The largest and incredibly powerful terrestrial arthropod on the planet, the coconut crab, can eat anything on its way- some scientists believe these crabs are related to the disappearance of Amelia Earhart’s remains.
The world we live in can be a strange place indeed, especially when we realize that we share our home with many unusual and scary members of animal kingdom.
Those living in North America don’t have a reason to fear them- but those who love traveling should be careful, as there is a kind of crab that Darwin once described as “monstrous’!
Coconut crabs are huge crustaceans with hard shells and massive pincers, and look like out of a horror or sci-fi movie! These crabs have a diverse diet, and can eat anything, including fruits, birds, and even larger animals!
Some experts believe that they are behind the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, too. Coconut crabs are the biggest terrestrial arthropod in the world. They can weigh up to 9 pounds and can have a leg span of up to three feet.
The massive claws on the front-most legs can break open coconuts and lift objects that weigh up to 64 pounds!
These claws are some of the most powerful weapons in the animal kingdom. While coconuts make up the majority of the diet of these crabs, they will eat anything on their way!
Fruits, birds, pigs, corpses of other crabs, and even their own exoskeleton after they shed it. Coconut crabs live throughout the Indian and Western Pacific oceans, with their largest population being situated on Christmas Island in the Indian ocean.
You can also encounter them on Seychelles, the Cook Islands, in particular Pukapuka, Suwarrow, Mangaia, Takutea, Mauke, Atiu, and smaller islands of Palmerston.
Yet, don’t let this spoil your vacations there!
Coconut crabs will only bother people when they are provoked. They are scary-looking and terrifying, but actually, they should fear humans more. In fact, we have killed them to near extinction, and it is possible that the only person they have ever killed is Earhart.
The mystery surrounding this pilot keeps scientists and historians puzzled for years. Some think she crash-landed in the Pacific ocean during her round-the-world flight and drowned. As her remains have never been found, this is the most plausible explanation.
Yet, The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) has another theory.
On July 2, 1937, Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan tried to land on the Pacific Island, Howland. The group believes they landed on Nikumaroro instead, as they couldn’t find it.
According to this theory, Noonan eventually died, the plane floated off the reef, and Earhart remained the only human on the island.
Three years later, 13 bones were found on the island, and they were sent to Fiji to be examined as experts thought they belonged to Amelia’s skeleton, but they got lost on the way.
At this point, TIGHAR believes that coconut crabs have scattered the bones around, after consuming Earhart’s body after she died. They dragged her bones back to their burrows.
To test their theory, TIGHAR placed a pig carcass on the place where they believe Earhart might have been. After some time, as expected, the crabs, along with several strawberry hermit crabs, swarmed the body, and in about two weeks, they had removed most of the flesh.
After a year, the crabs had dragged some of the bones sixty feet, and they couldn’t find all of the remains.
Back in 2001, possible signs of an American castaway on the island were unearthed, including the remains of several campfires, a jackknife, a woman’s compact, a zipper pull, and glass jars.
In 2017, the forensic dogs brought to the site by TIGHAR signaled that they had found a place where someone had died. Although they didn’t find any bones yet, the group believes they will eventually find what they are looking for, and locate the place where the coconut crabs carried Earhart’s remains.