birgus

The Bestiary: Coconut Crab

Buckle up fuckers, it’s kaiju time!

*sexy saxophone music*

Ah, kaiju. Those completely irrational nuclear monsters that destroy Tokyo with a regularity that makes one wonder how the Japanese keep their country running, all the while taking a dump on the Square-Cube Law. They emerge from the water, wreak havoc and are either bombed into oblivion or duke it out with another similarly insane beast and then fuck off right back into the ocean. Thank God nothing like that could ever happen in real li-

I CALLED IT OKAY. I KNOW YOU ENOUGH, EVOLUTION, I WAS DAMN SURE YOU’D COME UP WITH A REAL LIFE KAIJU JUST TO MAKE OUR LIFE MISERABLE.

Ahem.

This is the coconut crab, also known in scientific circles as Birgus latro. It’s really the closest real-life analogy to a freaking crab monster from some cheesy 60s monster flick I know of, and for a good reason. Not only it is the largest land-dwelling invertebrate in the world, it’s also the largest possible land-dwelling invertebrate. This is because the way it’s breathing works; it’s based around oxygen density, and any bigger size would require a higher density to work. For the record, we should be thankful for all the soulles evil megacorps relentlessly poisoning the air, because the last time the oxygen content of the air went over 35% it ended up causing shit like this.

how about no

But now, that the oxygen level is a measly 21%, the day of freaking enormous, creepy arthropods is long past. The coconut crab cannot possibly be that big, right? Right?

Oh who are we kidding, you already know the answer.

I don’t even have words for this right here. I wanted to write an article full of creative flowery swearing and witty commentary, but I’m pretty much speechless. A crab the size of a trash can that, by the way, would have absolutely zero problem snipping your hand off. Mother Nature is now more or less known to be on drugs.

The freakiest thing is probably that this guy is actually a hermit crab. Yeah, you know those adorable, sweet little crabs in their cute tiny seashells the beaches are practically full of? They are very close relatives of a ravenous, terrifying fuck-you crab that will kill and eat its own comrades if sufficiently hungry.

Not only are they big and fearsome, they are also crafty as all hell. They naturally love coconuts, and while it comprises only a small portion of their diet, it’s understandably hard to forget the sight of a crab cracking open a freaking coconut with just its claws. Or disemboweling one using its legs, for that matter.

They are also covered head to toe with armor that would make a Space Marine Centurion weep with joy; they are so confident in its quality that they gather coconuts by climbing up a palm, snipping off the coconut and then literally jumping off the top of the tree, a feat that would cost an ordinary human, at least a broken everything.

And yet, the coconut crab has the titanic, chitin-covered balls to do this regularly. That it actually works and they shrug off 5-6 meters high falls without a scratcj proves that they are absolutely in the right.

They primarily feed on fruits, but they are also opportunistic scavengers, which means that they eat pretty much everything they come across. They are also known for chasing, killing and eating smaller crabs and even members of their own species which counts as a kaiju battle in its own right.

Oh, and also there’s this.

If you have ever heard of the undeniably badass pilot chick Amelia Earhart, who, among other things, flew a half-functional plane across the Atlantic Ocean, not giving a shit about the fact that the rotor stopped working twice mid-flight, you probably know that she was lost on her last flight and her body was never found. Well, it’s widely theorized that this is because she crash-landed in the Oceanian area, where ravenous coconut crabs proceeded to more or less scour all flesh from her body, after which they built her bones into their nests. And if you combine this with the native belief that coconut crabs can be possessed by spirits of dead people, this means that one of history’s first and foremost ace pilots might still live one, in the body of a ravenous giant crab monster. A truly worthy resting place you’ve got there, Mrs. Earhart.