustaceans, there’s more to it than you might realize. “Decapod” means “ten feet,” which surprises many people since they only count eight feet and leave out the pincers. But while a crab’s pincers are used like hands when they’re working, they’re also used as feet to move them along. In other words, they count too! There are more than 4,500 species of crabs, with most of the species living in salty, fresh, or brakish water.
Crab No. 2
Thanks to The Little Mermaid especially, many people think crabs only live in warm ocean waters. Nope! Crabs can be found nearly everywhere: on land, in freshwater, and in every ocean. Did you know pea crabs are the smallest crabs in the world and are about the size of… well… a pea?
Crab No. 3
Look — it’s communicating! Crabs “talk” to one another by waving or clicking their pincer claws. And did you know the average lifespan of these crustaceans is about three to four years?
Crab No. 4
Don’t count these little critters out just because they’re small, they have been around for a really long time. Crabs appear in our planet’s history as far back as the Lower Jurassic period. How do we know this? Fossils, of course!
Crab No. 5
So far, we know that crabs use their pincers to work, walk, and wave. Anything else? Oh yes, crabs sometimes do use their pincers to harm. However, these instances usually occur when a crab perceives a threat to its sand burrow or when a male crab is trying to land a lady crab.
Another factoid to latch onto: Crabs have an exoskeleton, which is basically like wearing your skeleton on the outside of your soft tissue. They use part of that exoskeleton, their claws, to crush, grab, or pick up food to eat.
Crab No. 6
If your child has a hermit crab, they might be interested in knowing that those aren’t technically crabs at all. Neither are horseshoe crabs! They aren’t “true crabs” that have a uniformly hard exoskeleton and can grow their own shells (like blue crabs, for example). Hermit crabs are more closely related to certain lobsters. Horseshoe crabs are more closely related to — wait for it — arachnids like spiders and scorpions!
Crab No. 7
Can your kiddo do the crab walk? It’s fun to watch these crustaceans zigzag where they want to go and even funnier to watch our kiddos pretend to be crabs. If your little ones are curious why crabs walk sideways, you can tell them that they can move forward, too — just at a much slower pace. Crabs tend to move using their distinctive sideways shuffle because it’s faster for them to flex the second joint of each leg. And since these joints only bend sideways, the crab walks sideways.
Crab No. 8
Even if you accidentally scare a crab into giving you a honkin’ big pinch (y’ouch!), they’re not going to eat you. Crabs are omnivores, though, which means most food is fair game — meat and plants. Their diet primarily consists of algae, fungi, mollusks, worms, and other smaller crustaceans.
Crab No. 9
The largest crabs in the world come from Japan: the Japanese spider crab. These beasts can have legs as long as 13 feet. We think this is super creepy (can you say nightmare fuel?!), but kids are weird and think it’s cool. And if you gathered a group of crabs together they would be called casts.
Crab No. 10
You know the largest crab species now, but do you know the smallest? They’re called “pea crabs,” and yes, they’re roughly the size of a pea. Cuuuute!
Crab No. 11
Check out this psychedelic crustacean. While early research declared crabs felt no pain, that isn’t true. Crustaceans may have tough shells, but they do feel pain, and remember what that discomfort feels like. Typically crabs stroll, but when escaping danger, they usually run sideways quickly.
Click here to print all of the crab coloring pages at once!
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