Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Giant coconut crab seen hunting birds

Denise Bradley
13 November 2017, 08:38

Researcher Mark Laidre from Dartmouth College, New Hampshire in America, filmed the macabre sight which may shed new light on the behaviour of this species and he spoke to New Scientist about the incredible discovery. It was the first time this hunting of a large, vertebrate animal had been observed among coconut crabs, which are the world's largest land-dwelling invertebrates, reaching up to 3 feet wide and weighing up to 9 pounds. It then plunged its powerful claw, which has the strength of a lion's jaw, into the bird, breaking it's wing and sending it crashing from the tree to the sand below. 'It was pretty gruesome, ' Mr Laidre said.

Laidre said he was fascinated by a story told to him by a witness in 2014. During one observation session, he saw one coconut crab about to kill a red-footed booby, which was a rare sighting. "As the bird stood there, the crab slowly emerged from its underground lair, approaching the bird from behind. The booby struggled and pecked at the crab, but the crab retained its grip with both claws, kicking at the bird with its ambulatory legs".

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