Those ghost crabs that live on Texas beaches can scuddle up to 10 mph and hold their breath for 6 weeks

Padre Island National Seashore is home to ghost crabs

Ghost crab photo from National Park Service (Dustin Baker, National Park Service)

PADRE ISLAND NATIONAL SEASHORE, Texas – Ghost crabs litter Texas beaches but you might not always see them because, as their name implies, they blend in and camouflage well with the sand.

Officials with Padre Island National Seashore highlighted these six-legged crustaceans in a Facebook post on Wednesday noting that ghost crabs can be seen all over the park’s beaches.

“While their burrows are found in dry sand, ghost crabs breath through gills like fish,” according to the post. “Similar to how we hold our breath underwater, ghost crabs keep their gills wet by holding moisture in their carapaces.”

Ghost crabs can stay on land for extended periods of time, officials said, but they have to live near water or they will dry out.

The National Parks Service website says ghost crabs can clock in at speeds up to 10 mph and that they tunnel 3-4 feet into the sand.

“Ghost crabs will hibernate in their burrows during the winter, ‘holding their breath’ for up to six weeks by storing oxygen in special sacs near their gills,” according to the NPS website.

Can you imagine having to hold your breath to leave home? A ghost crab can! Ghost crabs live in burrows that can be...

Posted by Padre Island National Seashore on Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Have you ever seen a “ghost” on padre island? Let us know in the comments.


About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.