Lobster 101: Habitat

The American lobster, Homarus americanus, lives in the Atlantic Ocean from Labrador, Canada to North Carolina in waters ranging from 164 to 2,296 feet. Lobsters like to live alone in small rocky shelters and crevices on the ocean floor where they are safe from predators.

When a lobster finds a rocky shelter it walks in, claw-first, to make sure it is empty or to evict the current resident. Then the lobster backs into its rocky home so it is able to defend itself if any unwanted visitors approach. The lobster is also ready to grab some food if it swims by, without leaving the comfort and protection of home.

Lobsters spend most of the day hunkered down in hiding to avoid predators. Young lobsters are small and vulnerable, so it is important for them to find a good hiding place right away. Once they burrow into sand, mud, or pebbles, they stay put for the first few years of their lives, hoping to remain safe. Bigger lobsters are able to fend off most predators, so they move around more often than small lobsters. Larger lobsters migrate closer to shore in the summer months to stay in warmer water. Some lobsters also migrate along the coast. The average distance mature lobsters travel during migration is 19 miles. One lobster travelling along the coast near the shore logged 918 miles in three and half years!

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