A crab smoking a cigarette. To you this might sound like a funny intersection of human and crustacean; a comical delight destined for dorm room poster and tumblr blog. A viral image out of Philadelphia, however, paints a darker picture.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease for human beings in the United States. And for crabs? Sadly, the data just isn’t out there for tobacco-related death and disease among crabs.

This is, no doubt, part of the problem.

An image of a Philadelphia crab resident smoking a cigarette “went viral” this weekend, after it was posted to Reddit:

A crab—lonely, away from its fellow crabs—wandering North Philadelphia with a cigarette in its little crab claw, under cover of night. A harrowing scene. Maybe he was in the Fishtown area of North Philadelphia, to visit my friends Matt and Megan. Maybe he was in the Fairmount area of North Philadelphia, to visit someone else’s friends. No matter where he was, it’s clear that he had not yet met up with any friends, and was instead wandering alone, drunken?, high??, in North Philadelphia, and he was, yes, as you can plainly see: smoking a cigarette.

A funny joke, a sexy crab habit—or a dangerous trend?

This is not the first cigarette-smoking crab to “delight” the Internet with its degradation. You can find many images of crabs “smoking cigarettes” on the popular crab Tumblr “Crabs with cigarettes.” This page glamorizes the image of crabs—clearly manipulated, in many cases, by human intervention—smoking cigarettes. (There is also a subreddit dedicated to these photos.)

This popular YouTube clip is similarly manipulated to push our deadly habit upon our sexually dimorphic friends:

Yes, these crabs look cool as hell. Yes, they are sexy. But what of the longterm effects? What of the disease—the death?

You might think, “Yes, it is a funny joke to put a cigarette into a crab’s claw as if he is ‘smoking’ the cigarette, but have any crabs really picked up the habit? Is there any evidence that this has caused real change in crab smoking habits, beyond that filthy Philadelphia crab who, no doubt, would be on a dangerous path no matter what images he was subjected to while surfing the Internet?”


I don’t have any more evidence.

Do you? If you do, please leave your pictures of crabs with cigarettes in the comments.

Images via Google Image. Contact the author at kelly.conaboy@gawker.com.