A giant crab which spent five days in a fridge is making a miraculous recovery at Bristol Aquarium.
The huge edible crab was originally caught by a fisherman in Dartmouth who then drove it on to Weston-super-Mare in the back of his car.
With its hand-sized claws and nine inch shell the massive crustacean was such a fine specimen, he decided to present it to a sick friend in the hope it would cheer him up.
The crab then spent five days in the fridge. However when it came time to cook it the family decided they could not bring themselves to do it, and instead they contacted the Harbourside aquarium.
Bristol Aquarium’s David Waines said: “We received a phone call from a lady who told us they had a large crab in their fridge and they wanted to donate it to the aquarium.
“Basically, they didn’t have the heart to kill him. Additionally, they decided they did not have a saucepan big enough to cook him in! “When she told me it had been in there for five days I couldn’t believe it was still alive. I told them to wrap it in a wet towel and bring it along to the aquarium as quickly as possible.
“Although the crab was very weak when it arrived the fact that it was kept refrigerated meant it was in a kind of suspended animation.
“We placed it into a special tank in our quarantine area and began pumping oxygen-rich seawater over it and it immediately started to show signs of recovery.
“Hopefully it will continue to get better and will be able to enjoy an unexpectedly long retirement here at the aquarium,” he added.
The edible crab is Britain’s largest species of crab. It uses its giant claws to crush and tear its prey which includes a variety of shellfish such as mussels. The crab is also a highly successful scavenger.
Tests have shown that edible crabs’ claws have the crushing strength of over 90 pounds per square inch. An average person’s hand is only capable of squashing to 25 lb per square inch.
They also use them in fights with other crabs and often end up losing them, although they do re-grow whenever the crab next moults.
Issued by Bristol Aquarium. For more information and to arrange interviews and pictures please contact David Waines or Tina Patel 01383 411880.