Watch a Huge Pufferfish Absolutely Inhale a Crab like a Fast-Food Lunch

© Moize nicolas/

Written by Kirstin Harrington

Updated: October 22, 2023

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Pufferfish have fascinated many since childhood. Also going by the name of “Puffer,” these fish have the ability to expand their body like a balloon. The puffer family includes about 120 species, all of which have the capacity to inflate their stomachs quickly with air or water, ballooning to two or three times their regular size. 

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Possible predators find them to be an undesirable option because of their size increase and awkward shape. Puffers have stiff bodies that prevent them from wriggling and diving through the water, so they must paddle using their fins.

Dining Like Kings

Starry pufferfish - Arothron stellatus

Some pufferfish are smooth, while others have spikes.


Humans often eat seafood as a form of celebration. Did you just get a promotion? Why not have a nice lobster dinner? Puffers don’t need a celebratory excuse to eat like kings! Many pufferfish use their strong beaks to crack apart and consume clams, mussels, and other shellfish. 

According to legend, poisonous puffers create their lethal toxin from germs found in the prey they consume. On the flip side, these fish primarily eat algae and insects. A video from Twitter shows just how incredible these fish can be when it comes time to eat.

The footage starts with a lone crab at the bottom of a tank. Out of nowhere, a pufferfish appears. In a matter of seconds, the fish consumes the crab in a single bite. It even scoops up the leftovers in a second bite. Unfortunately for the fish, there wasn’t a tasty side of butter or lemon for the fresh crab.

How Do Pufferfish Hunt?

Porcupine Pufferfish



Pufferfish in the open water in Bonaire. There are three different ways that pufferfish have been seen to hunt their prey.

©J.T. Lewis/

At this point, we’ve established that puffers can use their sharp beaks to attack crustaceans. There are three different ways that pufferfish have been seen to hunt their prey. First, they use stealth, approaching their unwary target covertly before attacking. Ambush is the second technique. 

The procedure entails carefully watching from a concealed location for the prey to approach. Open-water hunting is the third strategy. This approach entails swimming in the vast waters to find nourishment. Although this can be more dangerous for the hunter, there are more food options available. 

How Toxic Are Pufferfish?


The stomach of a pufferfish can inflate up to three times its normal size.

©Moize nicolas/

Despite having a friendly appearance, pufferfish are among the most toxic animals on the planet. Tetrodotoxin (TXX), a lethal poison found in pufferfish, is 1,200 times more lethal than cyanide. A single pufferfish possesses enough tetrodotoxin in it to kill 30 adult humans.

Although this poison is quite deadly to humans, other creatures are not as vulnerable to it. Recent research has shown that dolphins have discovered a technique to consume tetrodotoxin by chomping on pufferfish. The dolphins have a narcotic-like effect from tetrodotoxin in tiny dosages.

While these fish can be toxic, a small crab didn’t have a chance to think twice. Take a look at the footage below. 

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About the Author

Kirstin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering animals, news topics, fun places, and helpful tips. Kirstin has been writing on a variety of topics for over five years. She has her real estate license, along with an associates degree in another field. A resident of Minnesota, Kirstin treats her two cats (Spook and Finlay) like the children they are. She never misses an opportunity to explore a thrift store with a coffee in hand, especially if it’s a cold autumn day!

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