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What color is Mr Krabs?


Mr. Krabs is a fictional character in the American animated television series SpongeBob SquarePants. He is the founder and owner of the Krusty Krab restaurant where SpongeBob works. Mr. Krabs’ distinctive reddish-brown color has led many fans to wonder – what exactly is his natural color?

Mr. Krabs’ Design and Creation

Mr. Krabs was created by marine biologist and animator Stephen Hillenburg. Hillenburg originally conceived Mr. Krabs and the other characters in 1984 for an educational book about undersea life. When creating the character, Hillenburg wanted Mr. Krabs to stand out from the other characters. He gave him a bright crimson red color to make him eye-catching and distinctive.

In the early concept sketches and models for Mr. Krabs, he had a vivid red hue. His color was chosen primarily for visual appeal rather than an attempt to mimic any real-world crustacean. The rich ruby tone fit Hillenburg’s vision for an alluring, charismatic character.

When SpongeBob SquarePants launched as a television series in 1999, the animators faithfully reproduced Mr. Krabs’ signature vermillion coloring. He has maintained this strong, saturated red pigmentation throughout his depictions in the show over the past two decades.

Mr. Krabs’ Species

Mr. Krabs is definitively a crab, although his species within that broad category is never specified. Some fans believe he is a red rock crab or a Dungeness crab based on his large front claws and wide carapace. However, his physiognomy does not exactly match any real-world crab species.

As an anthropomorphic animated character, Mr. Krabs was designed primarily for comic effect rather than biological accuracy. He has cartoonish, exaggerated features like oversized limbs and eyes that allow a wide range of expressive motions. So while he has crab-like attributes, he is not intended to precisely mimic any extant crustacean.

Given Mr. Krabs’ lack of adherence to real crab anatomy, it is difficult to compare his coloration to any specific species. His hue was chosen for style and vibrancy rather than naturalism. However, it does generally resemble the rich reddish-brown tones found in certain crab varieties like Tasmanian giant crabs, snow crabs, and red rock crabs.

Symbolic Meaning of Mr. Krabs’ Color

Beyond aesthetics, Mr. Krabs’ crimson pigment carries symbolic connotations about his personality and character traits.

Red is commonly associated with intense emotions like anger and passion. Appropriately, Mr. Krabs has a fierce temper and is quick to explode with rage when provoked. His crimson color visually conveys his hotheadedness.

Red can also signify danger, power, and aggression. As a tough sailor and shrewd businessman, Mr. Krabs has an imposing presence and ruthlessly defends his interests. The bold sanguine shade matches his sturdy physique and domineering behavior.

Additionally, red represents confidence, ambition, and drive. Mr. Krabs is assertive, tenacious, and highly motivated by greed and profits. His vivid scarlet shell signals his relentless determination.

Through these symbolic meanings, Mr. Krabs’ signature vermillion pigmentation reflects core aspects of his personality that make him such an iconic, compelling character.

Mr. Krabs’ Coloring in Other Media

While Mr. Krabs’ primary color palette is defined by his crimson carapace, he incorporates more diverse hues through his clothing and other attributes.

In various SpongeBob media, Mr. Krabs wears a light purple sailor’s shirt and matching purple trousers. This dash of lavender contrasts nicely with his scarlet shell.

Mr. Krabs also sports black leather sailor boots and a peaked captain’s hat with a blue band. The interplay between the warm red tones and cool blue-black accessories creates a bold, eye-catching color profile.

When computer-animated rather than hand-drawn, Mr. Krabs’ exoskeleton often has a more realistically variegated look. It shifts from bright true red to deeper burgundy tones, incorporating nuances of purple and brown. This adds organic complexity and depth to his form.

Mr. Krabs’ claws are given an ivory hue in many depictions, distinguishing them from the rich red of his carapace. This highlights their curvature and movement.

Overall, while Mr. Krabs’ core red color remains constant, the creative use of complementary hues and naturalistic textures in other Media adds further visual flair and dynamism to his design.


In summary, Mr. Krabs’ distinctive crimson color is not meant to reflect any particular real-world crab species. Rather, it was chosen by the show’s creators for symbolic character reasons and to make Mr. Krabs eye-catching and memorable.

The specific red hue evokes Mr. Krabs’ hot temper, powerful presence, and tenacious drive. It is core to his identity and has endured throughout SpongeBob SquarePants’ long run. Even as computer animation adds more realism and dimension to Mr. Krabs’ appearance, his trademark vermillion shell remains his defining visual characteristic.

So while Mr. Krabs does not have an exact real-life color equivalent, the richness of his saturated red coloration captures the essence of his larger-than-life personality. When fans see that brilliant crimson carapace, they instantly recognize the formidable, money-loving Mr. Krabs!

Media Mr. Krabs’ Primary Colors Mr. Krabs’ Complementary Colors
Original hand-drawn SpongeBob animation Vivid red carapace Purple sailor shirt; Blue hat band; Black boots
Computer-animated SpongeBob productions Rich red to deep burgundy exoskeleton Naturalistic ivory claws; Purple, blue, black accents
SpongeBob Broadway musical Bright crimson costume and makeup Navy blue sailor suit; Brown and tan textured accents

The Symbolic Meaning of Red

Red Trait Mr Krabs Characteristics
Anger, rage Hot temper, explosive outbursts
Power, danger Tough sailor physique, imposing presence
Aggression Ruthless business tactics
Confidence Assertive, self-assured attitude
Drive, ambition Greedy, profit-motivated

Details from Early Mr. Krabs Concept Art

Design Element Description
Carapace color Solid vivid red
Eye style Large and round with pupils
Body shape Oval torso, large front claws, 6 small legs
Pose Upright, claws raised
Expression Wide excited grin
Accessories Pirate hat, black boots, anchor tattoo

Possible Real-Life Inspirations for Mr. Krabs’ Color

Crab Species Color Tones
Red rock crab Rich solid red hues
Tasmanian giant crab Deep brownish reds
Snow crab Fiery reddish-orange
Dungeness crab Purplish-red tones