Have You Ever Heard of Ghost Crab Hunting?

by Jun 18, 2019Brunswick County Life

If you have never been ghost crab hunting on the beach at night, you need to add this activity to your summer bucket list.

Many people know about blue crabs, fiddler crabs and hermit crabs, but they’re not so sure about ghost crabs. Ghost crabs are small, almost iridescent, sand-colored critters that live on the quiet beaches of the Atlantic shoreline. Only growing up to around 2 inches wide across, the small crabs have pincers that are pretty harmless. The crabs can rotate a full 360 degrees, have long legs and are generally nocturnal.

If you have ever been on the beach and noticed a small deep hole, the chances are you are looking at the home of a ghost crab. To avoid the hot summer sun and predators, ghost crabs spend most of the day burrowed in the sand. The critters do occasionally peep out during the day, but you better look quick because they will go back down in a flash.

Ghost crab hunting on summer nights has been gaining in popularity over recent years. It is free and fun and it’s also a reason for the entire family to stay out a little later than normal. The best time to go ghost crab hunting is during the prime summer months, from late May until early September, when they are out on patrol in full force.

To take on the popular after-dark activity, you will need three things: a bucket, a flashlight and a bit of bravery. You can also use a small fishing net if you have one. When the sun starts to set is when your night full of excitement begins. Remember that ghost crabs are very observant, so you are encouraged to wear dark clothing and tread as quietly as possible. When you shine your flashlight along the shore, you will see them scurry across the sand. Ghost crabs will typically go into a trance when caught in a flashlight beam. The trance only lasts a few seconds, but this is the time to snap a picture or capture the crab with the bucket or
net. The likelihood of capturing a ghost crab is slim, making this more of a chasing activity. If you do decide to catch ghost crabs, please make sure to enjoy them for a few minutes and then release them back to their natural habitat.

Yes ghost crab hunting is completely free and fun for the whole family, but there is one very important thing you should keep in mind: Do not hurt the crabs.

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