Home Weird News Coconut Crab: The Monster That May Have Eaten Amelia Earhart Alive

Coconut Crab: The Monster That May Have Eaten Amelia Earhart Alive

The only word Charles Darwin could come up with to describe a coconut crab when he first saw one was “monstrous”. Those huge crabs seem like they came straight out of a science fiction movie, what with their solid exoskeletons and sharp claws. The coconut crab has the title of the world’s largest land crab. It is around 1 meter (3 feet) in length and weighs more than 4 kilograms (8.8 pounds).

Its sharp claws are able to cut through a coconut-like butter, and it can climb the sides of tree trunks with ease. Furthermore, it was said that they can tear a human piece by piece. Coconut crabs will consume almost everything, from smaller animals and birds to much bigger creatures and even fruits. Some scientists believe that they might have even devoured Amelia Earhart as well.

It’s the world’s biggest terrestrial arthropod.

It's the world's biggest terrestrial arthropod.
Image credits : YBS Youngbloods

Darwin was skeptical about these claims. However, it turned out that their claims were accurate. From that point on, we have learned that every scary story told about this creature is true.

Take a look at the pincers they’ve got. Simply told, they are among the deadliest weapons ever created by the animal world. If you ever have the misfortune of having one of these clamps down on your leg, you may liken the feeling to being bitten by a lion.

Coconut crabs have the most strong and most lethal pincers in the animal world.

Coconut crabs have the most strong and lethal pincers in the animal world.
Image credits : John Tann/Wikimedia Commons

They probably don’t use their terrifying claws on humans very frequently. This is because, as one would guess from their moniker, coconuts make up the majority of their diet.  It’s disturbing to think that they can easily split open a coconut with nothing but their bare claws, yet that’s exactly what they do.

Can you guess why everyone in this shot is staying perfectly still?

Can you guess why everyone in this shot is staying perfectly still?
Image credits : thinkingthrust

On the other hand, these crabs aren’t very particular about the food they eat. All sorts of foods are fair game for them.

Some witnesses have reported seeing them capture live pigs, which they then ripped to shreds, as well as birds that they had hunted and killed. They have also been seen consuming members of their own species after they have died. In fact, when the time comes for the old shell to shed and be replaced, the crab will consume it. They give it a good chewing before swallowing it.

Here comes the bloody finish.

Here comes the bloody finish.
Image credits : Mark Laidre

However, breaking apart a coconut is not a very speedy process. Before the crab is finally able to crack open the coconut, the procedure might really take many days. Another fascinating talent possessed by these creatures emerges at this point in the discussion.

The process of cracking open a coconut is not a quick one.

The process of cracking open a coconut is not a quick one.
Image credits : Rainer von Brandis

These enormous crabs have great climbing skills. To put it simply, they can climb any surface. They can swiftly open a coconut by cutting it into a husk nut, carrying it with their claw 10 meters (33 feet) into a tree, and then dropping it.

Even more astonishing is the fact that they often drop from the trees by falling and are able to endure falls of at least 4.5 meters (15 feet) without being injured.

These huge coconut crabs are expert climbers.

These huge coconut crabs are expert climbers.
Image credits : Rex

These crabs have very powerful pincers, allowing them to cling to almost any surface for hours at a time. They might be tree branches, fence chains, or house walls.

However, they don’t merely gather fruit by climbing trees. In certain regions, they are primarily concerned with hunting birds, which they accomplish by ascending to treetops, capturing the birds in their jaws, and then bringing them down to their burrows below ground.

Take a look at the size of these beasts.

Take a look at the size of these beasts.
Image credits : eMundando

Coconut crabs seldom damage humans, as said. However, there may be special cases. They have no natural enemies other than humans, hence they will defend themselves violently if attacked.

People from the Pacific Islands may sometimes reach inside the burrows of crabs to retrieve food that the crabs have abandoned, such as coconut husks. However, those who are less fortunate may come upon more than simply coconuts. It’s a miserable situation when the crabs in the burrows attack and the guys get their fingers stuck in the crabs’ strong claws.

These species have just one natural enemy: humans.

These species have just one natural enemy: humans.
Image credits : Epic Wildlife/YouTube

It’s possible that the worst-case scenario is really the solution to a perplexing historical mystery. It wasn’t until 1940 that scientists discovered a skeleton on Nikumaroro Island that had been ripped apart at the joints. Several people think the remains they discovered belonged to the pioneer of American aviation, Amelia Earhart, and that she had been devoured by coconut crabs.

People assume that Amelia Earhart’s were eaten by coconut crabs.

People assume that Amelia Earhart's were eaten by coconut crabs.
Image credits : Color by Klimbim

According to popular belief, Earhart’s aircraft crashed on the island, and her body was later discovered on a neighboring beach. Mark Laidre, a scientist who has devoted a great deal of time to studying coconut crabs, has described them as follows. It’s possible that this is the most sympathetic description of what occurred after.

A picture of Amelia Earhart.

A picture of Amelia Earhart that was taken before she passed away.
Image credits : BETTMANN COLLECTION

During the night, Mark had seen a coconut crab attack and kill an adult red-footed booby. The booby was sleeping on a limb that was hardly more than a meter from the ground. The crab slowly made its way up and clamped its claw around the booby’s wing. As a result, the booby’s bone was broken, and it crashed to the ground.

The crab eventually made its way down to complete its mission. As it got closer, the crab grabbed the bird’s second wing and broke it off. The booby tried to get the crab loose by pecking at its tough shell but to no use.

Finally, the swarm arrived. Within the space of twenty minutes, five other coconut crabs arrived at the scene, most likely drawn to the blood. The crabs battled over the booby while it lay helpless, finally ripping it to pieces. Finally, they returned the damaged bird’s carcass to its deep burrow, each bringing a limb or chunk of flesh to eat.

A Coconut Crab on top of a coconut.

A Coconut Crab on top of a coconut.
Image credits : fearlessRich

A group of researchers conducted an experiment in 2007 to determine the extent to which the crabs would have harmed poor Amelia Earhart. They reportedly dumped a pig corpse at the location where she was thought to have been involved in the accident.

Aren’t we the monstrous ones?

However, these creatures should be more afraid of humans than we should be of them. Unfortunately, due to human activity, coconut crabs are now a critically endangered species, with Earhart perhaps being one of just a few people ever killed by one. Coconut crabs were formerly widespread throughout a great number of the tropical islands that make up the Indo-Pacific. Unfortunately, due to the same factors that wiped out the dodo, their population has been severely diminished.

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