Everyone knows how giant king crab legs are, but just how big can they get? Sadly, there is no Guinness World Record entry for the largest king crab ever caught. This means we don’t know how much the biggest king crab weighs. But, after some searching around, we have an idea of how big they can get.

The Largest Catch

The largest Alaskan king crab can grow up to 11 inches across their main shell cavity. Giant king crab legs can span up to 5 feet, according to NOAA. In terms of weight, the record weight for a male king is 24 pounds and 10.5 pounds for a female. For reference, the average weight falls between 6 to 10 pounds per crab. That is still a lot of crab.

For an entertaining and informative look into crab fishing and a glimpse at some giant king crab, Bon Appétit published a two-part video series on crabbing. The videos give viewers a better size reference than pictures could.

YouTube video

The Biggest for Sale

The largest Alaskan king crab for sale will not come near the record weight listed above. If you buy a whole king crab online, you can expect it to be around 5 pounds. There is a limited quantity of whole king crab legs available per season. It is unlikely that online crab suppliers would sell the mega king crabs to regular consumers.

How do Environment and Diet Factor In?

Much of what explains why king crab are so large is their environment and diet. Understanding how king crab live is a good step to answering how they grow so big.

Giant king crab territory is in the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska in the North Pacific Ocean. They lived in other areas after being introduced there. Golden king crabs live in the deepest depths, around 1500 feet. Red and blue king crab live in much more shallow water. They tend to like sandy seafloors which occur a few hundred feet down. The water in their habitat is icy cold and very dark. These factors contribute to their diet.

The giant king crab that roam the waters of Alaska feed on many things. They are described as foraging omnivores. Staples of adult king crab diet include anything from plankton to clams, mussels, and sea urchins. Their robust diet likely contributes and sustains their growth.

Huge king crab live up to 20 to 30 years. Throughout that time, crab go through a process called molting many times over. Molting is when the crab shed their exoskeleton by breaking their shell. The shell that regenerates is larger to accommodate the growing crab.

See for Giant King Crab Yourself

A giant king crab is truly a sight to behold. The most ideal scenario is to see the huge Alaskan king crab fresh out of the crisp, clear waters of Alaska. But digital images will have to do for now. Maybe you are tempted to buy a whole king crab legs to experience it for yourself. Whatever the case, king crab is an impressive species that is unlike any other.

Photo credit: Alaskan King Crab Co.

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