How To Keep Dungeness Crab Alive After Catching

You caught a few crabs but you want to save them or keep them alive till you have time to eat. The heck is- you don’t know how to keep Dungeness crab alive after catching it. You heard to keep the crab in a fridge or a refrigerator to save it. Alas! You don’t know the right way to store the crabs in the fridge. Indeed, you are worried about if the crabs have died. 

Fortunately, we are here to help you out to keep your crabs alive overnight. You can use a cooler, a fridge, or pack the crabs into a bag. 

Below, we break down each of the methods we mentioned, which will help you store the Dungeness crabs safely. And the best part is- following any of the storing techniques will ensure you keep the crabs alive for at least 24 hours. So, let’s check them out. 

How To Keep Dungeness Crab Alive: 3 Alternative Methods

Don’t have any ideas to keep Dungeness crab alive before cooking? Then, the following three methods will help store & keep the crabs alive for an extended time. 

How To Keep Dungeness Crab Alive After Catching
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01. Store Dungeness Crab In A Cooler

Storing your Dungeness crab in a cooler is the best way to keep them alive. Put the Dungeness crab on the bottom of your cooler and fill it with fresh ocean water. Make sure you fill the ocean water to the top of the carapace of the crab. It allows the crab to be able to push itself up to breathe and get some oxygen. 

If you want to submerge your crab completely in the water, you should use an aerator or a bubbler. It will help circulate the oxygen in the water. 

We recommend you pour sufficient water into the cooler to change the water. You should often replace the water because the crab excretes its waste. You don’t want the crab to filter its waste, right? 

Another suggestion is to leave your crab outside at night or in the garage. Because the interior temperature of the house is warm, which will be a reason to kill your crab. You must keep your crab in cold conditions. 

02. Leave The Crab In The Fridge

You can also leave the Dungeness crab in your fridge to keep it alive for a day. Just store them in your fridge and wrap them with a wet sponge sheet or a wet newspaper. Keep in mind; you must cover the crab with a wet towel or newspaper. Otherwise, the crab will die. The wet newspaper will keep the crab moist. 

Never expose them to a cooler room or a chiller wind. It will dry out their gills. Always keep the crab moist. We suggest putting the crabs in a bowl and adding newspaper on the top. It also needs air to circulate for oxygen. 

03. Pack them Into the Box

This is a method to keep your Dungeness crabs alive the way businesses prepare the crabs for shipment. Place bands around the claws of your crabs and put them in cold ocean water to sedate. Then, pack the crabs into a box lined with a bag and an insulating layer. Finally, pump sufficient oxygen into the bag and tie it. In this way, you can keep your crabs alive for a day. 

How to Keep Dungeness Crab Alive in A Tank?

You can also store the Dungeness crab in a tank and keep it alive for at least a day. 

Ensure you fill the tank with ocean water. However, don’t overfill the tank. We recommend you fill the seawater to the top of the carapace of the crab. Then, make sure there is sufficient circulation and oxygen in the tank. 

Dungeness is pretty hearty. They will remain well in the tank as long as there is oxygen and air circulation. 

However, we suggest you not crowd them for too long and remove the dead crab quickly. Otherwise, the dead crab will spread bacteria like a plague to the other and feed them.

Does the Species of Crab Impact On the Method of Keeping Them Alive?

Yes, it impacts. You should keep the crabs in the same conditions as what you caught or took them out. For example, you must store the crabs in a fridge wrapped with a wet sponge if you catch the crabs from the deep sea

On the other hand, if you catch crabs from tropical climates like mud crabs, it will be better to wash them in salt water first at room temperature. Then, keep the crabs moist with a wet newspaper or towel over them. 

For blue crabs, they are the hardest to keep alive. They require extra oxygen delivered into a box that contains them. Alternatively, you can put them in seawater at the temperature they are from. 


How do you keep Dungeness crab alive for 24 hours?

You can store your Dungeness crab in a cooler to keep it alive for 24 hours. Just pour ocean water into the cooler. Make sure there is sufficient oxygen in the cooler. Also, we recommend you change the water frequently and circulate air. In this way, you can keep the Dungeness crab alive for 24 hours. 

How long do Dungeness crabs live in buckets?

Dungeness crabs are pretty hearty, and they can survive in a bucket for 8-10 hours. Ensure you fill the bucket with sea or ocean water. It will be better to fill the bucket with the water from where you catch the crab. 

How do you keep crabs alive in the refrigerator?

Set the temperature of your refrigerator to 45-55F and store your crabs in it. Then, wrap or cover your crabs with a wet newspaper or a towel. We recommend you check out their condition often. It doesn’t only help you ensure they are alive but also gives the crabs fresh air. 

Can you cook dead Dungeness crab?

When the Dungeness crabs die, their meat starts decomposing if you don’t cook them quickly. Turns out, the harmful bacteria start growing once the crab dies. So, we recommend you to not cook dead Dungeness crab. 

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A crab is a sea creature. You can keep the crabs alive after catching them if you store them in the same condition they were. 

You can store the Dungeness crabs in a cooler, a fridge, or a refrigerator, and into a box. It doesn’t matter where you keep the crabs, ensure the container is cool, and there is sufficient oxygen. 

Never keep your Dungeness crabs at room temperature. Otherwise, they will die. 

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