It’s okay to admit that nature kind of gives you the creeps on occasion. In fact, that’s actually a compliment to the evolutionary process some wildlife have gone through. Looks can go a long way in the animal kingdom, so it never hurts to have a bit of a freaky vibe out in the wild. If nothing else at least it might help scare humans away, and that’s never a bad thing.
It would be a short list of individuals who would want to cross paths with anything branded a goliath birdeater (it’s big and it eats things that breath -run!) or gharial (a moniker that sounds like it’s an evil minion from a Tolkien book). Both of those examples you generally should avoid crossing paths with, but then you have the other end of the scale with the coconut crab.
Coconut – who doesn’t love them? And crab – people eat those all the time. In this case, the name doesn’t do the sheer destructive force capable of this crustacean known in the scientific community as Birgus latro.
Coconut crabs, native to islands scattered across the Indian and Pacific oceans, live primarily on land. They also have a lifespan as long as humans, and as their name suggests they have a thing for coconuts. In order break the hard shell of a coconut and consume the innards, the largest terrestrial arthropod on the planet has developed two specialized pincers.
One acts like razor-sharp scissors for slicing and dicing while the other is all about smashing anything and everything, Hulk-style. When it comes to their predators, the coconut crab have only themselves and humans to fear. Besides coconuts, they’ll eat fruits and leaves, plus whatever injured animals they come across.
On top of this, coconut crabs have forged themselves a place in the folklore surrounding the disappearance of pilot Amelia Earhart in 1937. Skeletal remains were found on Nikumaroro Island, a location briefly investigated by the U.S. Navy as the crash site of Earhart’s plane when it picked up distress signals from the area.
Navy planes did a fly-by but saw nothing out of the ordinary. Three years later human remains were found, and the theory was put forth that coconut crabs had come across either an already deceased or severely wounded Earhart and eaten her, dragging her bones around in the process. However, nothing has been proven but this: coconut crabs, like many of nature’s creatures, have a nasty streak to match their appearance.
Story by Jay Moon