Do Lobsters Scream? Learn If Lobsters Can Feel Pain

Lobsters usually don’t scream because they lack vocal cords. If you hear something, it’s likely coming from the lobster as you boil it. So, what is this sound, and why does it happen?

Well, when a lobster is put in boiling water, it has no way to escape and quickly dies. This causes its muscles to contract rapidly, thus producing a sound. It is not actually screaming but more of a cracking sound due to its shells’ rapid expansion and contraction.

Now, this blog will reveal more about whether lobsters scream while being boiled. Therefore, read the entire article if you’re interested.

Do Lobsters Scream?

You know that lobsters don’t scream. You can hear a high-pitched sound while boiling lobsters and most people call it the “Lobster Death Scream.” But do lobsters actually scream, or is the sound something else? Many scientists and zoologists had discussed this topic before and revealed that lobsters DO NOT scream.

Then what is the high-pitched sound that you constantly hear while boiling the lobster? Actually, the “scream” or sound comes from the lobster shell. When you boil the lobster, the steam tries to escape from the shell. The steam makes a high-pitched sound like whistling while rushing out of the small holes in the lobster shell.

Also See: Can Lobsters Breathe Air? Breathing Strategy of Lobster

Calling the sound “scream” can mislead so many people. Lobsters do not have lungs or vocal cords to scream. If you are an animal lover, you would probably feel sad to know that people boil lobsters alive. And you might think boiling them alive might make those lobsters scream. But that’s a myth because if a lobster was dead, it would still make those high-pitched sounds because of its shell.

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The tiny holes try to stop the air from escaping from the shell when it tries to do so. Apparently, when steam tries to escape from lobster shells, it creates a high-pitched whistle-like sound called lobster screams.

Do Lobsters Feel Pain?


There is much debate regarding whether or not lobsters can feel pain. Switzerland recently prohibited boiling lobsters because some scientists believe lobsters can feel pain. However, it is actually hard to tell whether invertebrates suffer or feel pain.

One research from British study says that lobsters can feel pain and can stay awake for up to three to four minutes while boiling in the pot. According to research by PETA published on another blog, a lobster can remain alive for 45 minutes after having its entire body dislocated. So, does that mean lobsters feel pain?

Lobsters don’t have the brain to feel pain. However, they suffer while being boiled in the pot. Like any other animal, the lobster will reflexively try to get out of the pot. Lobsters will respond to the heat of the boiling water, but that does not mean they are in pain.

Also See: Do Lobsters Have Blood? -Is it Colored or Colorless?

However, some animal rights activists argue that lobsters have a sufficient central nervous system to feel pain and suffer. There is not any solid evidence that lobsters can feel pain. They twitch their tail while boiling in hot water, resulting from a reflex. And the screaming sound is from their shell trying to release steam.

Why Do People Boil Lobsters Alive?

Now that you know people boil lobsters when they are alive, you will wonder why people boil lobsters alive. Since many centuries ago, lobsters have been cooked alive in boiling water. But if you have to kill every animal before cooking, why is it different for lobsters?

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Scientists have found that lobsters get attacked by Vibrio bacteria right after they are dead. And if it takes time to cook a dead lobster, you might get food poisoning from it. That’s why people boil lobsters alive.

Business Insider also reveals that cooking the lobster won’t kill the bacteria once the lobster is affected by the bacteria. This means keeping the lobsters fresh before cooking or serving them is important.

However, many countries have banned boiling lobsters alive. That’s why people use other alternatives to kill the lobster. But you have to cook them immediately to ensure their safety.


Do lobsters have brains?

Lobsters do not have brains, and they cannot feel pain. Similar to other crustaceans, lobsters have very simple nervous systems, which cannot feel pain or think properly.

Also See: How Do Lobsters Communicate? Secrets of Their Underwater Talk

The lobster’s nervous system is similar to other insects’ nervous systems. They can react to certain situations, but due to a lack of brain, they cannot think. Moreover, lobsters have ganglia, which is a cluster of nerves below the mouth.

Do lobsters sense the environment?

According to the executive director of the University of Maine’s Lobster Institute, lobsters can sense their environment. But they cannot process the pain. This means they know what’s going on around them, but they cannot feel the process of pain.

If lobsters didn’t sense the environment, they couldn’t catch prey and run from predators. Thus, they can sense the environment.

What is the most humane way to kill a lobster?

Instead of boiling lobsters alive, you can use an alternative way to kill a lobster. Electrical stunning is the most humane way to kill a lobster. By doing the electrical stunning, all of the nervous systems of the lobster shut down before death. After that, you can boil them or drown them in fresh water to kill them.

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Another way is to dislocate the lobster’s head from the body to shut down its nervous system. All you need to do is get a big knife and cut the lobster’s head. But sometimes lobsters can still be alive after dislocating them. That’s why electrical stunning is the most practical way to kill lobsters.


Whether lobsters scream or not, the noise that they make can be concerning. Thus, the common misconception is that lobsters scream. However, they couldn’t scream if they didn’t have vocal cords and lungs. So, it should go without saying that lobsters make noises rather than scream.

So, if you didn’t know these facts about lobsters, this blog might help you to do so.

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