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11 Reasons Lobsters are Actually Horrifying Monsters

Look into those eyes, and know the meaning of “fear.”

Oh sure, I can already hear what you’re saying. “But lobster is delicious,” you’re crying out, or “But have you tried the lobster roll at that cute little place in Red Hook? It’s got kewpie mayonnaise in it and it’s SO AUTHENTIC.”

Granted, lobster may be enjoying its moment in the sun, but the bottom-feeding crustacean is, in fact, a terrible monster. Here’s proof:

1. Lobsters grow forever. That’s right. Lobsters continually outgrow their shell, shedding it to accommodate their new, larger, more horrifying bodies. But nobody actually knows just how long lobsters live, or just how monstrously large they get, because modern lobster traps aren’t meant to catch the largest of the gigantic bottom-dwelling beasts. We know they can grow to six feet long, so does that mean they can grow to sixty? Probably. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been trained to fear unregulated, limitless growth. See also: Rapidly multiplying cancer cells and viral zombie hordes.

2. Lobsters are nocturnal scavengers, feasting on the dead. Lobsters have been seen snatching up particularly tasty rotting morsels, burying them on the ocean floor, and then digging them up to snack on a little bit at a time at their leisure, making them more akin to ocean-bound Jeffrey Dahmers, than a delicious delicacy.

3. Lobsters are cannibals. When they don’t have any partially-decayed garbage to eat, lobsters spend the rest of their lives on the hunt for the freshest available food. And if the freshest food possible is another lobster? So be it.

Photo: Kasey Ahlquist

4. Lobsters taste with their legs. The little bristly hairs on their legs and feet are what lobsters use to identify food, while the antennae on top of their eyes track down food that’s just out of reach.

5. Lobsters chew with their stomachs. Lobsters have something called a “gastric mill,” which is a sort of set of teeth in the insides of their stomachs. And if the idea of a stomach filled with teeth doesn’t fill your brain with nightmares, you are a stronger person than I am.

6. Lobsters look like gigantic sea scorpions. And scorpions are as scary as you can get. And eating steamed bug meat is gross, no matter how much drawn butter you slather on it.

7. Lobsters explode green slime when you rip their cooked bodies apart for your precious lobster rolls. Their liver, intestine, and pancreas form a sort of green slurry (colloquially referred to as “tomalley,” which is not to be confused with the delicious Mexican treat you buy at the flea market) that’s edible, provided you’re either a tough guy or a total maniac. Check the tail before chowing down, too; it’s often packed full of digested food (known in scientific circles as “lobster shit”) and nuggets of red eggs, both of which are something of an acquired taste.

8. Lobsters don’t feel pain. Hippies claim that lobsters “scream” when you lower their wretched souls into screaming hot water, but that’s nonsense (the hissing sound is actually steam escaping from the segmented joints in their terrible, terrible bodies). Lobsters don’t have vocal chords, and due to their lack of what we understand as a central nervous system, the idea that they even feel pain is debatable at best.

Photo: Kasey Ahlquist

9. One of a lobster’s claws has a crushing force of 100 pounds per square inch. Ever wonder what those festive rubber bands on a lobster’s claws are all about? It’s because those claws are dealers of deep sea oceanic death. The larger, “crusher” claw breaks up hard things like crabs, clams, or other lobsters, while the smaller “ripper” claw tears apart softer food, like worms or your feelings.

10. Lobsters can regrow their limbs. Sure, it may take a lobster five years or more to regenerate a lost claw. BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN THEY CAN’T DO IT.

11. Feeding lobster to prisoners was once considered “cruel and unusual punishment,” on par with being forced to eat rats. Because lobsters were literally littering the ocean floor in New England, they were the cheapest, most plentiful thing to feed to prisoners in the colonial era. In Massachusetts, a law was eventually passed dictating that prisoners could only be fed lobster three times per week.

In conclusion? Soulless, heartless, cannibalistic, immortal monster ocean bugs incapable of feeling pain. Delicious with mayonnaise.

Written by Malcolm Bedell

Malcolm is the author of "Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road," as well as a frequent contributor to Serious Eats, Down East Magazine, The L.A. Weekly, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and more. When not poisoning his body with garbage and then posting sardonic commentary about it on the Internet, he also owns and operates the 'Wich, Please food truck, named Eater.com's "Hottest Restaurant in Maine" for 2015.

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