Crabs of Christmas Island - Christmas Island Territory, Australia
It wasn’t until a few years after the 1903 extinction of the predatory endemic species, the Maclear’s Rat, that the people of Christmas Island started to experience what has developed into a yearly phenomenon of great awe and inconvenience – being directly in the migration path of millions of red crabs. Who is more inconvenienced, the islanders or the crabs, is hard to say. Either way, for the amount of time it takes for the army of decapods to march to their mating grounds, the island belongs to them.
Every year in the fall, Christmas Island is overcome by a scarlet wave of migrating crustaceans, on a mad dash from the forest to the sea. Terrestrial crabs that are unique to this area, their little red crablings must be born in the ocean or they will not survive. As soon as the humidity is just right, around October or November, they swarm over the island, across roads, through homes and schools, under every foot, every tire, inside unattended shoes and covering every surface available, all 100 million of them, give or take.
But they’re in danger! Keep reading for more about the Crabs of Christmas Island on Atlas Obscura…