I first saw pictures of the Coconut Crab when a boy in high school was going around trying to freak girls out in computer class by showing them this giant crab climbing into a trashcan (above). Little did he know that instead of being freaked out, I was absolutely AMAZED! I thought, “What the heck kind of weird animal is that?! … I must find out.” And so I did. I’ve been sitting on the knowledge of the Coconut Crab for quite some time now and it feels good to finally write about it myself.
The Coconut Crab is the largest living arthropod in the world and is most likely the upper limit of how big animals with exoskeletons can get in today’s atmosphere. There have been reports in literature of these weird animals growing to as large as 6 ft across the thorax and 30 pounds!
To get to it’s food, the coconut, the crab will climb up the palm tree and cut down a nut. If the coconut still has husk on it, the crab will use its claws to rip off strips, always beginning from the side with the three germination pores, the group of three small circles found on the outside of the coconut. Once the pores can be seen, the crab will bang its pincers on one of them until they break. Afterwards, it will turn around and use the smaller pincers on its other legs to pull out the white flesh of the coconut. Using their strong claws, larger individuals can even break the hard coconut into smaller pieces for easier consumption.
I think we have ourselves here a BAA – Bad. Ass. Animal.