Coconut crab claws as strong as lion jaws

New research tells us this is one crab we'd be coco-nuts to make crabby!
coconut crab "Back off! This coconut is mine! Yum, yum!" (© Lucidwaters |

When we say the name "coconut crab" to you, what do you think of? A cute sideways-walking creature with a round, brown shell that spends its day climbing up and down palm trees? Well, as it turns out...

That's a coconut crab.

These natives of islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans are the largest land-living arthropod in the world. Arthropods include insects, arachnids (a.k.a. spiders), and crustaceans (such as lobsters and crabs). They can weigh about 4.1 kg (9 lb.), and grow around 1 m (3 ft.) wide when measured from leg to leg. Some researchers say that they can even live up to 60 years old! When you consider that they're cousins of ants and spiders, that's one big, long-living dude.

Now, the coconut crab isn't looking to hurt you. As its name suggests, it just wants to munch on the yummy insides of a coconut or two. But that said, it's probably best to stay on its good side. Why? Well...

Snap, crackle, crunch!

To put it mildly, the coconut crab has a seriously strong pinch. In fact, pinch really doesn't seem like the right word. Pinches are sweet and tiny. In the claws of this crab, it's more like a crunch! Researchers at the Okinawa Churashima Foundation’s Zoological lab recently tested the claw strength of 29 wild coconut crabs. They discovered that the crab's claw can generate about as much force as the jaws of a lion. That's far more powerful than other crustaceans. What does this super crab need all this power for?

Have you ever tried to break open a coconut?

Coconut shells are very tough. Without tools, even an adult human can take a long time figuring out the best way inside. But the claws of this cool crawler can do it, no problem! This means that the crab is never without a way to access its favourite meal.

So go on, crab friends. Feast away on your delicious tropical bounty! We won't bother you.

Though... that does look pretty delicious. Mind if we try just a little...?

Never mind, never mind! Ha, ha... it's all yours!

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