Is Sebastian from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” a Lobster or a Crab?

This weekend, Megan and I were discussing different types of mermaids, and naturally Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” came up. We were listing Ariel’s various friends in the movie, and I said something to the effect of, “How about the lobster, Sebastian?”

Megan looked at my quizzically. “You mean Sebastian the crab?”

“I’m pretty sure he’s a lobster.” Even as I said that, I was starting to doubt myself.

We went back and forth like this for a while, and eventually we Googled it. Turns out there’s quite a debate on the internet about Sebastian, including some confusion by Disney itself. Here’s a line from a fan website for The Little Mermaid:

According to the Disney website, official novelization and Disney-sanctioned reference material, Sebastian is a lobster. Controvery remains over Sebastian’s species due to Sebastian stating he himself is a crab, as well as Chef Louis indicating as such. In The Little Mermaid TV series, he is also referred to as a crab.

The primary reasons I view Sebastian as a lobster is the protruding head, the long body, and the lack of back claws (opposed to a crab, which doesn’t really have a head at all, has a round body, and has distinct back claws).

As a reminder, here’s a lobster:


I can also see the case for the crab, though, mostly because Sebastian doesn’t have whiskers or a tail.

As a reminder, here’s a crab:


In the end, Sesbastian seems to identify himself as a crab, and I respect his decision. Strictly in terms of art, though, I think he’s more lobster than crab. What do you think?

25 thoughts on “Is Sebastian from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” a Lobster or a Crab?”

  1. His claws are symmetrical, and he’s red. Most lobsters are only red when cooked. And their claws are asymmetrical – one is a snipper and one is a crusher. I vote crab.

  2. Back claws? Lol those are swimming appendages (called swimerets or pleopods) and not all crabs have them developed them… Sebastian is a type of crab (which come in many more varieties, shapes and sizes than lobsters do – over 6000, whereas there are less than 100 lobster species). Lobsters always have the distinctive tail which Sebastian does not have – Lobsters actually have 3 sets of pincers but 2 of the sets are much smaller. The first set of pincers on lobsters are always asymetrical. He can’t be a lobster and is much more likely to be a type of crab.

  3. Lobsters don’t come outta their shell- some crabs can- he did. End of story- Disney is confused, so it doesn’t matter what they say. Lol

  4. I think we should accept that he may be a lobster however he identifies as a crab. If he feels he is a crab we should accept that. Who are we to judge what goes in inside closed shells 🐚 🤔

  5. I think Sebastian is a crab since he does not have a whisker or a tail which lobsters have, but he has a head. Crabs have heads but those heads are not like Sebastian’s head. Crabs have just eyes in their shells.
    Here is a crab: 🦀
    Here is a lobster: 🦞
    Generally, Lobsters claws are bigger than crabs claws.
    Most of the crabs walk sideways but lobsters walk straight.
    Some crab species live on land all the time but lobsters mostly stay in water.
    Crabs generally have a round shaped body but lobsters body is narrow and straight.
    Whatever it is but both crabs and lobsters are crustaceans.
    Thanks, Jon Anthony


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