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How long can lobsters live out of water?

The greatest knight of the seas is a name that the lobsters are commonly known as. These giant arthropod crustaceans are versatile survivors of the ocean. Almost 67,000 crustacean species range in various colors and sizes.

Lobsters have a unique defense system of heavy armor. Like most arthropods, they do need to shed that exoskeleton they have for growth.

Some of the crustaceans can be parasitic, some of them aquatic, whilst some of them can be terrestrial. Lobsters are from the family of Nephropidae marine crustaceans.

How long can lobsters live out of water?

Lobsters are marine crustaceans who are gill breathers. If kept moist out of the water they can survive up to 36 hours. Wet newspaper or seaweed can help them survive out of water. They can’t survive in freshwater due to them being seawater animals. Lobsters are slow when they are out of water.

There are around 12 different types of lobsters scattered around the globe. While they are often sold as delicacies some of the lobsters are not edible. However, we’ll talk briefly about two of the most notoriously sought for lobsters.

Maine lobsters:

These lobsters can look almost identical to the Canadian lobster, due to them coming from the same species. Maine lobsters have garnered the title of being the best in the world in some regions.

The juicy claw meat and the firm meat of the tail are what make them famous. Maine lobsters can live up to 48 hours out of saltwater when given the proper care, like using seaweed to keep them cool.

Blue lobsters:

If something rare is what you’re looking for then you can’t go rarer than the “Blue lobster”. Since the chance of catching one of these marine animals is one in a 2 million.

They can be very expensive, about 500$ on menus. The irony of it is that they taste the same as any regular color lobster out there. The Blue lobster can live out of the water for around 36 hours if refrigerated well.

Do lobsters die instantly?

Lobsters can live up to 1-2 days outside water. They don’t just die instantly when taken out of seawater. Lobsters are gill breathers as a result they can extract oxygen from the air.

These knights of the deep can be very agile in the water even after having a heavy armor plate. However, on land, they are very slow and when not kept moist and cool they will cease to live.

The lobster can be still good to eat even after its death. It takes around a day time after the lobster’s death that they become inedible.

The gills of this animal will slowly collapse as it tries to maintain the flow of oxygen to the body all the while losing moisture. However, this allows the lobsters to survive out of the water as long as they can.

How to keep live lobsters alive?

Lobsters are marine animals primarily but they can also survive outside on the land if they wanted to. But the more time they are far from water, the more risk they put on their lives.

They can’t survive in freshwater either, however, there are ways to keep a live lobster alive at least for a couple of days. Let’s go through some of these ways below.


To keep a lobster alive, getting a refrigerator unit to keep the water of the aquarium extremely chilly is the first step you should take. Try to keep the temperature of the tank 36-45 Fahrenheit in order for no cannibalism between the lobsters.

Damp Newspaper/Seaweed:

Keep the crustacean under a damp newspaper or fresh seaweed. However, make sure to store them on the lowermost shelf and at the back.

Lobsters breathe through gills and therefore they won’t be able to survive long due to their lungs collapsing. Use this method to keep the lungs from collapsing by keeping them moist.

Melted Ice/Frozen Gel packs:

Surround the live lobster with melted ice or frozen gel packs, either will do. Make sure that the lobsters don’t smash into each other, the packs need a snug fit.

Furthermore, make sure to double bag the ice packs so that it doesn’t start leaking. Otherwise, the lobsters can go into osmotic shock, then suffocate and die due to them resting in freshwater melted from the ice.

Can lobsters survive on land?

Even though these creatures have gills instead of lungs, they can survive on land. Lobsters may have a brain that is the size of a pea, but they have gills that help them extract oxygen from both water and air.

An adult lobster can survive for a day or two out of the water and in the land by using their gills. However, they will need to keep themselves cool and moist due to their lungs will slowly collapsing without seawater.

These marine creatures can be found in abundance around the shorelines to the edge of the continental shelf.

Can lobsters survive in tap water?

Lobsters can survive without water due to the help of their gills but they can’t survive in tap water. The lobsters being saltwater animals it’s kind of obvious that the freshwater is poison to them.

This happens due to the biggest weakness that a lobster has, they can’t recapture the salt from their urine. Therefore, when the lobsters are in freshwater, they quickly lose the salt in their body and die promptly.

Lobsters essentially drown in freshwater. Hence don’t store them in stagnant water as well as sealed containers with fresh water if you want to keep them alive.

Lobsters might be the food for the poor people but they sure need to be handled with care, as crustacean’s bodies tend to deteriorate fast when they die.

Do lobsters survive in fresh or saltwater?

Sometimes people confuse a Crayfish and a Lobster due to the similarities of their physical characteristics. That’s why there’s some misconception out there that people saw lobsters in the freshwater.

Although, this is far from the truth, as we all know by now that the Lobsters are sea creatures and thus can only survive in saltwater. They have some crucial weaknesses that make them unable to be alive in freshwater.

Lobsters breathe through gills that allow them to take in the oxygen available in the saltwater, as well as the air. This allows them to be alive temporarily on land, but being in freshwater drowns them.

The urine excretory systems they have, it’s so simple that because of that they lose all the salt in their blood and die. That’s why lobsters can’t survive in freshwater and opt for saltwater instead.

Why do lobsters die in freshwater?

Unlike Crayfish that can survive in the freshwater, Lobsters literally drown in freshwater. Both these creatures have quite similar appearances, they both have eight legs, two large front claws, and heavy armor as the exoskeleton.

Only their body and environments function differently. Thus, making the crayfish survive in freshwater whereas our Lobster can’t do so. Let’s find out the main reasons that lobsters can’t survive in freshwater.

Sea Creature:

One of the more obvious reasons that the lobster can’t survive in the freshwater is simply due to the fact that this marine creature. They are built in a way that they’re only meant to live in saltwater bodies, such as the seas and oceans.

Urine Excretory System:

Lobsters, unfortunately, don’t have the ability to recapture the salt that is present in their urine. The excretory system of a lobster is very simple.

As a result of that Lobsters quickly lose all the salt they have in their blood and die if they’re in freshwater. They also can’t handle any resistance to excreting the urine they produce.

Salt Level:

Lobsters have a low salt level than saltwater to let water in through diffusion. However, whatever the amount is, it’s high enough to not let in more than needed.

So, when the lobster finds itself in freshwater, they will just take in a bunch of unneeded water to balance out, ultimately bursting the cells from inside.

Final Thoughts

Lobsters are some of the most remarkable crustaceans, that can live out of the water for a maximum of 48 hours. Even though it might sound minuscule but 24-36 hours is a standard amount of time a good hard-shell lobster can survive out of water. Regardless, the fresher the lobster is the tastier.