Mantis Shrimp Hits Angler With World’s Strongest Punch (Video)

Or, “That one time I got my ass kicked by a shrimp”

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Mark Twain said, “It isn’t the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” The same could be said for mantis shrimp, also known as “thumb-splitters,” a family of crustaceans that pack a truly incredible punch. Mark McCracken of the Mr. Markus YouTube channel got a personal demonstration when one struck his foot while kayak fishing. The wound certainly looks painful, but he was fortunate to avoid taking damage to even more sensitive spots.

Mantis Shrimp are Nature’s Heavy Hitters

This isn’t the first shrimp McCracken has caught, but it’s the first to fight back. The colorful crustacean begins to writhe as he removes the hook, then seizes a foot and punches through his brand-new bootie and the flesh underneath. “That’s proof right there of the power…of the freaking mantis shrimp,” McCracken groans as he surveys the damage to his foot. “Oh my gosh, they were not joking!”

YouTuber Mr. Markus is hit by a mantis shrimp while kayak fishing
Small mantis shrimp packs quite the punch. | Image: Mr. Markus/YouTube

Indeed, they weren’t. Mantis shrimp use a specialized set of raptorial appendages to club or spear their prey, allowing them to easily crack hard shells and spear soft flesh. They strike at speeds of 75 feet per second, producing a punishing underwater shockwave that can also stun or kill. Guinness World Records has recognized mantis shrimp as possessing the strongest self-powered punch in the animal kingdom, landing with a force “some 100 times that of its weight.”

Luckily Not a Knockout Blow

His foot “does not feel good at all” as blood drips all over, but McCracken takes the time to chastise the shrimp before heading home. “Holy crap, you’re crazy dude! You are crazy!” One commenter notes that the shrimp displays a lot of “I’m not trapped in here with you; you’re trapped in here with me!!!” energy.

The video ends before McCracken reaches shore, but presumably he is safe and on the mend. The bright side? Mantis shrimp is delicious—more like lobster than other shrimp—when steamed, boiled or grilled, so our host may have the last laugh after all.


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