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Coconut Crabs: Nature's Deliciously Named Giant Hellspawn

By Tori Preston | Miscellaneous | November 14, 2017 |

By Tori Preston | Miscellaneous | November 14, 2017 |


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You know how in Stephen King’s The Drawing Of The Three, or in the theoretical sequel to The Dark Tower movie that will never see the light of day, there are these horrible beach-dwelling beasties called “lobstrosities” that torment Roland — but it’s ok because they’re fictional? They’re not real.

Nope. They sure aren’t. But do you know what IS real? Goddamn coconut crabs.

Just when I was ready to write off most of the human race as the absolute grossest, most monstrous thing to walk this planet, Mother Nature gets all “hold my beer” and lets someone capture this shit right here on camera and spread it all over social media (warning: it’s sad and gross so maybe don’t actually watch it):

That’s right: A fucking crab climbed a fucking tree to hunt down a fucking bird. Now, I’d like to pretend that coconut crabs have just spontaneously appeared, as some sort of karmic rebalancing for all the horrible shit that people are doing around the world. Like every time some dude in Hollywood torments someone, a 9 lb. arthropod literally crab-walks out of Hell to assault a seabird/our collective sanity.

But alas, these crabstrosities aren’t a new thing. In fact, there are some theories that maintain that coconut crabs may have played a part in the disappearance of Amelia Earhart. A very gruesome, dismember-y part. In addition to legendary pilots, coconut crabs use their incredible sense of smell to locate and devour chickens, kittens, and other coconut crabs. And also, obviously, coconuts…

WHICH THEY TEAR OPEN WITH THEIR GIANT FUCKING CRAB CLAWS. Seriously, they have the strongest grip of any animal in the world — the force of their pinch could potentially measure up to 3300 Newtons! To put it in damage terms, that’s stronger than most bears can BITE.

Let’s see, what else ups the creep factor? Oh yeah, they’re nocturnal. They live underground. They can measure up to 3 feet across, making them the largest land invertebrates. They’re also known as the “robber crab” because they tend to just steal random shit they find in case it’s edible. They can live to the age of 60. Did I mention they climb goddamn trees? Hell, even National Geographic films them like they’re the monster in a horror movie:

They’re land crabs, with lungs instead of gills, so they can’t swim anymore. Think hermit crabs only more awful. They are mostly found on islands in the Indian Ocean and parts of the Pacific Ocean. Here’s a photographer working with them in the Seychelles because he’s a lunatic:

To put them in more perspective, here are a couple next to a dog:

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And here’s one next to Professor Brian Cox:

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Anyway, just thought we could all use a reminder that while people may still be the worst, we’re not exactly without competition in the category. Though to the coconut crabs’ credit, I hear they’re delicious.



Tori Preston is deputy editor of Pajiba. She rarely tweets here but she promises she reads all the submissions for the "Ask Pajiba (Almost) Anything" column at [email protected].



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