The Most Spectacular Migration on Earth: The Red Crabs of Christmas Island (Video)

Christmas Island is a sparsely populated island in the Indian ocean that is a territory of Australia. Every year, one of the planet's most breathtaking migrations, the Christmas Island red crab exodus is a natural phenomenon that continues to astonish. This is when the beautiful crustaceans make their yearly journey toward the sea.

Described as an amazing time for photographers, nature lovers and travel enthusiasts alike, the Christmas Island migration involves the movement of millions of vividly colored crabs as they leave their homes on land to breed and release eggs into the sea. The synchronized migration resembles a crimson-colored river moving across the island for up to 18 days.

This migration usually begins at the start of the wet season in October or November, although sometimes unfavorable weather conditions can lead to a delay in the crab exodus. The red crab migration becomes a huge event for everyone on Christmas Island. The staff of the federal park agency go through great lengths to help the crustaceans on their journey. This involves setting up an elaborate network of fences and other infrastructure to ensure the animals reach their destination without encountering any harm.

Still, despite all the efforts of humans, there is an increasing number of red crabs that are dying during their annual migration.

According to the Island's website, "As well as there being a greater risk of crabs dehydrating when forced to cross areas cleared of forest cover, thousands of adults and young are crushed by vehicles while crossing roads. Some have to negotiate up to three or four such hazards on their descent and ascent each year. Conservation measures have been implemented to help reduce this high death toll."

Watch the video below to see this wonderful spectacle of the Red Crab migration.

The Christmas Island red crab -

The Christmas Island red crab, Gecarcoidea natalis, is a species of land crab that is endemic to Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the Indian Ocean. Although restricted to a relatively small area, it has been estimated that 43.7 million adult red crabs lived on Christmas Island alone, but the accidental introduction of the yellow crazy ant is believed to have killed about 10–15 million of these in recent years. Christmas Island red crabs eat mostly fallen leaves and flowers, but will occasionally eat other animals, including other red crabs if the opportunity arises.

The carapace is up to 116 millimetres (4.6 in) wide, rounded, and encloses the gills. The claws are usually of equal size, unless one becomes injured or detached, in which case the limb will regenerate. The male crabs are generally larger than the females, while adult females have a much broader abdomen (only apparent above 3 years of age) and usually have smaller claws.

Christmas red crabs live in burrows for shelter from the sun. Since they breathe through gills, the possibility of drying out is dangerous. They are famous for their annual migration to the sea to lay their eggs in the ocean. - Wikipedia

Behind the scenes of the red crab migration – Christmas Island 2012 from Parks Australia on Vimeo.

Responses to "Amazing Annual Red Crab Exodus on Christmas Island"

  1. Fili says:

    That is so amazing.

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