This is about either a shell you have to protect your vulnerability, or that you have lost your protective shell and so are very vulnerable. Crabs can also sometimes indicate fear or strong emotion causing tension within, especially abdominally. This may be due to fear or guilt of sensual pleasure. It may also represent outer hardness or cynicism covering inner softness; or outer hardness and graspingness in life. If the crab is threatening someone it points to a desire to cause pain to others.

The shell of brittle emotions we guard ourselves with grasping or hurtful attitudes. Fear or strong emotion causing tension within, especially abdominally. Or a desire to cause pain to others; or a tendency to hold onto things, especially too long or in a manner that is painful to one’s self or others.

Claws are tenacious and clinging, which can indicate something about the relationships the dreamer is in, especially with the opposite sex.

Hadfield (1954) in his book Dreams and Nightmares suggests that crab, spider and vampire images represent the visceral objectifications of the bodily feelings associated with orgasm. The crab portrays the changes in visceral and abdominal muscles which produce a gripping sensation; the relaxed feelings following orgasm are represented by the sprawling legs and soft underbelly of the spider image; the washed-out feeling of fatigue, as though the blood had been sucked dry, is externalized by a vampire figure.

Lacking shell: Our naked vulnerability.

Being nipped by crab: Physical or psychosomatic pain or even illness caused by being too tight or self protective. See: shell fish under fish.

Example: I say to her, I don’t want fireworks. She continues to express with enthusiasm how wonderful fireworks are. I say if you want this, you buy it. I then ask her if she wants to hold the crab as it is trying to snip me. She says no thanks. I carry it looking for a place to get rid of it or put it down.

Example: I went upstairs, felt the need to undress completely, and stood looking at myself in the mirror for a minute or so. I looked as if I had been working hard – which I had in my sexual life of late, with such a lot of release. Looking at my arms I saw what huge appendages they are. I was reminded of the fiddler crab with its great claw. My right arm reminded me of a great powerful piece of equipment or tool I carried about. It looked pretty heavy.


Useful Questions and Hints:

What is my dream about the crab describing? See – Dream Action

Am I aware of feeling either vulnerable or of protecting myself against hurt?

What is the crab doing or being in my dream?

See Learning to Allow Yourself Techniques for Exploring your DreamsAssociations Working With


-Phoebe 2014-10-24 16:13:35

I had a strange dream. Really strange. I was in the woods with my daughter, I found a black shiny crab and my daughter and I followed it as it was walking really fast determined to get somewhere. We wound up at the lake.. We then seen a larger orange crab in the sand as the black one was getting closer to its hole in the sand. Black baby crabs were there. Both crabs were fighting when all of a sudden the orange crab lifted the black crab looked at it for a moment and then sit it down and then went on its way. The black crab crawled in the hole with its babies.

    -Tony Crisp 2014-11-02 10:20:32

    Phoebe – The images in our dreams are often ways we show what is happening within us, and crabs are usually about how we protect ourselves by having a hard shell – defensive attitudes. The black crab is something you are not very clear about or aware of. It is linked with your fight with a bigger person and in connection with you child or children. The orange crab, the bigger opponent in the argument, sees your point and sets you down in a place you can be at home with you child and babies.

    Try using


-Eric 2014-09-03 3:47:56

Last night I had a very unusual dream in its entirety. I forgot many of the details but I remember the was a part where I lifted something, perhaps a flat rock, and there was a large plate sized pool. There was a rumbling in the water and I may or may not have known what was in the water at first, but I reached and grabbed the crab by the shell and pulled it out. It was clawing about as would any type of animal of this sort. I can’t say I was scared like some people would be because I know this is a yummy treat and not the end of me. It was strange in the fact that this seemed to have happened indoors and not in the wild or at a beach..

-John 2014-08-17 12:49:07

I dreamt my wife and i were at the beach strolling. Suddenly she pulled a rope out from the shore. Five huge crabs emerged and were tied to the rope. I took a scissors and tried to pierce through one crab. Its claw almost got my thumb and luckily it got the scissors instead. Then i woke up.

-Sarah 2014-08-04 11:50:20

I just dreamt that me and boyfriend were at a fair with my stepson, I’ll miss out the first part of the dream, but I was holding the little one (3 years old) and we’d been crabbing and he took a massive crab out the bucket and it start snipping his fingers off, I put him down and tried to get the crab off him and I couldn’t speak/shout/scream out for help or anything! When I got it off him I was screaming for an ambulance and by the time it came the little one had passed out and I was crying and screaming and literally woke myself up crying… What is that all about?

    -Tony Crisp 2014-08-07 8:20:21

    Sarah – Usually when we dream of another person – the three year old – we use their image to depict an aspect of ourselves. See

    I feel it is about the feelings/emotions you felt as a child, probably either being hit on the hand, or symbolically feeling that your ability to be in touch with thing was cut off at some time. In any case you have a tremendous feeling to protect and help that very vulnerable part of you.


-Marcelo 2014-07-10 12:40:58

I had a dream where I saw many crabs and then it grew into a business where I was investing – smth like an crab farm.

-Dians 2014-06-11 13:52:14

I had a dream last night that someone dropper me in this retangular hole with cement walls & windows & the walls were painted pink. As i was falling i could see crab legs coming out of the walls & i was trying to avoid them because i was scared. When i finally landed on the floor, i looked up & seen a small spider coming down from the ceiling. I got scared & started spraying it with something, not sure what i didnt get to see what was in my hand, but i sprayed and sprayed it but it wouldnt go away. I woke up after that.

-Sophia 2014-04-04 4:14:50

Had a dream that I accidentally crushed a massive crab’s shell. I felt really bad about it, so I rigged up a big tank to keep it in that had a hose direct to the sea to keep fresh sea water coming through. I spent a long time sticking all the bits of shell back together and everyone was laughing at the effort I was making to fix this crab. The glue eventually set and the crab looked great but I wanted to keep it for a while to make sure the pieces were going to stay held together.. they did, but the crab died because I’d forgotten to feed it since I ‘rescued’ it. Then someone told me that the shell would have healed naturally, so if I’d just left it alone after I crushed it, it would have been fine. Woke up feeling really guilty

-Ty Daniel 2014-03-28 15:26:51

I had a dream just now I was at my mother’s house with my wife and two of my children had not gone to school and I was asking them why. There was frozen food on the dining room table and I went to go put it in the freezer. The bag on top turned into bunch of crabs they started grabbing things a d movie get off the counter. I ran to tell my wife who was laying on the floor she was covered in crabs she started picking them off very calmly only after I told her (she would normally be freaking out) all the crabs were green then we were in the bed sleeping she was sleeping on my arm and crabs were crawling up the bed near her head and I kept pulling them off with my free hand I kept trying to call her new name but I couldn’t speak I Continued to struggle to speak until I woke up! Did not seem like a nightmare nor am I afraid of crabs?

-Melissa 2014-03-17 16:46:58

I dreamt last night that I was cleaning out my pool. It was unusually cloudy and dirty at the bottom. I saw something moving. The vacuum sweeper was running and it got stuck on whatever it was that was moving. I pulled the sweep out of the water and there was a large, live crab stuck in the sweep. I quickly disconnected the head of the sweep to release the suction to release the crab so that I could save it. As soon as I released the crab it attacked my face. I had to fight it off of me and I threw it in the bushes. I felt so betrayed by the crab after saving its life.
The pool has to have some sort of meaning in this dream because my husband and I had been arguing about the filtration system the week before.

    -Tony Crisp 2014-03-19 8:48:44

    Melissa – I see the cleaning of the pool as housework, but not of your house but in you.

    When we dream we naturally do this inner housework to keep us healthy and sane. People who were prevented form dreaming quickly show signs of mental distress.

    You obviously are a caring person, for instead of trying to kill the crab you set it free. Strangely enough, its act of attacking your face, was a necessary thing in part of the inner housework. The face indicates your self image, and you felt attacked. For dreams are a magic mirror that reflects our inner state and world. So any worries may only be a belief you have about yourself, and if you are worried it is shown in your dream exactly what it is – a thought and emotion that is using you vital energies unwisely.

    So I think the central thing is what you said – I felt so betrayed by the crab after saving its life.

    I would suggest you say over and over again, “I felt so betrayed.” Say it without thinking of any further words until you find that you continue what was said with a feeling of understanding. Either that or write it down and do not try to think of the next word, it will pop into your head and you will know what your dream means. See


-jake 2014-03-15 4:21:31

Its really crazy I had pretty much the same dream as Savannah I thought it was to obscure to see pretty much the same dream. I dug a white ball from under my skin between my thumb and pointer finger which was supposed to be an egg I guess. Then a crab or crawdad started cutting its way out of the same spot. Super weird

-Savannah 2014-03-04 1:40:57

I have had a dream many times before but only once lately. The dream is a small crab, inside my pointer finger on my right hand clawing out of my finger ripping it opened. I really really want to know what it means because I have had it so many times.

-Javier Santos 2014-02-19 13:06:33

I had a dream I was walking in beach with my baby boy.. I saw little crabs and said to him look crabs, and then I saw bigger ones and I started crushing them .

-dil 2013-06-26 6:44:45

had a dream last night of a small crab on my hand (on the skin near fingers) and it was clinging and think was pinching me or passing the venom. I was looking at it though experiencing discomfort I did not remove it perhaps enjoying it (pain is pleasure !). Meanwhile my next door neighbour whom I don’t speak to (: was giving me a fish ball which was quite large that i started eating and though it was big and then she was trying to offer me another and wanted to be friends with a smile and all. But I refused to take more as I could not even finish the first one.
Could you please kindly interpret this dream for me. dil

-kitty 2012-06-03 5:14:35

I had a dream that there was a crab on our bed without its shell. My husband said that it could not live, he said this without caring(which he normally would care for any animal). Then the crabby started to move a lot. I thought hard in my dream on if crabs could move into another shell? My husband asked where would I get a shell? I finally said- I’ll call red lobster they’ll have some in the garbage. Then my alarm went off!!!

    -Tony Crisp 2012-06-06 10:55:27

    Kitty – A crab without shell on your bed suggests you have some vulnerable feelings about your relationship – possible sexual.

    Your husband’s reaction sounds like a further statement of not caring for whatever your vulnerability is. Then you decide to find protection, probably from old attitudes or feelings you had discarded.


      -Kezy 2014-01-28 6:50:35

      I had a dream that there was a crab in my bed and it could talk. I was fighting with it. Wrapping it in bed sheets and i pulled a claw off. It was taunting me saying u cant get the other one, u cant kill me. I would never want to hurt an animal but i put a pillow over it and crushed it. The crab disappeared and i lay on the bed with my daughter. What could this dream mean?

        -Tony Crisp 2014-02-02 10:31:58

        Kezy – The bed and the connection with your daughter suggests that you have either been frighten of or dealt with you own – not your daughter’s – vulnerable feelings – probably to do with feelings you at one period felt threatened by or didn’t know how to handle apart from crushing/repressing them. See

        Hadfield in his book Dreams and Nightmares suggests that crab, spider and vampire images represent the visceral objectifications of the bodily feelings associated with orgasm. The crab portrays the changes in visceral and abdominal muscles which produce a gripping sensation; the relaxed feelings following orgasm are represented by the sprawling legs and soft underbelly of the spider image; the washed-out feeling of fatigue, as though the blood had been sucked dry, is externalized by a vampire figure.


-Erick 2010-10-24 19:38:04

I had a dream where I was in a room with a big window with people i cannot recall. We felt something, and i said, “did you feel that?” then we hear noises and someone said it was the crabs or lobsters. i look around and they were everywhere! they were making human noises. A light turned off for a moment, then when the light turned back on they had passed us. I could still hear the noise they were making. someone pointed out they were migrating. This was not a nightmare, but it was a very strange dream that left me with strange feelings. if anyone can help me interpret i would greatly appreciate it.

    -Tony Crisp 2010-11-05 11:54:25

    Erick – I have to go with my feeling with this one, and I need to ask you if you had a slight infection at the time of the dream. I ask this because the crabs or lobsters could be representing an infection leaving you.

    But something is leaving you, and another possibility is that you had let go of hard emotions, the sort where you have shut others out of our life. Maybe even protecting yourself in some way.


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