Guide to Finding Bay Shore Crabs in Vancouver …With Explanations!

Vancouver is a city that is wonderfully intermixed with nature. For instance, because it is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, it has many scenic shores to visit. One thing to do at these shores is to look at its wildlife. One common animal that you would find there is the Bay Shore Crab. With the following tips, you will be able to find them easily and become a crab catching pro!

First of all, you should go to rocky shores if you want a greater chance of finding Bay Shore Crabs, because they prefer to live under rocks. Two places that I recommend to visit are Whytcliff Park and Deep Cove. Then, plan on going when the tide is low or else you may have to scuba dive to find them. Now, the question is where within a shore would you want to find these crabs, becauses shores can be large to wander around. Simply, go to the west side of shores because Blue Shore Crabs are more abundant there.

Why would this be? As a scientist, I was interested in this question. By reading studies, I learned that sea temperature varies within shores (an interesting study demonstrating this was by Miller and colleagues in 2009). Going to Whytcliff Park, I measured the west side to have the highest sea temperature within the shore. Perhaps, Bay Shore Crabs like the higher temperature and therefore are more abundant in the west sides of the shores? So, I did an experiment where I gave Bay Shore Crabs an option to choose between a cold, warm or hot environment. I found that they did not have a preference to any of them. Therefore, the temperature variation within shores is not a reason why the crabs are more abundant in the west side of shores.

That finding was quite anticlimatic unfortunately. However, going back to the shores, I noticed some differences between the regions within the shores that could explain why one would find more Bay Shore Crabs in the west sides. For example, one major difference I saw was that the west sides had a lot more green algae compared to other sides of shores. Because green algae is one of the crab’s food sources, it makes sense that they would prefer the west side. Another observation I made was that the west side of the shores had calmer waves than the east side of the same shores. Because these crabs like calmer waves, this is a possible reason why they would be more abundant in the west side of shores.

west of whytcliff park

Photo I took of Whytcliff Park’s west side. Look at all the green algae!

Hopefully I have accomplished my goal by teaching you where to find Blue Shore Crabs if you decide to visit Vancouver’s many shores. Perhaps if you have different crabs at your hometown, a similar pattern will also be present!


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