Watch: On Christmas Island, Coconut Crabs Pinch Hard Enough To Snap a Golf Club in Half
With a name like Christmas Island, you’d assume that the Australian territory in the Indian Ocean is a magical place full of reindeer and joyful elves. But no, it’s actually full of aggressive coconut crabs.
Coconut crabs, also known as robber crabs, are a huge species of hermit crab. Their leg span can reach three feet, and they can “lift objects the weight of a 10-year-old child,” according to the Natural History Museum of London. The crabs live on land, where they climb trees, feed on coconuts, hunt and eat birds, and generally terrify anything that moves or grows — golfers included.
While on a round of golf on Christmas Island, home to the world’s largest population of coconut crabs, local Paul Buhner captured footage of one of the animals sitting cozily on top of his friends’ stand bag. While they were putting, away from their belongings, the crustacean had made its way around the golf clubs and was holding on tightly with its large pincers.
Coconut crabs’ pincers have a serrated edge and are extremely powerful. They use those pincers to crack open coconuts, so handling a coconut crab with your bare hands should be done with extreme caution.
Luckily, the owner of the bag knew that he’d have to be careful if he wanted to keep all his fingers. He grabbed the coconut crab from behind and took it away from the bag. The only problem? There was no way to get the animal to let go of the three precious clubs he got a hold of.
Eventually, after managing to save two of his clubs, the owner realized that there was no hope for the third one — the coconut crab has snapped it with its extraordinary pincers “like a chainsaw.” He also would not let go of a head cover, pinching it for dear life no matter how much shaking he endured.
While coconut crabs are usually nocturnal animals, on Christmas Island, the crustaceans are “active during the day (when humidity levels are high) and congregate to feed, generally under fruit trees,” the Western Australian Museum explains. This particular crab looked very awake and alert, indeed.