Why do crabs walk sideways?

Scurrying around on the beach escaping the bucket and spade, why would crabs prefer to run sideways?

22nd July 2009

Asked by: James Louis, Bristol

Crabs have a wide, flattened shape that makes it easy to burrow into sand or squeeze into narrow crevices, but also restricts the range of motion at the 'shoulder' joint of each leg.

Crabs can actually shuffle slowly forward, but move much faster by flexing the second joint of each leg. These joints are simple hinges, like our knees, and they only bend sideways.

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