We all have at least one memory of a baby tooth being pulled or a parent giving advice on the best way to pull it. What comes to mind for you? Chewing gum? A piece of string and a doorknob? A nerf gun? Sure, you could have just used your fingers, but where’s the fun in that?
There are no doubt some inventive, possibly even borderline unbelievable stories about pulling baby teeth out there. That said, it doesn’t get much more creative than a crab claw.
For one young fisherman and his father, the unusual method was the clear course of action. Loose tooth? Crab claw attached to a live, freshly caught crab? An obvious combination.
In an Instagram post, the father shared the video of his son’s courageous battle with the crab. “My son Sawyer is an absolute legend for going toe to toe with a lunker Dungeness,” he wrote. “I have never seen a tooth pulled like this.”
Hilariously, the video begins with no context whatsoever. While one person holds Sawyer’s head still and his lip out of harm’s way, someone else holds the crab in gloved hands, positioning one of the claws between the young boy’s tooth and gums.
With the tooth securely pinched between the crab’s claws, it pops out of place with a click. “I think you’re the first kid ever to have a crab rip out your tooth!” Sawyer’s dad says with a laugh.
The Incredible Pinching Force of Crab Claws
As one would expect, the reactions to the video are mixed, to say the least, with some praising the boy for his unflinching reaction to having his tooth pulled out by a crab claw and others chastising the parents for introducing a bacteria-laden crab claw to an open wound.
Now, it’s fair to question whether or not sticking a presumably live animal in a child’s mouth is safe or sanitary. However, it can’t be denied that a crab claw is an effective substitute for forceps in a pinch (pun intended).
A crab claw contains immensely powerful muscles. Despite their small size, they can produce a pinch force of about 60 pounds! Pound for pound, crabs’ claw muscles produce some of the strongest forces of any animal. The inside of the claw is also lined with ridges, which allows the crustacean to concentrate this incredible force on a small area.
Crabs are impressively stubborn as well and will break their own claw or leg off rather than release their hold. That’s why insulated gloves are a must for crabbing (and why the innovative dockside dentist was wearing them in the video)!