Two Months Out Of The Year, These Creatures Take Over Christmas Island

Mar 5, 2015

In the Indian Ocean, tucked between Indonesia and Australia, is the beautiful Christmas Island, a stunning tropical paradise with white sandy beaches, fun tourist locations, and plenty of interesting wildlife. There’s just one tiny catch…

If you are planning a vacation there, you must make sure not to visit between October and December. Why, you ask?

Because in those two months, the entire island is overrun by millions upon millions of tiny crabs.


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Ordinarily, the red crabs of Christmas Island live in the forest, but each year during the early winter months, they make the long journey to the island’s beaches. 


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There are so many crabs that local authorities have to shut down entire roads during their migration. 


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There are also special bridges that make it possible for the crabs to cross dangerous areas. 


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The red crabs don’t let anything get in their way. 


Xu Yanyan/Xinhua/ZUMA

Although some become prey for sea birds, most make it to the island beaches. 


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Once there, the red crabs have one thing on their mind – mating. 


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The journey to the beach takes about a week, and mating can last several days. Once finished, the females watch over their eggs for two weeks, while males return to the forest. Sometime in mid-December, typically around the 18th or 19th, females lay their eggs, which the tide then sweeps out to sea. The exhausted females then trek back to the woods to rejoin the males. 


Xu Yanyan/Xinhua/ZUMA

The eggs hatch almost immediately, and the larvae live in the water for about a month. 


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They then return to the beach as young crabs, and begin their own journey to the forest. 


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Although their sheer numbers can be alarming, the baby crabs are pretty darn cute. 


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It’s an amazing ritual of nature, but one that is threatened by the changing climate. 


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Each year, the annual monsoon rain is what triggers the great crab migration. However, rainfall has been sporadic on Christmas Island over the past few years. There could come a day when the crabs do not know when to make their yearly trek to the beach. 


Parks Australia

The power of nature is amazing, and so is the annual journey of the red crabs. Share these incredible images with friends and family – and don’t forget to plan your trips to Christmas Island accordingly. 

Credit: Mother Jones

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