Can you eat Christmas island coconut crabs?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat Christmas island coconut crabs?”, and how to make coconut crab curry?

Can you eat Christmas island coconut crabs?

Yes, you can eat Christmas island coconut crabs. Read on if you want to know how to cook island coconut crabs in delicious ways. 

How to make the perfect Coconut crab curry?


  • 300 gm washed & dried, chopped into cubes crab meat
  • 3 medium chopped green chili
  • 10 leaves curry leaves
  • 5 washed & dried red chili
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered turmeric
  • 2 cup Water
  • 1/4 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered salt
  • 1 inch chopped ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 3/4 tablespoon powdered coriander powder
  • 7 leaves curry leaves
  • 3 small chopped onion

For the main dish 

  • 7 small onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered black pepper
  • 200 gm grated coconut
  • 1 clove finely chopped garlic


  1. To make the coconut paste, fry coconuts and onions in oil until the coconut develops a nice and brown color. 
  1. Saute the onions and coconuts for an additional 1-2 minutes after stirring in pepper and garlic. Remove from heat and grind with ⅓ cup water to make a paste.
  1. Cook the crab meat in ¾ cups of water over low flame for about 10-12 minutes. Season with salt. 
  1. Stir in the green chilies, ginger, curry leaves, onions, and bring to a boil.
  1. Then stir in the coconut paste and cook the gravy until it thickens.
  1. Add fried shallots and curry leaves into this crab curry. Mix well.
  1. Serve hot with rice and enjoy.

Facts most people don’t know about coconut crabs 

Darwin called them ‘Monstorus’

These terrestrial critters are present on the tropical islands around the Indian Ocean and parts of the Pacific. They thrive on coconuts and can live up to 30 or 60 years. 

They are the largest arthropods; the same phylum that also includes spiders, crustaceans, and other insects. The large size and the strength of the coconut crabs are so remarkable that even darwin did not believe the frightening stories that the locals told him about the coconut crabs.

Coconut crabs have powerful legs 

The front section of the body of a coconut crab also referred to as the cephalothorax, consists of 10 legs and an abdomen. Both the front legs of the coconut crab end in powerful claws. 

Moreover, they have 2 pairs of sturdy legs with pointy tips that help them effortlessly hop on vertical surfaces such as the trees. 

They also have a 4th pair of legs that is smaller in size and feature tweezer-like claws that help the crabs in mating, nesting, and caring for their eggs.

They have a versatile diet and can even auto-cannibalize 

The feeding pattern of a robber crab is more like an opportunist instead of a predator. A robber crab likes to eat the remains of chickens, kittens, carrion birds, and even live birds. 

Another surprising fact about the coconut crabs is that they like to nourish themselves by eating their exoskeleton that is sloughed off during the molting process. 

The exoskeletons are a rich source of calcium that helps the robber crabs grow. As a part of the evolution, coconut crabs have developed a liking for coconuts.

They have incredibly powerful claws

The coconut crabs can snap your bone in two if they manage to get a hold of your finger or a toe. This is attributed to their extremely firm grip and powerful claws. 

Once the coconut crab grasps onto something, be it coconut or trees, it does not let it go easily. So the locals tickle the softer underparts of a coconut crab to induce tranquility and compel the crab to loosen the grip.

They can break into coconuts with their claws 

Coconut crabs take hours and even days to remove the hairy outer husk of the coconut shell. Then they dig into the hard outer shell of the coconut to suck the coconut water. 

After drinking the coconut water, the robber crab cracks open the whole fruit to feast on the white coconut flesh. They have an incredibly sharp sense of smell that helps them locate any organic matter or beach goodies worth salvaging.

They can grow to be enormous 

Coconut crabs spend most of their life in the sea looking for the perfect shell to inhabit. When they find a sturdy and reliable shell, they move to the land. 

As the crab grows in size, it needs a new and bigger shell to inhabit. It lives under the protection of shells until it grows to its full size and becomes almost invincible in the world of arthropods. 

The softer parts of the crab harden through recalcification over time and the now stronger coconut crab does not need the protection of a shell.

Other FAQs about Crab that you may be interested in.

Can you eat raw crabs?

Can you cook dead crabs?

Can you cook dead blue crabs?


In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat Christmas island coconut crabs?”, and how to make coconut crab curry?