The Giant Coconut Crab

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coconut crab

Image Credit: Rebecca Dominguez

I saw someone posting a picture about the Coconut Crab on twitter and decided to do a little research into the critters and share with my readers.

According to Wikipedia, the Giant Coconut crab is the largest land-living arthropod in the world and it inhabits the coastal forest regions of several Indo-Pacific islands. The crab is a type of hermit crab and is famous for its ability to crack coconuts with its strong pincers to eat the contents.

It is the only species in the Birgus genus and is also known as the robber crab or palm thief due to rumors about it stealing shiny objects like pots and pans.

The coconut crab starts off being born in a water environment and loses its ability to breathe water, and they have to find a suitable shell to inhabit and migrate into larger shells as they migrate to land. It is said that coconut crabs can even use broken coconut pieces as temporary shells until they develop a hardened abdomen.

Coconut crabs primary eat coconut, but are omnivorous and will eat tortoise hatchlings and dead animals. They will also steal food from each other and drag their food into burrows where they can eat safely.

coconutcrabCoconut crabs reportedly commony reach body lengths of 16 inches with 3 foot leg spans and weight around nine pounds, in some literature specimens were reported measuring 6 feet across and weighing 30 pounds. Coconut crabs are believed to be able to live more than thirty years.

This makes Coconut crabs one of the most interesting crabs in my opinion? What do you think?

-Justin Germino

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Updated: September 29, 2010 — 10:32 pm