Meadows became interested in the behaviour of crabs while stationed on the Cocos Islands in the South Indian Ocean during the Second World War. This sculpture, he explained, represented 'the distillation or essence of crabness'. British sculpture in the early 1950s often adopted the forms of aggressive or wounded animals, insects or birds. The critic Herbert Read associated such figures with a mood of post-war anxiety. He used a quotation from TS Eliot to characterise them as 'images of ragged claws scuttling across the floors of silent seas...'