Horrifying video shows giant Coconut Crab hunting and killing a seabird
Our fascination with the grizzly, other-worldly or else downright terrifying is as strong as it ever was.
We all love a monster, right up until the point that it eats us. Perhaps this is unsurprising; in a world of largely similar people living out their lives in relatively predictable fashion, the unusual should perhaps be expected to hold our attention more than the mundane.
Whether created through CGI for Hollywood blockbuster disaster movies, or genuine real life creatures like sharks and giant spiders, we are fascinated by the monstrous.
Programmes like the widely celebrated Blue Planet introduce us to some of the more bizarre creatures that reside with us on planet Earth, whether deep beneath the ocean's surface or else burrowed in some hard to detect hovel or another, waiting to pounce on unsuspecting pray.
It is into the latter category that the altogether terrifying Coconut Crab falls into; the creatures live in burrowed underground habitats or in the crevices of rocks. With no known predators other than humans and fellow Coconut Crabs, the creatures are strong and worthy adversaries themselves, and, to be frank, their appearance alone is startling enough for me to hope sincerely that I never meet one in the flesh.
Indeed, my fears about Coconut Crabs appear to have been confirmed as legit in recent days after an altogether horrifying video surfaced online that showed one of the creatures hunting and killing a seabird. Be warned; if you are easily upset then this footage is somewhat distressing.
Is that enough to put you off meeting one of these critters in the flesh for life? Well it should be.
The scene was captured by Dartmouth College's Mark Laidre, who was studying the crabs in the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean. Says the IB Times;
"Coconut crabs are said to be the largest land-living arthropods in the world. They can weigh up to 4kg and grow up to one metre wide and can be the largest animal in their environment. They are commonly found in coral atolls across the Indian and Pacific Oceans."
According to Wikipedia, the Coconut Crab's diet generally consists of "fruits, nuts, seeds, and the pith of fallen trees, but they will eat carrion and other organic matter opportunistically".
Recounting a separate story told to him by a witness back in 2014, Laidre says;
"An adult red-footed booby had landed near the entrance to a coconut crab's burrow.
"As the bird stood there, the crab slowly emerged from its underground lair, approaching the bird from behind. The crab then grabbed the bird by one leg and dragged it, struggling, back into its burrow."
Frankly, I'm struggling to think of a worse way for a poor unsuspecting bird to die, and I'm drawing a definite blank. For us humans, meanwhile, while the crabs have enough strength to cling on powerfully to us, it seems unlikely that we need to be concerned about any risk of death from the crabs. Fingers crossed, eh?