These crabs can grow up to 3 feet — and hunt birds, a biologist’s video proves

Sunday, 12 November 2017, 08:57:49 AM. There’s a theory that giant crabs overwhelmed Amelia Earhart, dismembered her and carried her bones underground.
There’s a theory that giant crabs overwhelmed Amelia Earhart, dismembered her and carried her bones underground. Speculative, at best. Sounds crazy, we know. But so has almost every other horrifying rumor about the so-called coconut crabs – until science inevitably proves them true. They grow to the size of dogs. They climb trees, and tear through solid matter with claws nearly as strong as a lion’s jaws. And now, finally, we have video evidence that the crabs – thousands strong on one island – can scale trees and hunt full-grown birds in their nests. “It would at first be thought quite impossible for a crab to open a strong cocoa-nut,” Charles Darwin once wrote, as that father of evolutionary biology recounted stories of a “monstrous” arthropod said to roam an island in the Indian Ocean. “The crab begins by tearing the husk, fibre by fibre, and always from that end under which the three eye-holes are situated,” Darwin wrote. “When this is completed, the crab commences hammering with its heavy claws on one of the eye-holes till an opening is made.” But Darwin would go no further than that. The genius who championed life’s endless forms gave no credence to reports that these fierce giant crabs could also climb trees. In the decades to come, of course, coconut crabs would be photographed not only climbing trees but hanging from them like enormous hard-shell spiders. Researchers in our own century once left them a small pig carcass to see what would happen, Smithsonian Magazine...Read more
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