Can Lobsters Breathe Air? Breathing Strategy of Lobster

Lobsters can’t breathe air like humans since they have gills instead of lungs. Their gills can extract oxygen from the water only. So, when they are in the air, it becomes tough to breathe.

However, lobsters can survive for a couple of days outside water if stored in a moist place. Want to know more? This article will tell you everything about the breathing strategy of lobster.

Can Lobsters Breathe Air?

Outside the water, lobsters can breathe air only if they are kept in a moist and cold place. In this condition, they can survive for just a few days. On the other hand, if the place is too hot, then it will die in just a couple of hours.

This is because lobsters can’t extract oxygen from the air as we humans do with our lungs. They have gills that can only function in water or moist places. So, when they are taken out of their natural habitat, they find it hard to survive.

How Do Lobsters Breathe? Scientific Analysis

First, you should take a look at the lobster’s anatomy. Do lobsters have gills or lungs? Lobsters don’t have lungs as we do, so they don’t technically “breathe.” Instead, they pump water through their gills.

lobster anatomy
Lobster Anatomy

The way that lobsters breathe is similar to how other sea creatures breathe. You may be wondering about the specifics of this process. Can lobsters breathe oxygen? What do they release when they exhale? Like other fishes and crabs, lobsters absorb oxygen and release carbon dioxide through their gills.

In simpler terms, lobsters’ gills allow them to extract oxygen from the water and release carbon dioxide back into the environment. This continual gas exchange cycle is what allows them to live underwater.

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Moreover, if lobsters’ gills remain moist and cool or if they are stored in a moist place, they can perform breathing for a few days outside water.

Lobsters are a type of crustacean that is found in saltwater environments. The gills of a lobster, which function as slits to force water through, are located between the top of its tail and its eyes. Animals that live in water use their gills to take in oxygenated water from sources containing oxygen.

lobster in the ocean

Do Lobsters Have a Sense Of Smell?

The lobster has some of the most acute senses of smell among all animals. Paul Moore, an environmentalist, refers to them as “walking noses.” With chemical receptors covering nearly every section of their bodies, lobsters have an incredibly wide range of senses of smell and taste.

The long antennae above their eyes are used to ward off potential predators, while the shorter antennules are used to detect movement and chemicals in the water. So they can easily sense their environment.

How Many Times Does a Lobster Breathe Daily?

The breathing time of a lobster depends on a few factors, including the temperature of the water and the level of oxygen in the water. In general, however, lobsters tend to pump water through their gills around 15 times per minute. So, daily a lobster can breathe around 21,000 times.

Can Lobsters Suffocate in Water?

Yes, a lobster can suffocate in water if three situations arrive.

First, lobsters can suffocate in water when there is no air circulation. If a lobster is confined in a container with no airflow, the oxygen in the water will be quickly depleted, and the lobster may die from suffocation.

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Second, If you put the lobster in a tap or fresh water, they can feel suffocation. Remember that lobster is a saltwater creature.

Third, if the water temperature is too high, a lobster cannot survive in such a hot environment.

Can A Lobster Drown?

No, a lobster can’t drown because it can extract oxygen from the water and breathe easily. But, if it is taken out of the water and placed in hot water, then it can die quickly. On the other hand, if they are placed in a moist or watery place, they may survive for an extended period.

Do Lobsters Feel Pain?

Lobsters have a nervous system that is similar to ours, and they can experience pain. In fact, they are quite sensitive to pain and can be easily injured.

According to scientists in the United Kingdom, crustaceans, including lobsters, experience emotions like pain. For example, if you boil a lobster alive, it will thrash about violently as it tries to escape the hot water.

Some scientists believe that the thrashing results from the lobster’s nervous system trying to protect itself from further harm. However, other scientists believe that lobsters may not be experiencing pain in the same way that we do.


So, lobsters can breathe air only in certain conditions. They typically live in saltwater environments. Their gills allow them to extract oxygen from the water and release carbon dioxide back into the water. If they are stored in a moist place, they can perform breathing for a few days outside of water.

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