Have you ever heard about the coconut crab, the largest land crustacean on Earth? These intimidating four-legged fiends are anything if not frightening. Weighing more than 4 kilograms, and able to reach lengths of approximately one meter from leg to leg, coconut crabs are what you may call the final link in the crab’s evolution.
Indigenous to the Pacific and Indian Oceans, these massive land crabs have often been associated with the most disturbing facts. And for a good reason, may we add. Although coconut crabs mainly eat stuff like seed, nuts, and tree pith, they wouldn’t say no to some tasty meat.
Coconut crabs are also very powerful. A recent study conducted in Japan has demonstrated that coconut crabs possess uncanny physical strength. Their massive pinchers can exert a force of over 3,000 Newtons, more than enough to crush a human skull like it was a dry piece of wood.
To see just how strong coconut crabs are, a professional boxer’s punch exerts a force of 2,200 Newtons, while a human chewing exerts a force of 800 newtons. No wonder that everyone steers clear of them.
Over the last couple of years, the scientific community has shown an increased interest towards these massive land crabs. According to the most recent research papers, it would seem that coconut crabs are related to hermit crabs, or, more accurately, were related to those crabs.
Scientists have argued that the two genera split apart approximately 2.1 million years ago, during the Pleistocene epoch. Furthermore, before the split took place, the coconut crab did not possess big pinchers and had a tough outer shell.
Are you interested in learning more about the coconut crab? Then here are some facts about them which you might find interesting.
- Coconut crabs are natural born climbers. They should be in order to reach those delicious coconuts.
- The coconut crab’s meat is considered a delicacy and an aphrodisiac.
- Coconut crabs spend their ‘free time’ hiding in burrows.
- While most coconut crustaceans are red, others are blue.
- They can live up to 40 to 60 years.
- Coconut crabs are also called robber crabs or palm thieves because they often steal food from each other. In addition, coconut crabs also have the habit of stealing shiny objects from people.
- Adult coconut crabs can eat tortoise offspring and rats.
- The largest concentration of coconut crabs has been reported in the Christmas Island.
Image source: Wikipedia