How Long Can Lobsters Live Out of Water

Depending on the fish market, live lobsters may be sold in packages similar to wet newsprint in order to maintain their viability and health throughout transport. How long, though, can a lobster stay alive without water?

Lobsters are marine animals that have adapted to a life buried in seawater. Yet, lobsters can remain alive for up to 48 hours when separated from their water source. This is because lobsters are able to draw oxygen from the air through their gills and perform a rudimentary kind of water breathing.

Keep in mind that until you either return the lobster to the ocean or prepare it, it will need to be kept cool and moist to survive. To give you an idea of how to keep your lobsters alive until you can prepare them, let’s go into the specifics.

How Long Can Lobsters Live Out of Water

Lobsters, the spiny, bottom-dwelling crustaceans, have been the subject of fascination, culinary delight, and scientific inquiry for centuries.

If you’ve ever wondered how long they can survive outside of water, how they fare in a fridge, or their natural lifespan in the ocean, this article delves into these intriguing aspects.

What is Lobsters?

Lobsters are marine crustaceans with a hard, protective exoskeleton. They are invertebrates and are closely related to crabs and shrimp. Primarily found in the ocean, they dwell in rocky, sandy, or muddy bottoms from the shoreline to beyond the edge of the continental shelf. They are prized for their delicious taste and are a major commodity in the seafood industry.

Factors That Affect a Lobster’s Survival Out of Water

Although it may seem impossible, lobsters have evolved a primitive kind of water-breathing that allows them to persist on land. But, there are a number of variables that will affect how long your lobster can survive out of water.


When temperatures are lower, lobsters have a better chance of surviving on land for an extended period of time. They thrive between 59 and 64 degrees Fahrenheit (15 and 18 Celsius), but can endure temperatures as low as 0 degrees Celsius for short periods of time. Temperatures above a certain point can cause stress in lobsters, which can reduce their lifespan.


A lobster’s chances of survival in dry conditions are increased by maintaining a humid environment. The lobster’s ability to take oxygen from the air is enhanced by the humid environment, which also helps it avoid drying up.

Water availability

If a lobster is placed in a damp towel or newspaper, it may be able to stay alive for longer away from the ocean. Some people choose to keep them cool by placing them in ice, but this could prove fatal for the lobsters if the ice melts and turns into water.


More often than not, larger lobsters are better able to make it dry land than their tiny counterparts. This is because they have a higher hemolymph volume, allowing them to take in and utilise more oxygen.

How Long Can Lobsters Live Out of Water

For how long, then, would a lobster be able to stay alive if it were to become separated from its water source? The response will vary from case to case and lobster to lobster, hence there is no hard and fast rule.

It is generally accepted that lobsters can be kept alive for 36 to 48 hours out of water, though this does vary greatly depending on temperature, humidity, and storage.

How Do Lobsters Get Oxygen?

In many ways, lobsters are more like to insects than they are to other fish. Yet, lobsters still have gills, therefore living on land is fatal for them. The lungs of a fish use water to get oxygen.

Because of the increased oxygen content in cooler waters, the ideal temperature range for the average lobster is between 61 and 64 degrees Fahrenheit (16.1-17.7C).

A lobster, on the other hand, can stay alive for up to 48 hours after being removed from water, while most fish would perish within 10 minutes. This is due to the fact that lobsters’ gills are designed to absorb oxygen from the air if they are wet.

Lobsters Can Communicate

Even though lobsters lack vocal cords and possibly even hearing, they still manage to communicate with one another. In order to do this, they use a chemical message. A nozzle beneath their eyes then shoots forth the message.

Everything sounds fantastic until you learn that the “chemicals” they’re employing are actually just urine. Lobsters have two bladders, one on each side of their heads, and urinate through their faces.

Why Freshwater is Bad for Lobsters

The lobster’s ability to breathe in both saltwater and freshwater begs the question of why it can’t dwell there happily. Osmosis has a similar role in both lobsters and fish. Osmosis refers to the passage of water or another liquid through a cell membrane.

The cellular membrane, or wall, is selectively permeable. This signifies that there are openings and closings in the cell’s wall. Yet, proper control of what enters the cell is essential for success. Cells can grow to the point of bursting if they let in too much fluid. You will surely die if you continue in this manner.

Can Lobsters Live Outside of Water?

While lobsters are aquatic creatures, they can survive for a limited time outside of water under specific conditions. Their gills must remain moist for respiration, and they can pull this off for up to 48 hours if kept in a cool, humid environment. However, they are most comfortable and thrive when in their natural aquatic habitat.

How Long Will Live Lobster Live in the Fridge?

Storing a live lobster in the refrigerator poses a bit of a challenge. While the cool temperature slows down the lobster’s metabolism, they can only survive for about 24 to 48 hours when properly stored in a moist, cold environment.

Place them in the crisper drawer covered with damp newspaper or seaweed to extend their lifespan. It’s advisable to cook them as soon as possible for optimal flavor and texture.

How Long Can Lobsters Live in the Ocean?

Lobsters are known for their remarkable longevity. Some species, like the American lobster, can live up to 100 years in their natural habitat. Various factors contribute to their extended lifespan:

  1. Molting: Unlike other creatures, lobsters continue to grow by molting, which is the process of shedding their exoskeleton. This ability contributes to their long life.
  2. Slow Metabolism: Their metabolism slows down as they age, which aids in longevity.
  3. Natural Environment: The ocean provides the necessary conditions, including ample food and hiding spots, for lobsters to live long lives.


Lobsters are big, marine crustaceans that inhabit the benthic zone of the ocean, typically in crevices or holes. They’re slender, but their tough shells make them look even more so. Hemocyanin in their blood is what gives it its distinctive blue color.

They can get as long as 50 centimeters and as heavy as four pounds. As long as they are submerged in salt water, they have a lifespan of a century or more. But what if they decide not to go swimming?

Lobsters can live for a century, but they won’t make it if they’re not in water. Only in a humid and chilly environment can a lobster survive for up to 36 hours after being removed from the sea. As lobsters rely on their gills for breathing, keeping them moist is essential to preventing their collapse.