Dear Gads! It’s enormous! Up to six foot across! Say “how do you do” to the coconut crab… the world’s biggest land crab… indeed the world’s biggest land arthropod. Unbelievably it’s actually a type of hermit crab, yes those wee things you see skedaddling around the shoreline with a seashell house on their back. Of course the coconut crab would probably need a four door family hatchback as a shell so it gave up on that idea quite some time ago.
The coconut crab is so called because it eats coconuts… and it’s a crab. The thing about coconuts is that they are tough, really bloody tough. And the thing about things that can open up coconuts is that they are strong, really bloody strong. Incredibly the coconut crab can crack coconuts by hammering at them with its claw, or if it’s being a particularly stubborn bugger it will carry it up a tree and drop it. Incidentally the coconut crab isn’t the only creature to try this clever ploy, bearded vultures will rakishly use the same technique to open up tortoises. Not great news for tortoises, or indeed for the Greek playwright Aeschylus who having fought bravely to smite Persian hordes and drive them from his beloved homeland… was later brained by a falling tortoise.
Enough about the Greeks, let’s get back to that chap that eats things that are also thick and hairy. The coconut crab is also known as the robber crab as it apparently has a penchant for petty thievery. If you are unlucky enough to have your pocket watch snaffled by this rascal I can only advise you to let him have it.
‘Have you gone soft in your old age Sir Pilkington, you’ve run many a rapscallion through for much less’ I hear you cry! Well the thing about the coconut crab is that he’s big… very big… in fact he’s as big as a land animal with an exoskeleton can get, that’s the shell-like armour plating on insects and what not… so the good news is that they don’t get any bigger than this chap I guess. Naturally, being a massive crab, it has massive pincers, as I’ve mentioned they are strong enough to crack coconuts. If you are ever unlucky enough to be nipped by one of these buggers, it’s common practice to scream bloody murder. Of course that won’t be enough to get the sod to let go, as quite frankly he doesn’t give a damn for all your wailing and doesn’t want to. Locals thankfully have come up with a cunning ploy, they’ve found that the only way to get them to stop is to tickle them, of course when something that cracks coconuts for a living is attempting to cleave your toe in two… the hardest thing to do is trying to muster up a big smile, tickle its tummy and say ‘cudgy cudgy coo.’