February 19, 2010 12:45 PM

Now that’s quite a crustacean! Currently making its home at the National Sea Life centre in Birmingham, U.K., ‘Crab-zilla’–a Japanese Spider Crab which measures ten feet, claw-to-claw!–is the biggest crab ever known to visit a British aquarium.

The enormous crab made his debut in Birmingham on Friday, and will stay there until the end of March. Then he’ll be flown to Belgium, where he’ll be permanently housed at the Sea Life centre in Blankenberge, one of the Sea Life group’s 31 aquariums in Europe.

Nicknamed in a nod to colossal Japanese monster Godzilla, the crab is expected to live to the age of 100, experts at the aquarium say.

“It’s rumored that these crabs can grow as big as four meters [13 feet],” says centre curator Graham Burrows, “big enough to straddle a car.”

More amazing specs: Crabzilla’s front limbs, which he uses to eat, are each over five feet long; his body is the size of a basketball; and he currently weighs about 40-lbs.

According to the aquarium, the eight-legged crabs are the “largest known member of the ‘arthropod’ family,” which comprises all invertebrates with joined limbs. Native to the icy Pacific Ocean waters surrounding Japan, the crabs can dwell in ocean vents and holes anywhere from 650 to 2,600 feet deep in the sea.

While they eat algae and plants, they’re omnivores–so they scavenge for meat, too. Sticking mostly to mollusks and small fish, they catch their snacks in their powerful, long limbs.

But the crabs themselves are also considered tasty snacks in Japan, where they’re a delicacy when steamed and salted. (Harvesting egg-laying females in the springtime, however, is forbidden.)

Crabzilla, though, needn’t worry about fishermen’s nets now – he’ll have a safe home in Belgium for life.

During his stint in the U.K., the crab will share an open-topped ray tank with other crabs–but despite his size, he’s not a threat to his clawed brethren.

“He will absolutely dwarf the other crabs in there,” says Burrows, “but he’s not aggressive and they should have nothing to worry about.” Fingers (and crab legs) crossed!

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