Awesome - Man Finds Weird Creature, Decides to Do This


Strange Creatures Galore

In the mere mention of the words Christmas Island, the picture that probably comes to mind would be that of a winter wonderland, brimming with rosy-cheeked carolers and handsome reindeers. The reality, though, is far-fetched from such images. This tiny spot in the Indian Ocean is rather home to some of the strangest creatures on Earth.

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Mark Pierrot knows the whats and hows of living among the fantastic animals that live alongside him. He picked up one of the island’s prehistoric residents just recently and has even posed for a picture with it. Most people can’t believe it was real, but there are still more to the things it’s known for.





Native Land

The fearless Christmas Islander has spent lengths of times on the island, to the extent that he was a stranger no more to the rare wildlife it shelters. Mark Pierrot might as well be a native himself in the island with the misleading name.





But as much as he was a self-proclaimed resident on the strange island, there are still times that he gets startled by the throbbing creatures that he happens to cross with. Nonetheless, the island was discovered first before its population.




More Than The Name

Within the breadth of the vast Indian Ocean lies the deceptive piece of land named Christmas Island. The name itself might falsely give off a sense of the wintry holidays, but is actually not the case. As opposed to its term, it is a somewhat tropical paradise.

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It is a home not only to a surplus of humans but also to an abundance of strange creatures. And though Mark has stayed on the place for a long while, he just recently came across with this.




Bad Decisions


Any sane person who would’ve experienced what Mark did would have run away, if not frozen still in fear. However, the courageous islander might have been immune to the isle’s eccentricity already.

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Mark unexpectedly ran into this prehistoric monster on the beach, but instead of fleeing for his life like any sane person would, he came up to it face-to-face. He even picked it up casually and posed for a photo op. But the creature in question is far from ordinary.




Coconut Crab
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The mysterious creature that Mark had a relatively strange close encounter with is known as the coconut crab. Strange enough as it seems it is the land-based, gigantic cousin of the humble water-based hermit crab.

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These bad boys can amazingly grow to up to 3 feet wide and can also weigh as much as 10 pounds. And Mark’s bold decision might have been for the best, though, for this awesome monster there is more to it than its scary image.




Crustacean Antiquity

While the coconut crab’s size and weight are already enormous and record-breaking, those are not the only characteristics that they can brag about. For the record, these crustaceans can have a lifespan of over 120 years.


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Considering their estimated life expectancy, it is entirely possible that the strange creature that Mark picked up and had a photo with was much older than he was. It might have even called Christmas Island its home for decades in a row now.




Land Hurdlers

Even if Mark has decided to run the opposite direction upon bumping into the coconut crab, his chances of getting out unscathed would have been small. These majestic monsters can also climb trees, so as long as he is on land, there is no escaping them.

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But then again, they are naturally land-based. Unlike most of their crab relatives, they can’t swim and would most probably drown. It would be best to head to the water to be safe from their vast pincers.




Superpowers

Coconut crabs might be gigantic in size and weight and even have long lifespans, but their superficial capabilities could be compared to that of the littlest creatures. Like tiny insects, they use their antennas and a strong sense of smell as primary tools in looking for potential meals.
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However, their superpowers can be too much for them to handle at times. They will have to commit almost all their brainpower to be able to obtain such astonishingly powerful sensory capabilities.




Gentle Giants

Smaller crabs could already give off a frightening bearing, what more if it is the monstrous coconut crabs standing in front of you. Even so, Mark claims that these coconut crabs are actually gentle giants, as opposed to general first impressions on it.

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Moreover, they are not much of a concern to their neighbors on Christmas Island. But as sure as they are mellow fellows, their massive claws are still capable enough to lift as much as 62 pounds.




Purpose for Strength

As a famous saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Coconut crabs are not an exception to this, given their humongous size and strength, and also adding their supernatural capabilities.

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For times that they want to eat a coconut, they use those mighty claws of theirs to crack the coconut shells open. This is actually a preference from which their adorable name was drawn. If they can break the coconut’s hard shell with their bare claws, then they can pretty much prey on anything.





Coconut Ritual

The way that the coconut crabs open up their coconuts is debatable to that of their infamous image of crab mentality.

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“They use their claws to pull away the outer fibers. This can sometimes take many days and it often involves a number of crabs. They then use their longest walking leg to puncture a hole through the eyes of the coconut and then they can use their claws to pry open the shell further,” Michelle Drew, an ecologist, explained.




Record-breaker

Merely describing the coconut crabs would be like lowering their majestic features into an understatement when in fact, it shouldn’t be that way. In reality, they are record-breakers for they are the largest terrestrial arthropod in the world.

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They may be in the extremes of their characteristics, but they are still naturally born crabs, and they also have similar traits. Just like the rest of their crab family, they shed their exoskeletons as they grow and get older. It is a yearly activity for the coconut crab, though.




Shedding Process


Just hearing about the crabs’ shedding process might make it look like such a simple and basic thing, but it is really far from that. In fact, it could even be creepy, especially at the initial stages of it. Once a crab materializes from its shell, it’s immediately in a vulnerable state, but it needs to protect itself nonetheless.

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They know that they can’t be defenseless out in the wild for too long so, in order to accelerate the entire process of growing a new armor, they proceed to consume their previous exoskeleton.




Do Not Disturb

Moreover, this cannibal-like act is a very delicate matter that it is best if the coconut crabs finish the whole shedding process. It will not only be like disturbing someone’s meal, but it could also affect their development as a whole.

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“Coconut crabs that are disturbed before they have consumed the entire shell often have soft exoskeletons until they have time to re-accumulate the necessary calcium and other minerals,” Drew elaborated on the molting process.




Human-friendly

For the record, there have been no official sightings of a coconut crab being hostile towards a human. They are already famously uncommon, yet it is much rarer for them to be found attacking or threatening a person.


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However, there have been recorded incidents of them assaulting young chickens, dogs and even kittens then making a meal out of them. But despite their reputation of being human-friendly, there is one theory holding them responsible for one human circumstance.




Earhart

In 1937, pioneering pilot Amelia Earhart was in an attempt to circumnavigate the world. However, together with her plane and navigator, she disappeared without a trace over the Pacific Ocean.

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Since then, nothing was heard of the pilot again; no news, no nothing. The tragedy even reached to a point wherein Earhart was considered as one of the most famous women in the world due to the mystery of her disappearance. Recently, her mishap had theorized connections to the coconut crabs.




Nikumaroro

Forensic Anthropology published a new study claiming that the bones found on the Nikumaroro Island prove that Earhart died as an island castaway. This automatically led to the belief that she crashed her plane in the remote isle.

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But then, the unfortunate end of her globetrotting did not stop there. There have been theories that coconut crabs carried off her remains as that of a coconut’s and consumed them. While it is not yet officially confirmed, further findings enforced these suspicions.
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Coconut Crab Theory

Many possible answers are emerging everywhere through the passing years. But concluding a human being’s cause of death after years of uncertainty is not that simple, just like in Earhart’s case.

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A group of researchers aimed to put the coconut crab theory to the test. They observed how the crabs would respond to the scent and sight of a pig carcass. Much to their surprise, they have already stripped off the flesh and scattered the bones after just a few days.




All That Was Left

It appears that the pilot had met a rather grisly end when pieces of bones were found in 1940 and were believed to be hers. In theory, the researchers claimed that the coconut crabs could have done the same to the pilot’s body as they have done to the pig carcass.

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Generally, it would have been ridiculous to even come up with something that no one has ever witnessed. Researchers have had such a hard time in identifying her remains precisely, but these circumstantial findings have finally lent some explanation.





A Terrifying Realization

The amount of time that had passed since her disappearance is considerable for the unsuccessful identification of the truth to what really happened to Amelia Earhart. While numerous possibilities have sprung, it is still highly likely that the Nikumaroro bones were just coincidental.

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In conclusion to her case, nothing is still indeed confirmed. Even still, the fact that these gigantic coconut crabs have the ability to consume a human body fully is a terrifying realization all the same.




An Unusual Mix

It is quite relieving to think that the coconut crabs can only be found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Despite their monstrous stance, they don’t pose a direct threat to the human race. But still, encountering one would be at the bottom of the list for most of us. People like Mark, though, don’t seem to mind at all.
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All in all, these gigantic crabs are a wonderful mix of terrifying and enchanting. They may be interesting to look at from a screen, but a face-to-face encounter with one is not likely to be on anyone’s wish list.

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