Yes, those are live crabs on a Toronto subway train

A woman says a man took up several seats on a TTC subway train earlier this week with four live crabs.

'Leave your crabs in the bucket,' Toronto Transit Commission says

A woman says a man took up several TTC seats with crabs earlier this week. (@johnnyghicas/Twitter)

If there wasn't enough reason to be crabby on the TTC, images of a man taking up several seats on a crowded subway train earlier this week is stirring up a storm.

A Facebook post by TTC rider Kristine Hughes went viral Thursday, showing two crabs — each sitting in its own seat during Monday evening rush hour, on what she described as a "jam packed" train. 

Hughes shared her experience on CBC Radio's Here and Now.

It happened on a southbound Line 1 subway car, she said. 

"My friend and I see that there are a bunch of random seats that are opened and as we got closer, we saw there's crabs on each of the seats, and there's a man sitting there who put them all there," Hughes said.

"Everyone else is just sort of standing around staring, kind of taking pictures, but not really saying anything, just sort of watching the show."

Some passengers were eager to sit down and were not amused by the crabs, she said. 

"A [woman] walked by, thinking there was a free seat, saw the crabs, let out a small shocked scream, and kept walking," Hughes said in her post. "About 30 seconds later she comes storming back and became a real effing hero."

Hughes says the woman was livid and, well ... snapped, before "total chaos" unfolded. 

"She smacked each crab off the seats so hard that they landed in someone's lap and on another person's feet and stormed off," she said.

At that point, Hughes said the man "was definitely upset," calling out, "'That was crab assault, man! That's crab assault.'"

But undeterred, he simply picked the crabs up and put them back on their seats, she said. 

People have complained that they've gotten or seen crabs on the subway before, but not the crustacean type.- TTC spokesperson Brad Ross

TTC spokesperson Brad Ross says he has never seen an incident like this and isn't sure what's behind it. 

'Shellfish behaviour'

"People have complained that they've gotten or seen crabs on the subway before, but not the crustacean type," he quipped, adding that crabs absolutely don't belong on TTC seats. 

"We know that crabs do not belong on seats, they belong in buckets," he said. "Even if those crabs come with some hot drawn butter and a bib, you can't put crabs on a seat."

And for anyone who might argue that the crustaceans might be for "emotional support" or "therapy crabs," he said, they still shouldn't be occupying seats, calling that nothing less than "shellfish beviour."

On a serious note, Ross says, the TTC doesn't want to see altercations because people can't get a seat. He says there was a report of a confrontation over the crabs and adds there might also be concerns for people who are allergic to shellfish.

In case of a confrontation, he says, riders should use the emergency alarm or speak to a TTC uniformed officer if they feel uncomfortable on the subway.

"I'd like everybody to just get along," he added. "Leave your crabs in the bucket." 

Asked if police were looking into the incident, Toronto police spokesperson Gary Long said there's nothing criminal about bringing crabs on public transit and that they're not involved in any kind of investigation.

For her part, Hughes says the crabs top her list for unusual things she's seen on the TTC. 

"I feel like he was joking around, but he picked the wrong day and time for that," she added. "I don't think I'll ever see something quite like it again."

With files from Matt Llewellyn and Here and Now