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The crabs of Christmas Island

The crabs of Christmas Island

My only experience with crabs has been Singaporean Chilli crabs that are in themselves worth travelling to Singapore for. My sister was a food critic and spent years finding the best chilli crab meal in Singapore and I've known many intimately.. but I digress...

Live, happy, wilderness-living crabs are also fabulous and the amazing red crabs' migration are what put Christmas Island on the Attenborough map of world wonders. CI has about a dozen land dwellers plus hundreds more intertidal and ocean crabs. They are not for eating, but it is a favoured past-time of mine to go crab-sniffing and find as many different species as I can.

An invaluable resource is the Christmas Island Crabs book that you can find online here 

You can also find more red crab facts through the national parks website here

The red crab migration occurs every year between October to December and while that makes it hard to plan a holiday, there are several opportunities to see the land covered in the red carpet of crabs. The first wave is the adult crabs moving from forest to ocean side burrows. The second wave is the male crabs returning to the forest. On a moonlit night the mother crabs enter the shallow tides to release their eggs. About a month later, the final migration of tiny, translucent baby crabs swarm from ocean the forest. Their pathway is direct, so any new buildings, cars or roads are simply new obstacles they have to climb.

A dramatic video of the red crab migration is on the National Geographic website here

Cocos Keeling Islands

Cocos Keeling Islands

Christmas Island

Christmas Island