At first glance, these monstrous crustaceans are VERY scary-looking and you have all the right to feel a little on edge when seeing a gigantic crab that stretches over three feet long. They can carry more than six times their own weight, eat
birds, break bones and have claws that can tear a coconut apart.
Can you imagine the kind of power needed to crack open a coconut?
According to a recent study by Mark Laidre, National Geographic Explorer and an assistant professor of biological sciences at Dartmouth College, it was found that a Coconut Crab can produce up to 1,500 newtons of force – far more than any other member of the animal kingdom.
They truly are a sight to behold and in Raja Ampat they can be found either dangling from coconut trees, holding on for hours with their strong pinchers or eating its dinner in a burrow at the root of a tree.
Watch out for falling coconut crabs
If you think the only thing you have to be worried about when walking under trees in Raja Ampat is falling coconuts, you are wrong – coconut crabs climb to the top of these trees to knock the coconuts down to the ground, whilst some even prefer free-falling instead of making the trip back down the tree.
But their numbers are dwindling, and little is really known about these majestic terrestrial invertebrates. We do know that they can live up to 60 years and is found to be part of the few creatures who self-cannibalise and even eat its own exoskeleton after shedding it.
Coconut Crabs do not have any predators beside themselves and humans and it has been customary to hunt and eat these crabs. It is not only locals who consider them to be a delicacy, but restaurants all over the world. Their total population is yet to be calculated by researchers who have categorised them as “Data Deficient” and they need to be protected in order for us to better understand their role within its habitat. At Meridian Adventure Dive we are fully committed to the environment and deeply invested in bringing education and communication to not only the tourists who visit the area but the local people.
Come visit us in Raja Ampat and learn more about the islands biggest crab!