The crab constellation sulks behind the noonday sun. But along the shore, North Carolina crabs are busy fattening up.
Summer-warm, nutrient-filled waters make for fat, happy crustaceans. They range from the miniature pea crab the little fellow who, when you open an oyster, waves its claw at you, implying he was there first to the giant Japanese spider crab, up to 13 feet, claw tip to claw tip.
Our most common crab is the pugnacious fiddler with one oversized claw that it waves about. Of greatest importance is the blue crab, so popular for eating. But watch out: these come equipped with powerful pinchers that can snatch a finger, nose or ear in a painful grip. The pinch of his big brother, the stone crab, is even more powerful.
Stone crabs hide in holes amid rocks and reefs. The trick is to feel for water circulation. If detected, gently scoop down, snatching the dozing stone. Regulations state that you may break the larger claw off but must release the crab alive so it can regenerate another claw. Thats like having your crab and eating it too.