Is Coconut Crab Edible?

Coconut crabs are the earth’s largest crabs, and although coconut crabs don’t live in the ocean like other crabs, they certainly look like massive, scary crabs. Because crab meat is so delicious, you may find yourself asking are coconut crabs edible?

Coconut crabs are edible and are said to taste like regular crab meat or lobster. They are considered a delicacy, and the abdominal contents is the best part of the coconut crab. However, if coconut crabs eat poisonous plants, they can become toxic. They are also at risk of becoming endangered.

While coconut crabs aren’t available everywhere, you can find them on Indian and central Pacific Ocean islands. Next time you go to these regions, you may have the opportunity to eat a coconut crab. We’ll discuss if coconut crabs are edible and whether it’s safe to eat them or not.

Can You Eat Coconut Crabs?

Coconut crabs are giant, terrestrial crabs. Although they eat various foods, their favorite food is coconut flesh. However, we’re less concerned about what coconut crabs eat and more concerned about whether they are edible for people.

Fortunately, you can eat coconut crab. They are a local delicacy and taste like a combination of regular crab meat and lobster. While coconut crabs are edible, they aren’t eaten often and are extremely expensive. However, eating one is worth a try if you can find and afford it.

Coconut crabs are mostly steamed or boiled in coconut milk. They are then cleaned and eaten. Some people also build fires using coconut leaves and cook the crab on the fire before eating it. All parts of the crab’s flesh are edible.

Many people like meat inside the abdomen the best. This is where the eggs are located in the female coconut crab. In addition, this is the fattiest part of the crab. The abdominal contents has a nutty flavor and a soft, creamy texture.

Although coconut crabs are edible, there is some risk when eating them. Coconut crabs are omnivores and eat whatever organic matter they can find at night. As this organic matter sometimes includes parts of poisonous plants, it’s possible that you could get coconut crab poisoning.

Another problem with eating coconut crab is that these crabs are endangered, especially on islands where they are extensively hunted. An adult coconut crab can weigh as many as nine pounds and grow as big as 3 feet. Therefore, one coconut crab can feed many people, and they are often hunted for their meat.

Unfortunately, this also means that coconut crabs are overhunted, and they may become extinct in the future. Therefore, while these massive terrestrial crabs are edible, we don’t encourage people to hunt and eat them.

Another potential problem with overeating coconut crab is that it can lead to high blood pressure due to its sodium content. Therefore, you are recommended to eat coconut crab in moderation to prevent getting ill.

What Do Coconut Crabs Taste Like?

Imagine the most succulent seafood wrapped in a tapestry of tropical flavors, and you’ll have just begun to understand the culinary delight that is the coconut crab taste. At first taste, the coconut crab presents a rich, sweet flesh that is reminiscent of its marine cousins, yet distinct with a nutty undertone that pays homage to its namesake diet of coconuts.

The texture is a harmonious blend of tender and firm, akin to a cross between lobster and tender crab meat, with a succulence that lingers on the palate. The meat from the claws, considered the pièce de résistance, offers a robust taste that is both buttery and slightly briny, a testament to its oceanic origins.

Is Coconut Crab Healthy?

After considering the potential problems of eating coconut crab, you may wonder if it is healthy. Well, coconut crab, like many other types of seafood, is high in nutrients and proteins that you need to be healthy.

Coconut crab is an excellent source of protein. Protein helps you feel fuller for longer, preventing overeating and helping to manage your weight. In addition, coconut crab contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, iron, vitamin B-12, zinc, niacin, selenium, and folate. The vitamins and minerals assist you in maintaining a strong immune system and support your overall health.

What’s more, coconut crab is low in calories and can assist in weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight. One cup of cooked coconut crab meat has the following nutritional value:

Protein21 grams
Fats< 1 gram
Carbohydrates0 grams
Fiber0 grams
Sugar0 grams

As you can see, coconut crab is high-protein seafood that is also low in calories and fats. As it doesn’t contain any carbohydrates, it is a suitable protein for those who follow a banting or keto-based diet. Are there any health benefits of eating coconut crab, you may ask? Indeed, there are some health benefits you can look forward to when eating coconut crab.

1. Coconut Crab Contains Less Mercury Than Other Seafood

One concern many people have about eating seafood is the mercury content thereof. Mercury is found in ocean water, and bottom feeders and shellfish often contain large amounts of mercury. As mercury can cause cancer and other health problems, many people avoid eating certain seafood that contains a lot of mercury.

Fortunately, coconut crabs and other crabs don’t contain as much mercury. In addition, coconut crabs may contain even less mercury than other crabs because they don’t spend as much time in the ocean water.

2. Coconut Crab Helps To Prevent Anemia

Anemia is a condition caused when you don’t have enough red blood cells to keep your body healthy and oxygenated. Anemia can cause fatigue, disorientation, and weakness. In addition, people with anemia often have an iron deficiency, and they don’t absorb vitamins as well as they should.

Eating coconut crab can help prevent and cure anemia. Because coconut crab is high in selenium, iron, and vitamin B-12, it equips your body to easily absorb vitamins and minerals from the food you eat. Therefore, coconut crab can help prevent vitamin deficiencies that may lead to anemia and other health problems.

3. Coconut Crab Improves Your Brain Function

Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for supporting healthy brain function. In addition, your brain thrives on white meat and seafood. Therefore, eating coconut crab once a week can improve your brain function and may prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s from developing.

Furthermore, because your brain requires so much energy to function correctly, the protein found in coconut crab is beneficial to keep you energized and give your brain the energy it needs. Eating coconut crab before a test or exam can help your brain function at its best. 

4. Coconut Crab Improves Your Heart Health

Another health benefit of eating coconut crab is improving your heart health. The omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients in coconut crab meat can help prevent blood clot formation and lower triglycerides. This prevents irregular heart rhythms and may even help to prevent a heart attack.

In addition to these benefits, eating coconut crab can help to manage your insulin levels and prevent sugar spikes that lead to feeling high and low throughout the day. These benefits are some reasons why you should consume seafood such as coconut crab at least once a week.

Because you mainly steam coconut crab, the meat is free of added salt and fats. It is, therefore, a healthy and filling meal that ensures you get plenty of nutrients and feel fuller and more satiated. However, as we have mentioned, in some cases, coconut crab can be toxic. Are there any other dangers of hunting and eating coconut crabs?

Is Coconut Crab Dangerous?

As we have mentioned, coconut crabs sometimes eat parts of toxic plants that may cause you to get coconut crab poisoning. This may lead you to question if there are other dangers of eating coconut crab. While there isn’t a danger when eating the crab, catching one comes with some risks.

When threatened or mishandled, a coconut crab can grab you with their pinchers. Their pincers are extremely powerful, and the coconut crab can break bones if it uses enough force. This means that a coconut crab can potentially break your finger if you don’t handle it correctly.

Furthermore, coconut crabs sometimes attack small animals, such as birds, kittens, or small mammals. This isn’t typical behavior as coconut crabs are opportunists rather than predators. However, there have been incidents where coconut crabs have attacked live animals.

Therefore, you must be cautious when encountering a coconut crab while strolling. We also don’t recommend handling them if you don’t have experience doing so. Furthermore, we only recommend eating coconut crab sourced from the seller to reduce the chances of getting coconut crab poisoning.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Coconut Crabs

Because coconut crabs are such extraordinary creatures, it’s expected that you will have more questions about them. To help you better understand the coconut crab and its features, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions below.

1. Are Coconut Crabs Endangered?

Coconut crabs aren’t on the endangered species list yet. However, they will likely make that list soon if they aren’t protected. Because they have so much meat, they are aggressively hunted by people on the Pacific islands. This may cause them to become endangered or even extinct sooner than we think.

To help their population increase, it is illegal to hunt coconut crabs on Christmas Island. As a result, this island has the world’s largest population of coconut crabs.

2. Do Coconut Crabs Live In Water?

Coconut crabs are interesting for many reasons, their habitat being one of them. Coconut crabs spend most of their time on land. In fact, if you leave a coconut crab in water for too long, it will drown. Although coconut crabs have gills, they don’t use them for breathing underwater.

However, a coconut crab will wet its gills with seawater and may drink ocean water to balance its sodium levels. In addition, a female coconut crab releases her fertilized eggs into the water, where the offspring hatch and remain for a while before coming ashore.


Coconut crabs are edible and are viewed as a delicacy on the Pacific Islands. While coconut crabs have sweet and juicy flesh, their meat may become poisonous if they eat poisonous plants before being hunted. Because they are such prized seafood, the coconut crab is fast becoming an endangered species. Therefore, it is illegal to hunt them in certain areas.