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5 Interesting Facts about Coconut Crabs

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Known for their strength, size and predatory nature, the coconut crab is regarded as the largest arthropod in the world. Here are five interesting facts about coconut crabs.

Size Matters

Unlike many other species of crabs, the coconut crab can grow to over 40cm in body length and weigh up to nine pounds. Because of their enormous size, the coconut crab has an advantage over crabs and species such as spiders and scorpions regarding hunting for food. Whilst they get their name from eating coconuts, their enormous size enables them to hunt larger prey such as birds.

The History

The coconut crab has been known to scientists dating back to the 1500s, with many explorers and researchers being impressed and surprised by the sheer size and scale of the crabs. As they are the largest arthropods in the world, the coconut crab has been able to sustain its presence on land, capturing prey and eating fellow coconut crabs. The coconut crab is also known as the palm thief due to its nature of taking food from its competitors. Also, the average lifespan of a coconut crab can be up to 60 years.


Unlike many other crabs who reside in water, the coconut crab is predominately found on land. This is because they are unable to swim once out of their natural habitat. If they return to water, they face the possibility of drowning. When born, the beginning of its life is at sea and after a month of growing, coconut crabs will then find habitats such as empty snail shells. However, as the crab begins to grow, their shell becomes tighter, resulting in the crab moving onto its new habitat in the burrows.  Whilst many species of crab live in burrows, the coconut crab’s size and dominance enable it to have the largest and nicest of them all.


The typical diet of a coconut crab consists of wild fruits, decaying animals, and others of their kind. As they are such a large creature, they can climb trees to source foods such as coconuts. As their claws are so powerful, they can carry heavy foods for long distances and back to their habitat. Coconut crabs are also known to eat their own body parts. This is because as the crab grows, they shed their outer layer, which they can then consume.

Sense of Smell

Another fascinating fact about a coconut crab is their sense of smell. As they begin a new life away from the sea and adapt to their land surroundings, their heightened sense of smell enables them to seek out other crabs and potential prey. Also, their sense of smell helps protect the crab, ensuring they are alert and aware of any danger from other creatures. There are many more coconut crab facts that can give you more of an insight into the species.

If you would like to know more information and facts on the coconut crab, ensure you look online at the variety of nature and wildlife websites that can help provide you with the facts you need.

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