St. John Virgin Islands Stories: The Crab

The following story was told to me by a young doctor who used to practice in St. John here in the Virgin Islands:

One fine afternoon a man was taking a swim at Trunk Bay when, all of a sudden, he felt something go inside his ear. He swam to shore, stood on the sandy beach and tried to get it out.

He used all the everyday remedies that people use for this sort of problem. He tapped on the opposite side of his head with his hand. He jumped up and down while tilting his head to one side. He put his finger in his ear. All to no avail.

The feeling that the man had in his ear was causing him a great deal of discomfort. He could hear a kind of buzzing or scratching, and he had the distinct feeling that something was moving about in his inner ear.  He felt dizzy and nauseous. The man decided to seek medical attention and drove himself to the clinic.

The sensation the man was feeling became more and more disturbing, and by the time he was finally able to see the doctor, he was beside himself with nervousness and worry. His agitation had increased to such a degree that the attending physician was inwardly debating whether or not to sedate his nervous patient. He decided not to, and began his examination which quickly revealed the source of the problem; a small crab had taken refuge in the patient’s ear.

Now  those of you that like to swim at our  beautiful beaches must understand  that crabs don’t usually swim in people’s ears. It is, in fact, extremely rare, but this is exactly what happened to this unfortunate individual.

The knowledge of what was causing the problem did not serve to alleviate the man’s anxiety; it actually increased it. He began to plead with the doctor to “Please, please, hurry up and GET THAT CRAB OUT OF MY EAR!!!”

The doctor got to work. Armed with magnifying glasses, a special light and a medical tweezers he fished about in the man’s ear for the little crab. The patient squirmed, and the doctor exhorted him to “SIT?STILL!!” and, after what seemed like an eternity to the patient, the doctor was successful in removing the crustacean intruder.

“I’ve got it!” said the doctor.

“THANK GOD!” exclaimed his grateful patient.

“And here’s the culprit” said the doctor, as he put the captured crab on his hand and brought it into view for the man to see.

At this point something quite unexpected occurred. The crab did not hesitate for one moment. Just as soon as it was released from the grip of the tweezers, it jumped off the doctors hand, scurried up the man’s arm and leapt right back into his ear!

“What happened?”cried the man.


After another fifteen minutes of crab hunting, and apologizing profusely to an extremely upset man, the doctor was finally able to recapture the crab.

This time he did not give it a second opportunity to escape.

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3 thoughts on “St. John Virgin Islands Stories: The Crab”

  1. Now that’s just gross!… Having had a small crab bite my toes in the surf at Myrtle Beach as a kid, I am not a big fan of these little monsters, unless dripping with melted butter ;o)

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