Protecting crabs on Christmas Island

(Picture: Max Orchard)

No, you are not seeing things! This is the annual Christmas Island crab migration. Once a year, up to forty million of these land crabs head for the ocean to breed. According to Australia's Department of the Environment this only occurs before sunrise during the last quarter of the moon at a certain time each year. Once mating has taken place, the males head back inland while the females spend two more weeks at the beach, before laying their eggs and reuniting with their mates. 

(photo credit: A new crawlable surface has induced many of Christmas Island's crabs to use a bridge to get to the sea to breed. Kristy Falkner, supplied by CITA)

Of course this mass migration is tricky for all concerned. Traffic can be disrupted and also many crabs could be killed or injured on the roads.

So the local rangers from the Christmas Island National Park came up with a novel and viable solution. They have built 31 underpasses on the island, as well as 20 kilometers (13 miles) of barriers to prevent crabs getting onto the roads. One location wasn't suitable for this, so a bridge was built. A bit of tweaking to the surface of the bridge and the crabs soon caught on to this luxury pathway to their honeymoon spot! 

(picture: Justin Gilligan) 

If conditions are favourable, the eggs will hatch into larvae immediately. After a month, the young come ashore to rockpools which act like crab nurseries, and soon they become tiny baby crabs that somehow instinctively know to return inland along the same routes used by their parents.

Read more about these unique crabs.....

Interested in seeing what some other countries are doing to lessen the roadkill of various animals? Read more here.....

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Please share if you have visited other places where there is so much wildlife.....

 
 

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