Red crab migration has caused traffic gridlock on an Australian Island. The species is not only famous for its epic migration, but also because it loves to eat its young.
Tens of millions upon millions of crustaceans have been spotted on Canberra’s Christmas Island. It is located almost 1,000 miles north of Australia. Parks Australia is a government agency responsible for wildlife conservation. It has sent its staff to control traffic and rake the crabs from roads. They also provide road closing advisories to residents. The authorities are prepared to handle the annual epic crab march, which occurs every year in October or November. To reduce the chances of animals being crushed by cars, there are special tunnels and bridges that can be built under and over busy roads. The sight of millions of these creatures making their perilous trek has become one of Christmas Island’s main tourist attractions.
The exact timing of the red crabs’ journey from forest to ocean is defined by rainfall and lunar phases. The male crabs are the ones leading the march. Later, they will be joined by their female counterparts. They mate, spawn and reach the ocean. Each female can produce as many as 100,000 eggs. The majority of young crabs don’t make it back into the forest, and they are eaten by whale sharks and fish. To make matters worse, the crab larvae that do make it to the beach are often devoured by returning adult crabs of the very same species, hence one of their names – the cannibal crab.
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