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  #1  
Old 08-29-2011, 08:43 AM
HeyHomie HeyHomie is offline
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How Badly Could a Lobster Hurt Me?

I notice that their pincers are always rubber-banded, obviously for their handlers' safety. But what's the worst they could do? Amputate a finger? Affect bruising and possible broken skin? Aggravate me ever so slightly?
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  #2  
Old 08-29-2011, 08:50 AM
yabob yabob is offline
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Their pincers are banded to keep them from fighting with each other.
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Old 08-29-2011, 08:56 AM
HeyHomie HeyHomie is offline
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Originally Posted by yabob View Post
Their pincers are banded to keep them from fighting with each other.
Hadn't even thought of that.
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  #4  
Old 08-29-2011, 08:57 AM
Whack-a-Mole Whack-a-Mole is offline
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This is a WAG but I would think they could break your finger. And by "break" I mean a full-on snap clean through.

Those claws are all muscle. Far stronger than a human hand (consider the width of your finger to a lobster claw).

I have gotten pincered by crayfish before and it hurts. In that case no worse than a serious pinch but they are tiny compared to an adult lobster.
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:35 AM
Enilno Enilno is offline
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I don't think it's quite that strong, but a big lobster can probably do a decent amount of damage if it wanted to.

According to this abstract, the maximum force they recorded for a crusher claw from a lobster with a 172 mm carapace was 256 Newtons, or 57.6 pounds.

By comparison, here's a list for human bite force, from this article (PDF):

Quote:
Range: 55-280 lbs
Average: 162 lbs.
Max: 975 lbs.
incisors 22.5-33.7 lbs
canines: 72.6-109 lbs
premolars: 95.3-131 lbs
1st molars 67.4-89.9 lbs
2nd molars: 107-168 lbs
So a lobster pinch would be similar to a low end bite from a human. Probably enough to break the skin, but I doubt you'd get broken bones since it's a crushing force instead of a shearing force.
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:42 AM
Sailboat Sailboat is offline
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All bets are off if you're flying somewhere and one gets sucked into your jet engine.
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  #7  
Old 08-29-2011, 09:46 AM
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I cooked seafood at one low part of my life. Lobsters came 25 to a case. There would usually be one claw that would become unbanded/unpinned out of each case. It hurt to be pinched, although burns hurt worse. They would break skin/bruise but no where near amputation.
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  #8  
Old 08-29-2011, 09:53 AM
blondebear blondebear is online now
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A rock lobster could hurt if someone threw one at you.
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  #9  
Old 08-29-2011, 09:58 AM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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You could be severely lacerated by the tail.
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:59 AM
Gary T Gary T is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blondebear View Post
A rock lobster could hurt if someone threw one at you.
So would a stone crab.
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  #11  
Old 08-29-2011, 10:12 AM
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The real danger is infection. Lobsters carry all sorts of bacteria. This is actually worse from tail lacerations than from a claw crush.

Claw crushes IME hurt worse though. I got a good one from a five-pounder once. Although the big ones are stronger, they also have a broader duller claw surface, so it's not as immediately painful as when the little ones get you. But the crush from the big one hurt for days and bruised up nasty.

Last edited by TruCelt; 08-29-2011 at 10:13 AM..
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  #12  
Old 08-29-2011, 10:15 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is online now
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Originally Posted by blondebear View Post
A rock lobster could hurt if someone threw one at you.
Especially if you were at the Love Shack, the Love Shack, baby!
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  #13  
Old 08-29-2011, 10:27 AM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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I think of that song every time I cross the Nooksack River -- which is several times a week.
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Old 08-29-2011, 01:12 PM
Gorsnak Gorsnak is online now
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You don't wanna piss them off, or they'll encase your feet in concrete and toss you into the Hudson.
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  #15  
Old 08-29-2011, 01:15 PM
anson2995 anson2995 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
I cooked seafood at one low part of my life. Lobsters came 25 to a case. There would usually be one claw that would become unbanded/unpinned out of each case. It hurt to be pinched, although burns hurt worse. They would break skin/bruise but no where near amputation.
Me too, and I agree. Could definitely break the skin but I'm dubious about whether it's strong enough to break your finger. It's a squeezing pressure, not a sudden slamming force, and when one clamps down on you, it's not so strong that you can't pull your finger out. The real problem is that the claws have these jagged little "teeth", so it doesn't take an incredible amount of pressure to break the skin.

When you are handling one at a time, as most cooks do, the risk of getting pinched is pretty minimal. The claws can't reach you if you grab it by the body. The risk comes when you're handling them in bunches, as kayaker described.

I worked in a seafood kitchen when I was in high school, and that cured me of any interest in eating seafood until I was in my 40s.
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  #16  
Old 08-29-2011, 04:01 PM
EarlyMan EarlyMan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yabob View Post
Their pincers are banded to keep them from fighting with each other.
There are a number of reasons for banding them (customer safety, inexperienced Walmart Associate handler safety, etc.), but the Maine (pun intended) reason for banding them is to keep them from EATING each other, which they will do the first time you turn your back on them. They typically aren't fed anything while in their holding tanks.

EarlyMan (from the great state of Maine)
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  #17  
Old 08-29-2011, 04:26 PM
The Second Stone The Second Stone is offline
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A lobster can kill you if you don't cook it right.
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  #18  
Old 08-29-2011, 04:26 PM
Labrador Deceiver Labrador Deceiver is offline
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One thing nobody has mentioned is the fact that lobsters have two different types of claws. One is a crusher, the other is a seizer. One has slow twich muscle fiber, the other, fast-twitch. I'd imagine it would depend on which one got you.

I've only been grabbed by a blue crab, but it took me a rather long time to get him to let go. I bled a fair amount.
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  #19  
Old 08-29-2011, 04:49 PM
Der Trihs Der Trihs is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whack-a-Mole View Post
Those claws are all muscle. Far stronger than a human hand (consider the width of your finger to a lobster claw).
Not a good comparison, given that they use two fundamentally different designs; exoskeletal versus endoskeletal. Especially since one of the advantages of an endoskeleton like ours is that it scales up better; large exoskeletal creatures need to devote more volume to skeleton (as opposed to muscle) than an endoskeletal creature of the same size.
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  #20  
Old 08-29-2011, 04:55 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enilno View Post
I don't think it's quite that strong, but a big lobster can probably do a decent amount of damage if it wanted to.

According to this abstract, the maximum force they recorded for a crusher claw from a lobster with a 172 mm carapace was 256 Newtons, or 57.6 pounds.

By comparison, here's a list for human bite force, from this article (PDF):



So a lobster pinch would be similar to a low end bite from a human. Probably enough to break the skin, but I doubt you'd get broken bones since it's a crushing force instead of a shearing force.
Concentrated along the comparatively narrow edge of the lobster's pincer, I'd say that's enough force to sever a finger, if it catches you at a joint, rather than the middle of a bone.
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  #21  
Old 08-29-2011, 08:00 PM
Autolycus Autolycus is offline
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Originally Posted by Gorsnak View Post
You don't wanna piss them off, or they'll encase your feet in concrete and toss you into the Hudson.
You miss lobstermobster too, eh?
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  #22  
Old 08-29-2011, 08:24 PM
Romeo and Whatsherface Romeo and Whatsherface is offline
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OK, I gotta add this to the discussion. About 15 years ago, I heard on the news (ABC radio) that a guy tried to shoplift a lobster from a grocery store (don't recall where) by putting it down the front of his pants. You can see where this is headed, can't you? Yep, one claw band came off. He collapsed in agony before he got out of the store. So HIS answer to the OP question would be, "A lot!"

Is that a lobster, or are you just happy to see me?
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  #23  
Old 08-29-2011, 11:14 PM
brossa brossa is offline
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Did-a-chick? Dum-a-chum? Dad-a-cham?
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  #24  
Old 08-29-2011, 11:21 PM
boytyperanma boytyperanma is offline
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If you happen to be a gunslinger they will sneak up on you chop off a few fingers and leave you poisoned. It's a shitty way to wake up.
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  #25  
Old 08-29-2011, 11:22 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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That was a bit dark, brossa.
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  #26  
Old 08-30-2011, 01:25 AM
Isamu Isamu is offline
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[phoebe] If it's really your true lobster and then one day you find it's run off with some shrimp, you could be badly hurt.[phoebe]
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  #27  
Old 08-30-2011, 09:04 AM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is offline
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Small Hijack ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by anson2995 View Post
...I worked in a seafood kitchen when I was in high school, and that cured me of any interest in eating seafood until I was in my 40s.
Ok, why? Was it just that you were tired of dealing with the stuff, or did you learn something about food safety or sanitation that scared you off, or endangered species / ecological concerns or ???

I have no experience in this area and am genuinely curious. No agenda here.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 08-30-2011 at 09:05 AM.. Reason: Out! Out Foul typos!
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  #28  
Old 08-30-2011, 09:11 AM
kayaker kayaker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LSLGuy View Post
Small Hijack ...Ok, why? Was it just that you were tired of dealing with the stuff, or did you learn something about food safety or sanitation that scared you off, or endangered species / ecological concerns or ???

I have no experience in this area and am genuinely curious. No agenda here.
My time cooking seafood actually increased my love of eating fish/shellfish/etc. However, I prefer to purchase and cook my own. I worked in a fairly upscale restaurant and was amazed at the waitstaff contests designed to move fish that was going bad.
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  #29  
Old 08-30-2011, 09:24 AM
Enilno Enilno is offline
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Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
Concentrated along the comparatively narrow edge of the lobster's pincer, I'd say that's enough force to sever a finger, if it catches you at a joint, rather than the middle of a bone.
As Labrador Deceiver mentioned lobsters have two types of claws, and the figures from that cite only applies to the crusher claw, which is described as having rounded, molar shaped ridges. The seizer claw has sharper serrated edges, but is smaller, and being composed of fast twitch fibers won't be able to generate as much force.

I'm sure both would hurt, and the seizer claw can probably cut you pretty bad, but even through a joint I doubt it's strong or sharp enough to sever a finguer.
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  #30  
Old 08-30-2011, 01:05 PM
anson2995 anson2995 is offline
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Originally Posted by LSLGuy View Post
Small Hijack ...Ok, why? Was it just that you were tired of dealing with the stuff, or did you learn something about food safety or sanitation that scared you off, or endangered species / ecological concerns or ???
Part of it's taste, I guess -- I don't care for the texture of scallops, clams, etc. Part of it was dealing with live crabs and lobsters. I was squeamish about eating something that had been crawling around five minutes ago. Especially since they're all fighting back. Having to pull out cracked crabs or dead lobsters from a box or from the tank was disgusting -- when they die, they turn pretty quickly and the smell is horrible.

Shrimp were an incredible pain to clean and prep, and I guess that alleviated me of any feeling that shrimp were a great treat to eat.

Never had a problem cleaning fish, and even though I thought catfish were dirty and disgusting, I had no problem eating one.

ETA: If I had to catch and kill chickens, I probably wouldn't be eating that either.

Last edited by anson2995; 08-30-2011 at 01:09 PM..
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  #31  
Old 08-30-2011, 01:12 PM
Lukeinva Lukeinva is online now
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Kind of a hijack but... do lobsters use their claws to eat with? Must be sloppy eaters if they do.
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  #32  
Old 08-30-2011, 01:27 PM
user_hostile user_hostile is offline
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A løøbster ønce pinched my sister
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  #33  
Old 08-30-2011, 01:51 PM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
I think of that song every time I cross the Nooksack River -- which is several times a week.
I'd say a lobster could do some serious damage if it nipped you in the Nooksack.
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  #34  
Old 08-30-2011, 03:19 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is online now
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A løøbster ønce pinched my sister
The person responsible for this post has been sacked.
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  #35  
Old 08-30-2011, 03:30 PM
Max Torque Max Torque is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Labrador Deceiver View Post
One thing nobody has mentioned is the fact that lobsters have two different types of claws. One is a crusher, the other is a seizer. One has slow twich muscle fiber, the other, fast-twitch. I'd imagine it would depend on which one got you.
What if it's THIS claw? [Warning: Pistol Shrimp]
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  #36  
Old 08-30-2011, 03:32 PM
Mr. Excellent Mr. Excellent is offline
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The person responsible for this post has been sacked.
Nø, seriøusly! It wøs tøø big, and pinched her little tøe right øff!
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Old 08-30-2011, 03:38 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Originally Posted by Enilno View Post
As Labrador Deceiver mentioned lobsters have two types of claws, and the figures from that cite only applies to the crusher claw, which is described as having rounded, molar shaped ridges. The seizer claw has sharper serrated edges, but is smaller, and being composed of fast twitch fibers won't be able to generate as much force.

I'm sure both would hurt, and the seizer claw can probably cut you pretty bad, but even through a joint I doubt it's strong or sharp enough to sever a finguer.
The crusher claw has a single ridge along each of the facing edges - this doesn't have perfect occlusion all along its length, but it's not a particularly broad crushing surface like molars or a nutcracker - more like ragged, blunt, slightly interlocking incisors - seems narrow enough to me to be able to separate a joint, if it closed right on the knuckle.

http://static5.depositphotos.com/103...usher-Claw.jpg
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  #38  
Old 08-30-2011, 09:49 PM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is offline
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I didn't know that lobsters had 2 different claws. Amazing the facts you learn here.

Are they always the same left vs right, or are some lobsters left-crushered and others right-crushered? If so, is that a species-level variation or a individual-level variation?

anson2995: thanks for the response.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 08-30-2011 at 09:49 PM.. Reason: Out! Out Foul typos!
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  #39  
Old 08-30-2011, 09:55 PM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is offline
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Originally Posted by Isamu View Post
[phoebe] If it's really your true lobster and then one day you find it's run off with some shrimp, you could be badly hurt.[phoebe]
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  #40  
Old 08-31-2011, 08:45 AM
muldoonthief muldoonthief is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LSLGuy View Post
I didn't know that lobsters had 2 different claws. Amazing the facts you learn here.

Are they always the same left vs right, or are some lobsters left-crushered and others right-crushered? If so, is that a species-level variation or a individual-level variation?

anson2995: thanks for the response.
You'll see both left & right handed lobsters of the same species. It's actually an environmental thing - a very young lobster has undifferentiated claws, but the one they start using for crushing becomes the crusher - researchers have controlled which claw becomes the crusher in the lab by preventing lobsters from using the other one.
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  #41  
Old 08-31-2011, 08:51 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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Unlike Batman, lobsters are least dangerous once they've been prepared.
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  #42  
Old 08-31-2011, 10:44 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is online now
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Nø, seriøusly! It wøs tøø big, and pinched her little tøe right øff!
You and user_hostile have the same sister, or you were just there to see it happen?
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  #43  
Old 09-02-2011, 09:42 AM
ruh-roh ruh-roh is offline
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[phoebe] If it's really your true lobster and then one day you find it's run off with some shrimp, you could be badly hurt.[phoebe]
The love story of Harry and Sally (Harry was a lobster, Sally was a crab)

all together now, singing...

Crabs walk sideways and lobsters walk straight, and that's why they won't let me take you as my mate!
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  #44  
Old 09-02-2011, 12:10 PM
Whack-a-Mole Whack-a-Mole is offline
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Anecdotal but I was watching a cooking show (Masterchef Australia) and some contestants were allowed to hang with one of the best seafood chefs in Australia. The chef was describing a number of different crustaceans (which he had on hand and many of them live) and noted, while holding a Mudcrab, to be very careful. He explicitly said it could remove a finger if you were not careful.

Hyperbole? Maybe but I doubt it.

I think if those claws got a good snap on your finger you may well lose the finger. At the least you will have a very serious break (not fracture but break) and be bumming for a few months while it heals.

Last edited by Whack-a-Mole; 09-02-2011 at 12:11 PM..
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  #45  
Old 09-04-2011, 05:52 AM
JBDivmstr JBDivmstr is offline
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Originally Posted by Labrador Deceiver View Post
... I've only been grabbed by a blue crab, but it took me a rather long time to get him to let go. I bled a fair amount.
Hurt like hell too, didn't it? First time I ever got nabbed by a Blue crab I made the horrible (and very painful) mistake of "slinging" it off. Ripped both sides of my index finger clear down to the bone,
and the crab that got me was only about 2-1/2" to 3" across the shell from side to side.
(Trust me, you'll only make that mistake once in your lifetime.)

JSYK, the best (only?) way that I know of to get a Blue crab to let go immediately is to place it on the ground and either you or someone else stomp on it, hard enough to pulverize it. The claw muscles will relax instantly.
(Not to mention you won't have to risk getting pinched by the other claw, while trying to disengage the first one.)
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  #46  
Old 09-04-2011, 04:56 PM
Molesworth 2 Molesworth 2 is offline
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Depends on how much you were in love with the lobster at the time you caught it cheating on you.
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  #47  
Old 09-04-2011, 10:43 PM
Siam Sam Siam Sam is offline
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If someone is sleeping nude, and someone else slips a live Alaskan king crab into the bed, what sort of mayhem could result?

Need answer fast.

Last edited by Siam Sam; 09-04-2011 at 10:46 PM..
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  #48  
Old 09-04-2011, 11:36 PM
Whack-a-Mole Whack-a-Mole is offline
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If someone is sleeping nude, and someone else slips a live Alaskan king crab into the bed, what sort of mayhem could result?

Need answer fast.
Easy.

Get out of bed and start boiling some water.

Enjoy!
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  #49  
Old 09-05-2011, 12:14 AM
Siam Sam Siam Sam is offline
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Well, that's no fun.
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  #50  
Old 09-05-2011, 08:14 PM
Askance Askance is offline
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If someone is sleeping nude, and someone else slips a live Alaskan king crab into the bed, what sort of mayhem could result?

Need answer fast.
A bad case of crabs?
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