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Coconut Crab » Characteristics, Behaviour and Feeding

Without a doubt, among the rarest animals on the planet is the Coconut Crab, a crustacean known for its great fondness for coconuts, but whose scientific name is Birgus Lastro.

It is a species of hermit crab and is considered the largest crab on the planet, belonging to the family of Arthropods.

Characteristics of the Coconut Crab

This rare crustacean has a size from the tip of its head to the tip of its leg of 1m and weighs approximately 4Kg.

This is why even the famous researcher Charles Darwin described it as a real “monster”.

Its incredible physical composition allows it to transport weights that reach 30kg.

The body of the coconut crab is divided into a central section called cephalothorax made up of 10 legs and the abdomen.

Of these 10 legs, the first ones are made up of 2 large powerful pincers that are used to tear out and destroy the coconuts that are on top and then eat what they contain.

Also, after the tweezers, a pair of legs follow that are very powerful and that help him to climb to find his food.

Other pairs of legs that are very small compared to the others also follow.

These legs in adulthood help them to walk or jump. They also have tweezers at their ends which are generally used by the young when they are changing their shell and serve to secure the shell very well and thus feel more protected.

The fifth and last pair of extremities is very small so the young usually carry them inside their organs as it helps them with the cleaning of the organs related to breathing.

The coconut crab has red eyes while the color of its body can be red, blue, purple and even orange, this varies depending on the habitat where it is found.

Habits and Behavior

Although it remains and feeds on land and is classified as a land animal, this rare crustacean needs to have a constant relationship with the sea.

This is due to two reasons: salt water helps it to maintain its balance and it is fundamental for its reproduction, since the females release their eggs in it.

However, it cannot stay in the water for long, otherwise it would drown due to its evolutionary change in the respiratory system.

For her protection she makes her own burrows in sandy places as well as hiding places to take refuge from her predators. It only goes out to eat at night.

Although it looks rather intimidating, this rare animal is very docile. He only uses his huge pincers when he’s actually in danger. But even this is not enough to stop people being intimidated by his presence.

It can live from 40 to 60 years and mainly inhabits the Indigo Ocean, as well as the Pacific, Christmas Islands, Bay of Bengal and other places.

What do Coconut Crabs eat?

Although coconuts are an important part of your daily diet, it is not just this food that you are satisfied with.

To reach its enormous size, the coconut crab must eat almost everything within its reach: figs, leaves, rotting fruit and other organic matter.

In addition, part of their diet is made up of sea turtles as well as their eggs.

It also eats animal carcasses, rats, chickens, cats and any other animal it can devour with its fearsome pincers.

How does the Coconut Crab reproduce?

The courtship of most crabs is prolonged, but the courtship of this rare species is fast and not usually frequent.

Their mating takes place on land and lasts about 15 minutes. Male and female establish a fight until the male manages to dominate the female by turning her towards his back.

The female keeps in her abdomen the already fertilized eggs attached to 3 specialized appendages.

When the eggs are ready to hatch, the female walks to the shore where she releases them. They become larvae and remain floating in the sea for 28 days.

During this period they develop shells with which to protect themselves from predatory animals and then move ashore. They then moult and their skin hardens.

It has been proven that these crabs are slow growing but grow disproportionately due to their lifespan.

Endangered Coconut Crab

One of the main reasons why it is in danger of extinction is the increase in consumption of this species and the new countries that are implementing it.

On the other hand, the capture of females with eggs since these are considered “exquisite” is also a fundamental factor.

Not to mention the capture of sexually immature males that cannot reproduce.