Can you eat Christmas island red crabs?

In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question, “Can you eat Christmas island red crabs?” with an in-depth analysis of Christmas island red crabs and their habitat, diet, dangers to humans and much more. 

Can you eat Christmas island red crabs?

No, you can not eat Christmas Island red crabs. They are not the variety of crabs you get to eat at a seafood eatery. The meat of red crabs is made up of 96 per cent water as well as they do not have a good flavour to be considered safe for consumption. Their flesh is so white and has a unique red pigment on the body similar to a lobster.

What are Christmas island red crabs?

Christmas Island red crabs, scientifically known as Gecarcoidea Natalis, is a species of land crab that is native to Christmas Island, in Australia, in the Indian Ocean. These crabs are famous for their yearly migration in which they move in millions to move from land to the ocean for mating and laying their eggs.

Christmas Island red crabs are a big crab species with bodies averaging 4.6 inches in length. They usually have a bright red colour. Though, they can also be found in orange and purple colour. These crabs use their gills for breathing and they avoid coming in contact with direct sunlight to prevent drying out. 

Both the claws of the Christmas Island red crab are of the same size unless one is damaged. The fun fact about the Christmas Island red crabs is that if either of its claws is broken it will regenerate. 

Christmas Island red crab is one of 14 species of land crab discovered on Christmas Island. Similar to other crustaceans, Christmas Island red crabs also belong to a group of animals termed arthropods, which means ‘joint legs’. 

This slow-growing species only shed its skin once every year. An adult shell can measure anywhere up to 116 millimetres and over. Sexual development is attained at around 4-5 years of age when they are around 40 millimetres.

Male Christmas Island red crabs tend to be larger than females, with larger claws and more linear abdomens than the female red crabs. Female Christmas Island red crabs are capable of laying eggs, which they discharge into the ocean. Just when the eggs come in contact with water, they hatch instantly. Other than the breeding season, Christmas Island red crabs remain isolated and even protect their holes if some other red crab comes near to it. 

Christmas Island red crabs are opportunistic omnivores, which means they depend largely on other dead animals when they have to eat. They eat a wide variety of diets including fallen leaves, fruits, seedlings, flowers, human rubbish, the giant African land snail, dead animals and also other red crabs. 

The Christmas Island red crabs have almost no competition concerning food or other resources due to their dominance of the islands’ forest floors.

Based upon the life expectancy of other similar crabs, the Christmas Island red crabs probably live up to twenty to thirty years.

Christmas Island red crabs exist in the dark shaded forests in self-made holes where they can be protected from the sun. Throughout the dry season, the Christmas Island crabs cover the access to their holes to sustain moisture. 

The young generation does not exist in burrows but preferably hide in rocky outcrops, fallen tree branches, and other debris on the forest floor. 

The popular migration of the Christmas Island red crab commences at the beginning of the wet season, during October or November as it enables the red crabs to walk along the forest floor towards the ocean without the concern of dehydration. 

While migrating, the female Christmas Island red crabs move from their holes and make their journey to the shoreline where male red crabs dig out new holes for mating.

The male crabs then come back to their shelter while the females reside in the temporary hole. dig by the male till it is time to deposit their eggs.

Christmas Island Red Crabs and Humans

The Christmas Island Red crabs pass through the roads during their yearly migration. The hard exoskeletons of the red crabs can prick wheels, also the crabs can die from being crushed if they come under a vehicle. There have been crab barriers to direct the crabs to protected passages and bridges. 

The Christmas Island red crabs are shielded by law and people are more conscious of their situation, so drivers tend to be respectful of the crabs during their migration period.

Conclusion 

In this short article, we have provided an answer to the question, “Can you eat Christmas island red crabs?” with an in-depth analysis of Christmas island red crabs and their habitat, diet, dangers to humans and much more. 

References 

https://www.thoughtco.com/christmas-island-crabs-4774252
https://marinewaters.fish.wa.gov.au/resource/christmas-island-red-crab/

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.