In the war to unseat humanity as rulers of the animal kingdom, the main combatants are cephalopods, ravens, raccoons, and a new contender — coconut crabs.
Don’t be fooled by their endearing name — these crustaceans are the largest terrestrial invertebrates in the world, can weigh up to about 5 lbs, and can live to be 120 years old. In addition to old reports of coconut crabs strolling around Hawaiian neighborhoods, disturbing new video shows a coconut crab viciously attacking a bird. If giant, bloodthirsty land crabs don’t signal the apocalypse, I don’t know what does.
In the video, captured by Dartmouth College biologist Mark Laidre, a coconut crab can be clearly seen digging its claws into a red-footed booby. In new research published in Frontiers In Ecology And The Environment, Laidre describes the harrowing encounter while working in the Chagos Archipelago:
“On March 2, 2016, in the middle of the night, I observed a coconut crab attack and kill an adult red-footed booby. The booby had been sleeping on a low-lying branch, less than a meter up the tree. The crab slowly climbed up and grabbed the booby’s wing with its claw, breaking the bone and causing the booby to fall to the ground, where it was unable to fly. The crab then approached the bird, grabbing and breaking its other wing. The booby struggled and pecked at the crab, but the crab retained its grip with both claws, kicking at the bird with its ambulatory legs.”
Apparently, five more coconut crabs joined the party about 20 minutes later, probably because they smelled the booby’s blood.
“As the booby lay paralyzed, the crabs fought, eventually tearing the bird apart over several hours, carrying it away, and consuming it,” Laidre wrote, conjuring up some pleasant imagery.
Here’s the video, you sickos:
This is just the latest example of coconut crabs’ cruel and unusual behavior. These creatures have been known to feast on kittens, other coconut crabs, and according to one conspiracy theory, the body of Amelia Earthart.
By all accounts, coconut crabs could take on humanity. The one thing these giant crawlies have against them is they can’t breathe underwater, so they’re damned to stay on the islands on which they were born. Honestly, we better start making moats — fast.