Tags: coconut crab | hunting | birds | video | first

Coconut Crab Hunting Birds Is First Time Behavior's Been Seen

Image: Coconut Crab Hunting Birds Is First Time Behavior's Been Seen
A bird-hunting coconut crab was caught on video for the first time. (Mark Laidre/YouTube)

By    |   Friday, 10 November 2017 02:37 PM

Video footage of a giant coconut crab hunting and killing a bird on an island in the Indian Ocean is the first time scientists have seen the giant crab do such a thing.

Coconut crabs were known to be omnivores, but it was previously thought they were only scavengers who ate meat when they came across a dead animal. The video is the first time hunting behavior by the crabs has been observed, The Guardian reported.

Filmed by Mark Laidre of Dartmouth College in New Hampshire on a visit to the Chagos Archipelago, the video shows a coconut crab slowly climb a tree and attack a red-footed booby sleeping on a low-hanging branch, break its wing, and knock it out of the tree. The crab then follows the bird and breaks its other wing. Five other crabs soon converge on the bird and tear it apart to eat it.

Coconut crabs have claws that can pinch with as much force as a lion’s bite, according to New Scientist. They got their name because they often crush coconut shells with their claws. The crabs are the largest land animals on the small island and others like it in the Indian and Pacific oceans. 

Laidre's studies found birds were less likely to live on islands inhabited by coconut crabs and vice versa. He plans to put up more cameras to see if the predatory behavior was a one-time thing or more common, New Scientist reported. 

Although adult coconut crabs are more than capable of killing a seabird with their powerful claws, baby crabs may avoid islands with many seabirds because the birds might come after them, New Scientist theorized. 

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Video footage of a giant coconut crab hunting and killing a bird on an island in the Indian Ocean is the first time scientists have seen the giant crab do such a thing.
coconut crab, hunting, birds, video, first
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2017-37-10
Friday, 10 November 2017 02:37 PM
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