Kw-halloween-logo-small

Wild Things: Red Crabs on Christmas Island

Red crabs aren't all red - they can be orange and purple.
Red Crabs
Red crabs mate in the ocean.
Red Crabs
After mating the males head home and the females stick around.
Red Crabs

If you've heard of Christmas Island (an island in the Indian Ocean and part of Australia) then you've probably heard about the millions of land crabs that live there. The climate is tropical and seems like a rainforest - perfect living conditions for the red crab.


Of the 14 species of land crabs on Christmas Island, the most noticeable is the red crab. Not all red crabs are red. There are the occasional orange ones and the rare purple crabs. An adult shell can grow to 11.6 cm (4.5 inches) across. Their claws are usually about the same size, although females have smaller claws than males. From claw tip to claw tip, these guys are about the size of a dinner plate.


If you have a fear of being surrounded by small animals like spiders or rats, Christmas Island in December is the place to overcome this fear. At the first rains of the wet season (December) about 120 million crabs come out of hiding and start heading towards the ocean. That's right, 120 million. To get there, they have to pass through town, across roads, through jungles and down a cliff. People find crabs all over their lawns, on their driveways and even in their houses. Up to a million crabs don't make it across the roads. Because they completely cover the roads, locals just run over them. Remember those big claws? Well some crabs get back at the drivers by piercing the tire of the passing car with their large, sharp claws.


The crabs that survive the week long trip to the ocean dip themselves in the water and then head into the closest woods where they will mate with females. After mating, the females hang out in the woods for two weeks while the males make the same journey back to the forest. Two weeks later the females lay about 100,000 eggs each, in the water. After a month, baby crabs about the size of a fingernail come out of the water and start the same journey their parents made through town and into the forest. Pretty impressive considering they've never been there before and don't have road maps!


There are so many baby crabs making the trip back to the forest, they look like a giant red blanket, except the blanket is moving quickly. The crabs travel more than 300 feet an hour trying to prevent dehydration in the scorching sun. Locals help them out by scooping up buckets full of crabs from roads and blocked drains. By sundown most of the babies have completed the treacherous journey. Three to four years later the crabs join the mass migration and keep doing it for the rest of their lives, about 10 years.


If you're a local, millions of crabs on your lawn, in your house and covering the roads wouldn't make you blink an eye. It's just something that happens every year. Surprisingly none of the Christmas Island residents want to get rid of the crabs. They actually consider it a privilege to witness or assist this great natural event. You might also think people would put a few in a pot for dinner. Not so. Red crabs aren't the kind of crabs you get at a seafood restaurant. They aren't edible.


Even if you can't eat them, it's definitely worth dropping by Christmas Island in December or January to watch a blanket of Red crabs migrate to the ocean and back - just be sure to wear boots.


Have you been to Christmas Island? Does the thought of being surrounded by 120 million crabs send shivers down your spine?


Related Stories
>
>

readers voted!

Comments

choco queen

choco queen wrote:

crabs!!!!!!!!
commented: Fri Jan 10, 2014

miz-wolf1

miz-wolf1 wrote:

It would be so cool if you could go crab surfing on the crabs... :D
commented: Mon Oct 07, 2013

da_man19

da_man19 wrote:

cool
commented: Fri Apr 26, 2013

there are 10 more comments

Please login or register to add comments


like this article?
Sign up now to get more just like!

latest videos

F991440882468

What Phobia Do You Have?

  • Ablutophobia - fear of washing or bathing.
  • Cnidophobia - fear of stings.
  • Insectophobia - fear of instects.
  • Pteronophobia - fear of being tickled by feathers.

related stories

We've been hearing a lot about stingrays ever since Steve Irwin was killed by one. We take a look...
There have been TV shows, movies and even a football team dedicated to dolphins. From Flipper to ...
Many animals on the endangered species list are there because of lost habitat or pollution. Read ...
Some of the most impressive facts about the Galapagos Giant Tortoise is that they keep growing fo...

Random in the forums

shubhanshu12
shubhanshu12 posted in Debating:
Ummm....no i agree with GlimmeringSky16 :)
reply 7 minutes
GlimmeringSky16
Let's hear your opinion* (: sorry, i had to. anyways. No. I don't think they should be banned or not allowed because it's really up to the people who produce it, they get to decide the content of their productions. And the listeners have all the control over what they wanna hear so. Some people may like it, others may not. common sense c;
reply 11 minutes
CottonCandy21
CottonCandy21 posted in General:
Haha how do I prove I'm crazy let's see here this one time I was n the mall and stood on the bench and yelled PINK FLUFFY UNICORNS DANCING ON RAINBOWS haha it was fun!!!!!❤️⛄️
reply 33 minutes
-Karpov-
-Karpov- posted in Debating:
Censorship is typically wrong because it stifles artistic mediums and there's usually no reason for those things not to be made. The exceptions are snuff films and any other things like it.
reply about 1 hour
CottonCandy21
CottonCandy21 posted in Debating:
No because some of them are really good
reply about 1 hour

play online games

Candy-100

A great online version of the famous Candy Crush. This is the best game launched...

Big_icon_(7)

Have you ever fancied being a ranger like those fantasy characters you love so m...

Big_icon_(4)

You run across the city in a car chase with the police officers.

Big_icon_(6)

The evil master kidnapped all of your friends!

Ow_fright_ad_100x100

Explore the world or hang out with friends in your own condo. Get a unique look,...