Crab Symbolism: Crab Spiritual Meaning, Animal Totem & Power Animal

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Crab Symbolism

Crab Symbolism: Why Moving From Left to Right Is More Significant Than Moving Forward

A crustacean that can creep forward slowly but has a body built to let them scuttle sideways more quickly, crabs are no doubt one of the most interesting sea creatures around. Regarded as a wonderful animal that teaches us to keep moving towards our goals, these resilient creatures provide us with the courage and wisdom to realize our dreams regardless of the path or direction we choose. An aggressive critter that uses its pincers to defend itself and to fight off one another, let’s scamper into the captivating crab symbolism and find out what it means when its claws latch on you.

“You’ve got your own style, now let it shine through and remember no matter what, you got to be you.”

– Sebastian, The Little Mermaid

When most people think of crabs, they think of the delicious seafood that can be found at their local beach or pier. However, there is more to these creatures than just a tasty meal. Crab symbolism includes resilience, resourcefulness, and adaptability. Crabs are some of the most adaptable creatures on the planet, and they can thrive in even the harshest environments. They are also self-protective, which gives them strength in difficult times.

What does a crab symbolize

What does a crab symbolize?

While crabs are perhaps some of the most favored delicacies in the world, many of us, particularly those who don’t mind the hassle of hunting for strips of meat hidden in a bright orange shell over dinner, can’t help but crack one open every so often. However, most of us would rarely stop and think about the plethora of symbolism that the power animal on our plates brings. Energetic, assertive, and like lightning on their feet, here’s what these shelled animals symbolize.

Springing to your defense

Boasting its oversized claws, a tough shell, and pairs of extremely quick feet, the self-protection crab has been well-equipped to effectively keep itself protected. While they are not known to trigger an encounter, the presence of this typically conservative animal reminds us why we should remain watchful and vigilant at all times and that we should always be prepared to uphold our choices and decisions.

An adventurous spirit

Admired by many for their ability to thrive in various conditions, crabs provide us the strength to carve a path towards success. Quick-witted and resourceful, the unique way they walk drives us to generate new ideas and to figure out innovative ways to achieve the things that we truly desire. Known for creating their own safety spots in caves, crevices, and the sand, these ingenious creatures can easily survive at any given place and time.

spiritual meaning

Going with the flow

Equipped with powerful claws that require more than just a tap for it to let go, a crab in the wild is feared and avoided by many. However, this quiet creature is hounded by a handful of predators both on land and at sea. While they are known to never back out of a fight, their tolerant and adaptable nature teaches us the value of finding ways to blend in and avoid conflict as much as possible for it results in leading a life that is nothing short of being harmonious and peaceful.

Thinking out of the box

While there are a few cultures that consider the crab’s odd way of walking as a sign of our tendency to avoid our problems, many believe that these brilliant creatures would scurry into our life to encourage us to use our talents to determine which path will best help us go through life’s countless tests. The crab tells us that although a straight path is almost always the shortest and most convenient, there are times when veering away from the familiar would also lead us to a life of prosperity and success.

animal totem

Spiritual meaning

Recognized as a creature that can survive in both water and land, crabs are highly regarded for their versatility and resilience. Featuring strong claws that are capable of performing exceedingly firm grips, it symbolizes our capacity to identify opportunities and how we should be fearless in going after and grabbing them as they come. Not only do crabs motivate us to persevere in running after our dreams regardless of where it takes us, but they also serve as our inspiration on how to never easily let go of our aspirations and desires. Gifted with the ability to camouflage its color according to its environment, this vigorous spirit animal implies that we should strive to be more flexible, particularly in times when we are asked to deal with people.

While they have been observed to split open their shells when they get too big for them, it indicates our need to break free from things that have long restrained our personal and spiritual progress. Already sporting a new soft shell, it shows how letting go of the pains and burdens of the past can help transform us into a bigger and much better version of ourselves. Equipped with over-productive eyes that function as if they were constantly on steroids, a crab will swiftly dart into our presence to remind us why we should always be aware of the things that are happening around us and that looking beyond what is in front of us will not only provide a wider perspective but an insight of what lies ahead as well.

japanese spider crab
Japanese spider crab

Animal totem

An often small creature that is constantly ready to protect itself, having the crab as your totem signifies how we can at times be tough and strong on the outside but soft and fragile within. Such a contrast tells us that while there are times when we act all stiff, resilient, and rough, we will always have the capacity to be gentle and calm when it is what’s required. Since the crab is a totem animal of undoubtedly great nature, having them as a guide stirs us to acknowledge, appreciate, and embrace each other’s unique personalities and traits.

While it is uncommon for animals to prefer to move sideways rather than go forward, the crab totem serves as a guide that can help us navigate through the various challenges that life occasionally throws at us. By serving as a reminder to be instinctively cautious and observant, this remarkable creature of exceptional features instructs us to simply move to the side and cheerfully watch as our hardships and difficulties pass.

cocunut crab eating seabird
Coconut crab eating seabird

Crab symbolism in different cultures

In Chinese culture, the crab is a symbol of good luck. In Japan, the crab is seen as a guardian of the sea and a protector of sailors. In Native American culture, the crab is seen as a symbol of transformation and new beginnings. In Celtic culture, the crab is seen as a symbol of rebirth and regeneration.

Each culture has its own unique perspective on what crabs represent. However, one thing that remains consistent is that crabs are seen as symbols of strength, resilience, and adaptability. No matter what you believe, there is no denying that these creatures are fascinating and have much to offer us.

Do you have a power animal?

If so, is it a crab? Power animals are usually chosen based on the characteristics that we admire or need in our lives. Crabs are powerful animals because they are resilient, resourceful, and adaptable. They remind us to trust our instincts and to stay connected to our roots. If you feel called to have a crab as your power animal, listen to your intuition and trust that you are being guided in the right direction.

What does it mean to dream of crabs?

Crabs are often seen as pests or vermin, but they can also symbolize tenacity and determination. If you see a crab in your dream, it may be telling you to be more resilient and resourceful. The crab may also be warning you to protect yourself from harm. Pay attention to your surroundings and trust your instincts if you feel like something is not right.

If you’re having a crab in your dream, it may be time to heal some old wounds. These creatures can sometimes symbolize feelings or emotions that have been weighing on us and holding us back from living our best lives possible- but there is no need for this! The message behind the image of these crustaceans might tell more about how we feel when they appear than what exactly their appearance means – so take note if all else fails at interpreting dreams involving crabs carefully enough (or ever) to. get an idea.

Dreaming about crabs can also be a sign that you need to work on your relationships. It may mean there’s an issue with either the person who brings them up in conversation or how they’re handling their problem and not letting it get resolved head-on like this suggests (crabs can symbolize problems). Alternatively, the crab could be a metaphor for how you’re feeling about yourself – are you hard on yourself? If so, it may be time to let go of some self-criticism and give yourself a break.

What is the meaning of a crab tattoo?

There are many different interpretations of what a crab tattoo might mean. Some people believe that it is a symbol of strength and resilience, while others see it as a reminder to stay connected to your roots. No matter what the meaning is for you, a crab tattoo can be a beautiful way to express yourself.

The crab is a creature that can be found in many cultures around the world. The meaning behind this symbol varies depending on where you live, but most agree it represents protection and guidance for those who need them most as they travel through life’s waters ahead!

People get crab tattoos for many reasons, but one of the most popular is that they represent wealth and good fortune. The crabs also symbolize renewal as well as a strength because it takes time to grow them from tattoo sleeves!


Since its amazing speed and self-protecting instincts make physically catching it exceedingly risky, a firm grasp of what this remarkable spirit animal’s presence means opens you to a world of wonderful things. Although the crab symbolism invitation to keep a watchful eye, be protective, and embrace change is similar to what the presence of many spirit animals means, the crab symbolism invites you to heed, listen, and get a grip of the messages that it brings.

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Author: Rachel Meyer
Meet Rachel, a veterinarian in Pasadena, California, and a valued contributor to our blog. Rachel brings a wealth of expertise to the table, with a particular focus on the intersection of symbolism, nature, and spirituality. She shares her knowledge and insights on our blog on regular basis.

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