Sunday, December 6, 2009

Crabs, Part 1: Personality

I really liked Finding Nemo because the characterizations of the various creatures were so apt. Who can forget the seagulls screaming "Mine! Mine!" That so perfectly captures the essence of seagulls!

And the crabs. Remember when Nemo enters the Sydney Harbor, and there are two crabs fighting for tasty morsels as they emerge from the sewage outfall pipe? Well, Pixar captured the personalities of those two guys just as accurately as they did those of the gulls.

Crabs are the junkyard dogs of the ocean floor. They are fast-moving armored tanks in a world of the stationary (clams, mussels, sponges, etc), or at best very the slow moving (starfish, sand dollars). If something should make it past the birds on the surface and the fish floating in between, it will likely be a crab that finds it and defends it on the ocean floor. And I suspect that a big Dungie (Dungeness crab) reared up and holding his heavy claws in attack position would scare off most bottom-feeding fish, if they cruised by.

Crabs are fearless. They will attack anything that threatens them or their food. About the only thing that they seem to fear is a bigger crab. And they are insanely greedy. When we were in Norway, we saw kids catching crabs like this:
  • Walk along the shore and find a piece of abandoned fishing line, and a dead fish, or part of a dead fish
  • Tie the line to the fish, and drop it in the water off of a dock
  • Watch. Crabs will come
  • When a crab grabs the fish, pull in the line. The crab is so greedy, he will not release his hold, even when he is hoisted out of the water and put on the dock
Like junkyard dogs, if you throw two crabs into a bucket of water (to keep them alive for later eating), they will square off, facing each other, claws raised and ready to attack. It won't be long before you'll hear a mighty scrabbling, and one of the crabs will have seven legs instead of eight. They are nasty fighters, and they know just how to use those claws to take apart their opposition, literally.

True story:

Jane was untangling a big rock crab from the netting in our crab ring when the wily critter grabbed her finger. In no time, he was working his claw to separate her finger at the joint. Since she had no way to pry open the claw, and there was no help nearby, she started whanging the crab against the concrete dock until he died, and then finally released her (in that order).

At dinner that night, I knew better than to come between Jane and that particular crab. And the swollen finger didn't slow her down at all.


Jared and Beka said...


fsb272 said...

And I bet it tasted even better than any other crab (at least there was a great feeling of SATISFACTION (LOL)).

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