Where Is The Heart Of A Shrimp Located?

You can get a few things as messy and delicious as the buttered shrimp from your favorite seafood restaurant. Understanding the anatomy of these small creatures that always seem to be moving can help you enjoy them fully, with many people wondering where their heart is.

The heart of a shrimp is positioned in the same spot as many of its other organs, in the head of the shrimp, where its stomach, brain, eyes, and ventral nerve cord are. This is the safest part of a shrimp body as it has the most armor and is the least likely to be attacked or hurt.

It should be noted that shrimp can regrow many parts of their body because they are similar to other crustaceans, molting when they grow larger. Understanding these small creatures of the sea can mean that you can enjoy them to their full potential.

How Many Hearts Does A Shrimp Have?

Shrimps only have one heart in their head, with many people thinking they have multiple hearts, similar to other smaller sea creatures. Fortunately, the small cleaners of the ocean have one heart constantly beating to keep them alive and well throughout their lives.

The type of heart a shrimp has is unique, a compact single-chamber heart with three entrances through which blood flows in and out. As the heart works, it will shift its valves to change through which entrance, or Ostia, the blood is either flowing into the heart or pumping out of.

It should be noted that because shrimp are so much smaller than almost anything else, their hearts are beating much faster. This is partly why shrimp only live for a short while, as their hearts give out the larger and older they are.

Do Shrimps Have A Heartbeat?

While it may be difficult to measure a shrimp’s heartbeat, they have a constant heartbeat that can regularly be seen on some of the smaller shrimp that are kept in tanks. Many shrimp owners will be able to pinpoint exactly where their shrimp’s heart is currently beating at full speed.

It should be well-known that there are some shrimps, like cave shrimp, that have translucent shells that allow anyone to see their innards physically. This has caused many to enjoy staring at these creatures as they move around in a tank or the ocean, as their inner workings can be fascinating.

However, it should be noted that all shrimp have heartbeats and that they can be measured with the right equipment. Some owners can tell how stressed their shrimp is by visually seeing their shrimp’s heart increasing in speed.

Does A Shrimp Have A Brain?

All shrimp have a brain located just beneath the eye stalks that are close to the heart and stomach of the shrimp. This is the location that is most protected, which means that if something happens to the shrimp’s body or legs, it may still survive.

You may often find that cave shrimp or shrimp from deeper parts of the ocean have translucent shells that allow you to see their internal anatomy. We always recommend that you take a moment to look at images of live shrimp, as you may be able to tell where every part is.

When eating shrimp, you will find that many people prefer to suck out the innards from the head of the shrimp. These parts have a different taste than the rest of the body, often a much richer overall taste owing to the heart and brain being located here.

What Are You Eating When Eating A Shrimp?

When eating a normal shrimp, you will pull apart the muscles that make up most of its abdomen and body. This is the thickest part of the shrimp as it has the most muscles and no other organs run along it other than blood vessels and the digestive tract.

The white parts you are eating from shrimp are all the muscles that the shrimp uses to move and clean the world around it. However, if you have a cooked shrimp to look at, you may notice a thin brown line on the back of the shrimp, in the exact middle; this is the digestive tract.

While the muscles can be safely eaten, even when raw, you cannot eat the digestive tract, and you need to ensure that it is not on your food. We always recommend that you check your food to ensure that the only things you eat are the muscles and not the digestive system.

Do Shrimp Feel Pain When You Cook Them?

Most countries worldwide will only start cooking shrimp once they are dead, but it does feel pain when cooking a live shrimp. The belief that cooking any crustacean while alive won’t hurt it was made after several faulty tests were done in which the nerve endings of the animals were cut.

While cooking, shrimp, crabs, and lobsters can feel pain, and many show signs of duress when viewed during this time. Further, more tests and studies have proved that some animals release their excrement and urine into the cooking water during this cooking process.

It is perfectly safe to cook dead crustaceans and frozen ones, with many of these processes adding flavor when allowed to marinate. It should be noted that cooking crawfish when raw is specifically to clean out the digestive tracks of the fish to prevent swamp water from getting into your food.  

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Are Shrimp Eaten Alive?

Shrimp are never eaten alive and should only be eaten raw from places where you trust the process to give you clean and healthy food. Unlike mollusks or clams, you cannot eat shrimp alive as parts of the fish need to be removed to make it safe to eat raw.

Even crayfish cannot be eaten alive as the animal needs to be cleaned or cooked properly to prevent you from getting sick. We recommend always taking the safe route and just cooking the shrimp you are making for yourself, as you can tell the shrimp’s quality from this.

People often try to cook shrimp alive at home and make a mistake, either undercooking them or not adding enough heat. Causing the shrimp to go rancid while cooking, making everything in the meal, including the sauce, dangerous to eat, and causing food poisoning.


Shrimp have their heart close to their brain and stomach, safely tucked away behind the thickest shell parts of the head portion of the shrimp. The portion of the body you are eating will be the muscles in the shrimp’s abdomen.

Whatever you do, please don’t forget to spread the butter while eating your shrimp!