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The Christmas Island Red Crabs
February 8, 2007 3:38 PM   Subscribe

Christmas Island sits just northwest of Australia, and is the perfect place to go if you're trying to get over a fear of being surrounded by small animals. Every November/December about 120 million Red Crabs make their annual migration to the ocean to mate and spawn. The masses of crabs cover some routes so densely that they can be seen from the air.
posted by debralee (47 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
I have decided these crabs are dicks.

Fuck you crabs!
posted by Senor Cardgage at 3:40 PM on February 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


A big pot, some old bay and a hammer.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 3:57 PM on February 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


I respect the lengths that the Christmas Islanders have gone to in reducing the human impact on the Red Crab population during this most dangerous part of their lifecycle.

I'm also really hungry for seafood now.
posted by lekvar at 3:59 PM on February 8, 2007


Oh, to be a Vogon!
posted by sourwookie at 4:04 PM on February 8, 2007


With some minor modifications to a Snow Blower (and a dozen lemons) I could start a delivery service.
posted by hal9k at 4:05 PM on February 8, 2007


I don't see any jewels on those carbs, sourwookie.
posted by lekvar at 4:05 PM on February 8, 2007


Crabs. Jewels on the crabs.

I blame the hunger.
posted by lekvar at 4:05 PM on February 8, 2007


I'm not sure I'd want to go anywhere where even the giant Robber Crabs are no match for the Yellow Crazy Ant invasion.
posted by jimmythefish at 4:08 PM on February 8, 2007


"Um ... I'm gonna have to call you back."
posted by itchylick at 4:08 PM on February 8, 2007


AHHHHH AHHHHHHHHHH AHHHHH RUN AHHHHH QUICK PASS THE MELTED BUTTER AND LEMON JUICE
posted by loquacious at 4:10 PM on February 8, 2007


No kidding, jimmythefish.
posted by cgc373 at 4:13 PM on February 8, 2007


Christmas Island was home to a series of nuclear tests (pics) in 1962.

/These are not the presents you're looking for.
posted by pruner at 4:15 PM on February 8, 2007


Thanks for the nightmare fuel.
posted by Cyrano at 4:19 PM on February 8, 2007


Wrong Christmas Island. The nuclear tests were in the Pacific. This Christmas Island is an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean.
posted by achilles_hunt at 4:20 PM on February 8, 2007


Radioactive crabs and mutant ants. They'll fit right in.

/crazy Australian animals
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:22 PM on February 8, 2007


Perpetually crabby writer Paul Theroux on Christmas Island.

How's that for Meta?
posted by william_boot at 4:22 PM on February 8, 2007


Wrong Christmas Island.

oops... sorry for the confusion.
posted by pruner at 4:24 PM on February 8, 2007


I once lived in a town that went thru a similarly overwhelming yearly migration, but ours was of spiders, so nowhere near as appetizing, well not to me anyways.
posted by nomisxid at 4:24 PM on February 8, 2007


But if you're looking for nefarious activity on this Christmas Island - it was excised from Austrlia's migration zone soon after the government refused to land rescued asylum seekers picked up by the MV Tampa. The govt later (falsely) claimed another boatload of asylum seekers threw their children overboard...
posted by achilles_hunt at 4:25 PM on February 8, 2007


Why does the "christmas island" main link go immediately to the stuff about crabs? Am I to believe the island is populated by nothing but swarms of crabs?
posted by tehloki at 4:28 PM on February 8, 2007


I am very disappointed that the photos on Google Maps do not seem to have been taken during the crab migration.
posted by Guy Smiley at 4:28 PM on February 8, 2007


Wrong Christmas Island.

Double plus oops.

(Still, it's a good piece.)
posted by william_boot at 4:28 PM on February 8, 2007


Am I to believe the island is populated by nothing but swarms of crabs?

Only if you want to live...
posted by jimmythefish at 4:29 PM on February 8, 2007


"Christmas Island" is the most annoying Christmas song ever.
posted by Violet Hour at 4:31 PM on February 8, 2007


The baby red crabs?

Not adorable!
posted by mr_roboto at 4:42 PM on February 8, 2007


This is all well and good?

BUT ARE THEY EDIBLE!
posted by gergtreble at 5:16 PM on February 8, 2007


Am I to understand that this is somehow a different Christmas Island from the one made famous by Goatse.cx?

No, same one.
posted by grobstein at 5:17 PM on February 8, 2007


Okay, so Christmas Island is a good place to take your Katamari for the holidays.
posted by aubilenon at 5:20 PM on February 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


Radioactive crabs and mutant ants. They'll fit right in.
Maybe not mutant ants but super-colonies of yellow crazy ants that spray acid.
posted by tellurian at 5:29 PM on February 8, 2007


Incorrect, the baby red crabs are completely adorable.
posted by quartzcity at 5:30 PM on February 8, 2007


The link that I thought would go to an aerial shot of the migration seems to go to a map showing where the island is instead. Is that what was intended?
posted by teleskiving at 5:43 PM on February 8, 2007


Does anyone else have a problem with the home of the .cx domain and the word "crabs" being in the same thought? Because that all just gave me the kind of flashbacks that couldn't be solved by all the thorazine in the world.
posted by illiad at 5:57 PM on February 8, 2007


That video clip is excellent.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 6:16 PM on February 8, 2007


Something else cool about Christmas island, the population there is mainly Chinese due to settlement while under UK and Singaporean control. This makes Christmas Island, and the nearby Cocos (Keeling) Islands, the only majority Asian-language-speaking (and in the Cocos Islands case, Sunni Muslim) landmasses in Australia's diminutive empire.
posted by claudius at 6:36 PM on February 8, 2007


I think that the crabs are absolutely fucking adorable.

Perhaps I'm the only one.. but I'll say it again. The crabs are CUTE.

I am greatly amused by marine life.
posted by drstein at 6:40 PM on February 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


I believe there's a sequence (or sequences, can't remember) in Werner Herzog's underrated "Invincible" that was shot during crab time on Christmas Island.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 7:00 PM on February 8, 2007


Do you have anything in, like, a 55-gallon drum size?
posted by steef at 7:41 PM on February 8, 2007


That? That's a lot of crabs.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:22 PM on February 8, 2007


"crabs have a highly visible presence during migration" (pic near bottom of link)

I imagine they also make a pretty unforgettable crunchy sound beneath the wheels of those cars driving along. After a couple of days, I the smell thereabouts wouldn't be the nicest in the world, either.

That level of grossness is way too high to be compensated for by being able to reach just outside your front door for a tasty dinner of friendly crustaceans.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:08 PM on February 8, 2007


I imagine they also make a pretty unforgettable crunchy sound beneath the wheels of those cars driving along. After a couple of days, I the smell thereabouts wouldn't be the nicest in the world, either.

During peak migration times, sections of roads where crabs cross in high numbers may be closed to vehicles for short periods of time. It is then possible to park the vehicle and carefully walk amongst this moving seas of crabs as they relentlessly make their way to and from the shore.

- from your link
posted by pruner at 10:27 PM on February 8, 2007


Oh, so those cars on the road are *parked*?

Now I see.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:31 PM on February 8, 2007


I'd love to see this migration, or, even more, the baby crabs. I once was in a place on Long Island where there were so many little crabs moving towards the water one could hear them. Totally awesome.

I have land crabs in my garden here. I've often wondered if they migrate to the water, about 40 meters down and an estuary about half-mile away. One crab has dug a nice lair in one terrace, but I wonder if he's stranded. Occasionally I have to rescue crabs that fall in the pool. They never seem any the worse for wear, but it can't be too healthy.
posted by Goofyy at 11:02 PM on February 8, 2007


Alas, they are not edible: Surprisingly none of the Christmas Island residents want to get rid of the crabs. They actually consider it a privilege to witness or assist this great natural event. You might also think people would put a few in a pot for dinner. Not so. Red crabs aren't the kind of crabs you get at a seafood restaurant. They aren't edible.
posted by Rubber Soul at 12:34 AM on February 9, 2007


I've been there a couple of times, although not at the peak of the migration. The crabs are one of many weird things about the place.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 1:31 AM on February 9, 2007


I'm glad I'm not the only one who immediately associates Christmas Island with Goatse. That's so funny.
posted by First Post at 1:51 AM on February 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Aaieee, red crabs!
posted by bwg at 4:11 AM on February 9, 2007


There's a song about Christmas Island and now I have it stuck in my head.

"How'd you like to spend Christmas on Christmas Island? How'd you like to hang your stocking on a great big coconut treeeeeeeeeeeee? Something something Santa with your presents in a canoe!"

(on preview: VioletHour has already mentioned it. Though I find it somewhat endearing as opposed to annoying, but I was exposed to it at an early age. Maybe that innoculated me against the annoyance? Who knows.)

Right.

Anyhow, what I learned from the last link: all crab researchers have beards. Coincidence?
posted by grapefruitmoon at 1:52 AM on February 10, 2007


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