Can you eat coconut crabs?

In this brief guide, we’ll address the query: “Can you eat coconut crabs?” Also, we’ll explore how Coconut crab can be eaten, what coconut crab is, what the distribution of coconut crab is, and is eating coconut crab healthy. 

Can you eat coconut crabs? 

Yes, coconut crabs are edible. Coconut crabs are eaten by pacific islanders and Asian Islanders who can procure them. 

However, we must note that in some locations, coconut crabs are listed as an endangered species, and foraging for them may be out of the confines of the law. 

Also, coconut crabs may be noxious to eat, depending on their diet. These crabs may consume plants with toxic metabolites that will remain in their meat. Cooking may not break down or leach out these toxins, and as a result, those who eat contaminated meat may suffer symptoms of poisoning. 

In actuality, there are efforts to kickstart farming projects that can help natural populations replenish their numbers. This would also allow for a more carefully controlled diet to be supplied to them, which would nullify the risk of intoxication from consuming their meat. 

How can coconut crab be eaten?

Coconut crabs can be eaten not unlike other similarly sized crustaceans (such as lobsters). They can be boiled (cooked in a stew), steamed, made with curry, prepared with noodles, or, one notably popular dish; cooked in coconut milk. 

For a coconut crab to be considered cooked, its chitinous exterior should transition from reddish brown (though there are other colorings such as blueish black) to a bright shade between orange and red. 

The fatty flesh from the abdomen and in the case of females, the eggs, are the most valued morsels, though it may be possible to eat the flesh within the legs and pincers. 

The exact preparation of coconut crab will depend on the region’s customs, and the consumer’s taste, as they’re not a widely available food product. 

What is coconut crab? 

Coconut crabs are a species of land-dwelling hermit crabs, and notably, the largest terrestrial arthropod on the planet. 

Also known as robber crabs, or palm thieves, they are notoriously strong, and can allegedly break open coconuts with their pincers to feed on the flesh. 

As the largest terrestrial arthropods, specimens can weigh up to four kilograms and measure a few centimeters short of a meter. The strength in their pincers is formidable, and some maintain that it can pack similar pressure to a lion’s bite. 

Coconut crabs are omnivorous, and they can use plants, fruits, roots, and tubers as sustenance. 

Additionally, they have been known to feed on other animals such as small pets, and birds. 

They may also eat carrion, and when in the presence of another coconut crab, may even practice cannibalism. 

These crabs are both foragers and have a predatory nature. They can quietly scale trees and ambush sleeping animals, cripple them, and knock them to the ground, where they are then vulnerable to being preyed on.  

Fortunately, coconut crabs do not have the capability to prey on people, but their pinch, however, is excruciatingly painful. 

What is the distribution of coconut crab? 

Coconut crabs are found in Islands of the sub-Indian continent, and those in the Western Pacific ocean. As such, they’re a culinary rarity in other countries. 

Adult coconut crabs cannot swim and will die asphyxiated if submerged beneath the water for an hour or so. This also plays a part in the genetic divergence between different populations. 

Is eating coconut crab healthy? 

Whether or not eating coconut crab meat is healthy will depend on the animal’s diet, and how the meat is prepared. 

If cooked in dishes that include copious volumes of salt, fat, and carbohydrates, coconut crab can be dispensed with. 

Furthermore, if you intend to eat coconut crab, you must be aware that unless whoever is preparing it had control over the animal’s diet before cooking it, there is a risk of poisoning. 

Additionally, coconut crab meat is high in sodium in and of itself, which makes it contraindicated to those with high blood pressure, heart disease, and a tendency to form kidney stones. 

We encourage travelers to exercise caution and only partake in dishes that can verify the safety of their ingredients, and if they present any symptoms of intoxication, to immediately seek professional medical attention.  


In this brief guide, we’ve addressed the query: “Can you eat coconut crabs?” Also, we’ve explored how Coconut crab can be eaten, what coconut crab is, what the distribution of coconut crab is, and eating coconut crab healthy. 


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