The brown crab never sleeps; in fact, it never even closes its eyes. Yet, this hard-pinching crawler can live longer than many humans.
When night falls on the Norwegian shore, the nocturnal brown crab comes forth to nibble at barnacles clinging to the rocks. The brown crab simply loves barnacles – but that is often its downfall. In mellow Norwegian summer nights, many Norwegians venture out in small boats, and they know exactly where the brown crab likes to hang out.
You don’t need more than a torch and fast reflexes to catch brown crabs – the last thing many a brown crab sees is a flash and a shooting hand. But you have to be quick about it: after a second or two, the crab realises what is going on and will use its claws to pinch with all its strength, and it won’t let go easily. Thus catching crabs not only provides a delicious meal, it also involves an adrenaline kick.
During the daytime, the brown crab finds a hiding place where to rest, but the dangers of the ocean does not let it get any sleep. It’s eyes are always open, while it’s “nose” – the antennae between its eyes – is constantly moving, always watchful of the threats and dangers around the corner. It’s a strategy that does wonders for its longevity: some crabs can even live as long as one hundred years. There might still be crabs alive today that lived through the first World War.
The brown crab is the biggest edible crab that occurs naturally in Norwegian waters. Although the red king crab and snow crab are bigger, both of them were introduced to Norwegian waters by humans. Measured at the top of its shell, it is usually around 9 cm long and 15 cm wide, but under favorable circumstances, it can grow to an impressive width of 25 cm.
Even though crab hunting has become something of an everyday activity for many Norwegians, there’s plenty left for fishermen. The sea is bursting with these brown-shelled pinchers, and you’ll find them tottering along all over the Norwegian coast. They feel particularly at home in Norway’s salty waters and prefer rocks and firm ground beneath their claws.