Tiny Crab Nearly Drowns a Large Bald Eagle in Impressive Fight

Written by Kirstin Harrington
Updated: May 3, 2023
© elmehdi.ph/Shutterstock.com
Share this post on:
Continue Reading To See This Amazing Video

Key Points:

  • Eagles have excellent eyesight, which is what allowed this particular eagle to spot the feisty crab in the water.
  • Crabs are naturally gifted at defense and making themselves difficult prey.
  • Tenacity goes a long way in the fight for survival.
Front view of a vampire crab sitting on a leaf
The Vampire Crab may not be the type in the video, but it uses its claws to attack and its name suits the ferocious one that beat the eagle.

©Dan Olsen/Shutterstock.com

Bald eagles, like other eagles throughout the world, have long been revered as emblems of fortitude, bravery, independence, and longevity. Additionally, the bald eagle is unique to North America, unlike other eagles. In American history, some eagles have attained notoriety.

The elegance and grace of eagles are befitting of their role as America’s national bird. The female eagle is bigger and heavier than the male, as is the case with the majority of raptors. They have a body length of over three feet, a wingspan that can reach seven feet, and an average weight of 12 pounds. The weight of eagles is less than it seems. 

Only The Top 1% Can Ace our Animal Quizzes

Think You Can?

An eagle’s feathers make up most of its body, and since its bones are hollow, they are smaller than the skeletons of mammals. The eyes of an eagle have up to eight times more color-sensitive cones than those of a person. Their eyes, which are on the side of the head, have a broad field of vision.

Bald eagles can soar and hunt over broad areas with little effort thanks to their large wings, relative to other birds. They can go 400 to 500 miles per day when migrating. Bald eagles may seize their prey with the help of their powerful feet and big, sharp talons. While you think this would make them invincible, one crab proves otherwise. 

bald eagle in flight
Native to North America, bald eagles are large flying birds and fierce predators.


Pain in a Pinch

A lone eagle is perching on a rock as waves crash around it. The footage seen below is from a Netflix documentary. This particular eagle was eager to catch food for his mate and was coming up short. Using his pristine vision, the bird spots something in the water. 

Finally thinking he found dinner for his partner, the eagle reaches down with its beak to pick up a little crab. Although each crab species has unique characteristics, the majority of them use their hard shells and pincers as their main means of protection. 

Crabs are shielded by their shells from the environment and hungry predators. Because their pincers are so tightly closed, crabs can take hold of and fend against predators — and that’s exactly what this little guy did! 

When the bird tried to grab him with its beak, the crab started pinching and eventually landed around the eagle’s eye, disrupting his vision. This throws the symbol of freedom off entirely and almost puts him in a confused state. 

With its little pincers, the crab fends for his life and starts pinching all over the bird’s head. Having enough of the pain, the eagle decides this little meal wasn’t worth all of the effort. He shakes the crab off and flies back to the rock in the water to wait for the next opportunity to hunt. 

Is This Normal Behavior?

Because crabs have a tough, protective exoskeleton to ward off would-be predators, they often have time to deploy their painful pincers when they are attacked. These two adaptations help crabs survive some attacks and make other animals think twice about even getting started.

Bald eagles become opportunistic hunters when fish isn’t easily available. Their great eyesight allows them to find a lot of prey that other predators would miss, yet this eagle may rethink its next attempt at going after a crab!

Up Next:

More from A-Z Animals

The Featured Image

a predator golden eagle with a dangerous look
a predator golden eagle with a dangerous look
© elmehdi.ph/Shutterstock.com

Share this post on:
About the Author

When she's not busy playing with her several guinea pigs or her cat Finlay Kirstin is writing articles to help other pet owners. She's also a REALTOR® in the Twin Cities and is passionate about social justice. There's nothing that beats a rainy day with a warm cup of tea and Frank Sinatra on vinyl for this millennial.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.