Do Whales Eat Crabs: Why, How, And Several Facts Around It


Do Whales Eat Crabs: Why, How, And Several Facts Around It

Whales are wild sea creatures who have unique behavioral patterns and diet requirements. Let us find out if they eat crabs. 

Whales eat crabs. However, crabs do not form an exclusive part of their diet. The truth is whales consume a variety of sea creatures, including small schooling fishes, squid, other whale species, smaller shark species, as well as crabs. Some whales prefer consuming different types of plankton, mainly krill.

Whales navigate through large volumes of water and have to derive their food from it. They are both toothed, and baleen, and each variety has a unique feeding mechanism. The amount of food that a whale requires in a day depends on their weight, and they do not eat every day. 

Whales only eat during the feeding season and take ample time to digest their food. On average, whales only eat 4 percent of their body weight. For instance, blue whales consume around 16 tons of food every day. 

Image Credits: “Crab” by cosmorama is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Why do whales eat crabs?

You may be curious to know why whales choose to eat crabs in particular. Allow us to tell you all about it. 

Crabs form a common part of a whale’s diet because they can be consumed by both toothed and baleen whales. Crabs like lobsters and krill are crustaceans, meaning that this organism does not have a vertebrate. The lack of a backbone makes it easier for whales, primarily baleen whales, to consume the animal as it can be easily filtered through their baleen plates.

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Apart from baleen whales, crabs are consumed by bottom-feeding whales such as gray whales as well as most toothed whales. Its small size and easy availability make it one of the top food choices for different whale species.

Do killer whales eat crabs?

Image Credits: “Killer Whale (Resident Orca)” by Shawn McCready is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

Killer whales are ferocious animals with an unquenchable appetite. Let us learn whether they eat crabs as well. 

Killer whales consume crabs. In fact, killer whales are positioned on top of the food chain and are known as apex predators meaning they consume a large variety of sea creatures and eat quite indiscriminately. Apart from crabs, killer whales also eat fish, squid, smaller whale varieties, different types of sharks, octopuses, zooplankton, and so on. 

We must mention here that killer whales are aggressive hunters and hunt in groups, similar to wolves. Therefore, it is nearly impossible to win a fight against them, and several smaller sea creatures often fall prey to them. 

Killer whales also attack various whale species, including blue whales. Besides, they also eat sea lions, sea birds, and penguins. 

Do blue whales eat crabs?

Image Credits: “Antarctic blue whale” by Oregon State University is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Blue whales are massive mammals that eat 16 tons of food per day. So, let us together learn whether they also eat crabs.

Blue whales eat crabs. As some of you might already know, blue whales are baleen creatures. This means that they have baleen plates instead of regular teeth that help them filter their food through water. Crabs being invertebrates, can easily pass through the baleen plates of blue whales and therefore form an important part of their diet.

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Besides crabs, blue whales primarily eat krill. This is because krill is available in plenty in the ocean waters they move in and can easily pass through their baleen plates, which somewhat resemble the bristles of a comb. On average, most blue whales consume 10-20 tons of food per day. 

To consume their food, blue whales take in large quantities of water in a single gulp and sieve their food with the help of their plates from the water. Besides krill and crabs, blue whales also eat small schooling fishes.

Do humpback whales eat crabs?

Image Credits: “Humpback Whale” by D-Stanley is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Humpback whales are renowned for being fierce predators. Let us find out if they also prey on crabs. 

Humpback whales also eat crabs. Like blue whales, these whale species have baleen plates, and crabs can easily pass through these plates. Apart from crabs, humpback whales consume octopuses, fishes, crabs, zooplankton, and other crustaceans. They eat quite indiscriminately and are active hunters.

Their unique head shape allows humpback whales to easily spot their prey as well as escape potential predators. 


An interesting aspect about whales is that their diet varies according to the species. So, whales can consume tiny squid and crabs as well as giant animals such as dolphin, sharks, and seals. Most baleen whales consume invertebrates, and crabs form an important part of their diet. 

On the other hand, toothed whales can bite and chew their prey as well as swallow them whole. We must add here that most whales prefer hunting alone while some others may move around and hunt in groups.  

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