Campers on a beach in Australia got some surprise visitors to their picnic when dozens of robber crabs crashed their party.
A group of Australian families at a campsite in Christmas Island, Australia, were barbecuing when the robber crabs (also called coconut crabs), began to swarm the area.
Christmas Island Tourism posted about the thieving crabs on Facebook and wrote: “Please note that Robber Crabs are protected Our mischievous robber crabs made headlines all around the country this week when they showed up unannounced at a family BBQ here on Christmas Island.”
Amy Luetich, who was one of the campers, told Daily Mail Australia: said of the experience: “We have camped in that area a few times and we have never seen so many robber crabs. As soon as we started cooking, they swarmed around us. My son counted 52 of them.”
In an interview with Studio 10, Amy explained that the smell of the sausages attracted even more of the crabs. One even scaled the barbecue! Her son Jacob took on the task of picking up the crabs and carrying them away to the bushes.
Fortunately the campers had pitched their tents away from the food area. But Amy said that one family told her they “could feel one tapping on the outside of their tent.” Although Robber crabs are considered a delicacy in parts of Southeast Asia, they are a protected species on the island. The picnickers decided to leave them be and snapped lots of pictures instead.
Robber crabs can grow quite large in size – up to 9 pounds – and have a great sense of smell! They are known to scavenge for fruits, seeds, carrion and other edible beach debris. But we’re guessing they couldn’t pass up the chance to grab food “hot off the barbie” as they would say Down Under.