No. 39 Catch a crab

Two girls catch a crab on the Isle of Wight

Crabs can look pretty crazy when they're scuttling sideways along the beach or shore. If you want to catch one, you'll need to learn more about them.

Catching a crab sounds fairly easy, right? But you'll need to put some planning in if you're going to pull off this challenge. It's no.39 on our list of '50 things to do before you're 11¾'. Don't panic though, we've got some tips that should see you completing this challenge in no time at all when you're at the seaside.

Don't use a hook to catch your crab

Don't use a hook, use a net instead. You'll want some bait (that's food) inside the net to catch your greedy crab quickly. Crabs love a stinky dish of raw fish heads, liver or bacon - even better if it's a little rotten. Yuck!

Replace rocks and seaweed

Lift rocks carefully and try not to move any seaweed that is attached to rocks. If you take any rocks out, then gently put them back after you've found your crab.

See if you can work out what sort of crab it is

Look at your crab carefully. What colour is it? How big are its claws? How does its shell feel? The Marine Conservation Society have some great identification sheets that you can download and take with you when you go to the seaside, and they're not just for crabs, but all sorts of other things you might find at the beach. There's a link below to the Seashore Safari Guide.

Put the crab back afterwards

Crabs have homes too and places to go too (probably), so after you've got to know each other a little bit and once you've worked out what type of crab you've caught, then it's best to pop it right back where you found it.

See sea shells

If you've found some empty sea shells then don't forget that hermit crabs like to make their homes in the discarded shells of whelks or periwinkles, so you could even leave some as a housewarming... or an actual house!

Check the tide times

It's always wise to have checked the tide times for the beach you're hunting on to make sure you don't get cut off by an incoming tide.