There is a new kind of unwelcome picnic visitor in town; move over, ants.
They are also difficult to ignore.
The other day, Amy Luetich and her family were camping on Christmas Island, an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean.
It was there that they had the opportunity to get acquainted with one of the island’s most striking species — and the world’s largest land-going arthropod — coconut crabs (also known as robber crabs).
Truth is, Luetich and her family had little choice in the matter.
Luetich had seen a few of the enormous crabs during the day, cheerfully going about their business in the nearby woods.
The crabs had a change of heart later on, though, when the family was putting together a picnic meal at their campground.
“We lit our camp fire, and when we started cooking, the smell of the food attracted a whole huge number of robber crabs,” Luetich told The Dodo. “We were sitting down trying to eat our dinner and they were everywhere!”
The crowd of hungry crabs moved a bit too slow to steal any of the family’s dinner, but that didn’t stop them from trying.
“They were tapping on our legs, climbing up onto the tables,” Luetich said. “My son counted 52 of them.”
Luetich and her family weren’t too bothered to have their picnic crashed by giant crabs. It’s their home, too, after all.
“They are protected and respected here on the island,” Luetich said. “The big ones can be up to 80 years old, so we would never want to hurt one of these gentle giants.”
Luetich’s son tried to relocate the crabs securely into the jungle throughout the dinner, but the intrepid crustaceans were unfazed.
According to Luetich, her family will never forget this picnic because “they continued coming back until we packed up all of our meals and the fragrance of cooking faded gone.” It was a really unusual experience.