Give me a hug, Big Daddy!

Sea Life senior curator Chris Brown'prepares to move Japanese Spider crab Big Daddy and (below) the  crab takes to the water.
Sea Life senior curator Chris Brown'prepares to move Japanese Spider crab Big Daddy and (below) the crab takes to the water.
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HIS wrestling namesake was a crowd favourite in Blackpool, but now it’s hoped a new Big Daddy will enthrall visitors in their droves.

The giant Japanese spider crab was shown into his new home at Blackpool Sea Life Centre yesterday, and with a nine foot long claw span he has now taken on the mantle of Britain’s biggest crab.

A Japanese Spider crab named Big Daddy as it settles in to its new home at Blackpool's Sea Life Centre.

A Japanese Spider crab named Big Daddy as it settles in to its new home at Blackpool's Sea Life Centre.

Scott Blacker, displays supervisor at the centre, said Big Daddy was settling well into his new home.

He said: “He’s in the tank and looking happy so that’s quite cool.

“I’m petrified of spiders but I’m alright with him.

“He’s actually had his arms out of the tank but he can’t hold his body weight outside the tank so he can’t get out.”

His tank contains a bubble window, meaning visitors to the attraction will be able to get up close and personal with the giant creature.

The crab is native to waters around Japan, where it typically feeds on whale carcasses and other smaller fish, and can reach up to 12 feet in length when fully grown.

It can typically live for between 50 and 60 years, although some have been known to live for as long as a century.

Its popularity as a food item in Japan has seen its numbers diminish and forced those still surviving into icy waters, where it is more difficult for fishermen to reach them.

Scott said Big Daddy’s age had yet to be determined but the centre now hopes to acquire a female of the species in the hope the two will breed.

He said: “You’d find them in depths of up to 1,000 metres and they’re not the quickest of animals.

“They’re very slow and cumbersome when they’re moving.

“We’ve chilled the tank to nine degrees so it’s nice and cold for him, and there’s plenty of things for him to climb on.”

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