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Coconut Crab Facts – How to Survive on a Desert Island – Part 3 of 3-Patrick Childress Sailing #18

Coconut Crab Facts – How to Survive on a Desert Island – Part 3 of 3-Patrick Childress Sailing #18


this is about the only time I’ve ever
seen a coconut crab eat a coconut when somebody had open one and left it behind
in reality coconut is not high on the food list for coconut crabs but
everybody calls them coconut crabs out here rats with their very sharp teeth
can gnaw right through the side of a fibrous coconut make a perfect round
hole to the inside and then gnaw into the hard nut to get to the meat coconut
crabs don’t have that luxury of sharp rats teeth so it’s a lot of work to try
to pull the fibrous husk away and work their way down to the nut but once they
do get that far they have their own very special technique to get into the nut
which I’ll show you at the end of this video but coconut crabs they’re not too
fussy they’ll eat anything they eat dead birds dead rats fish that wash up on
shore feces laying on the ground microvia they’re excellent scavengers
that help to keep these islands clean coconut crabs have an incredible sense
of smell they can smell a dead bird or an open coconut from a long way off and
that’s why this crab has come out during the day to feast on this open coconut
there are also excellent climbers they can climb a coconut tree no problem at
all this as well as rats they may not be able to climb out on to skinny branches
of a tree like a rat can but they do very well for climbing trees and if
there’s any nesting birds they have no problem eating whatever’s in that nest
but one thing they don’t do is climb up coconut trees to know how way on the
nuts to drop them down on the ground so they have something to eat there’s
plenty of coconuts already on the ground all over these islands wherever coconut
palms exist coconut palms are not necessarily indigenous to coral atolls a
scrub brush environment more like this would be the natural environment in the
1920s and 30s there is a big commercial push to clear coral atolls of the
natural environment and plant rose and rose
Rose of coconut palms for the production of coconut oil beginning in the
mid-1980s coconut oil was slowly replaced by soybean oil and palm oil so
nowadays a lot of these old plantations have been abandoned or just have very
little economic viability anymore they’re still islanders in the Pacific
that will open coconuts and dry the white meat into copra from which the
coconut oil is squeezed but it’s a lot of hard work for very little money these
days so I wonder way back before these
islands were so heavily populated with coconut palms what were coconut crabs
called but it wasn’t really necessarily their indigenous food now coconut crabs
start their life as plankton free-floating in the oceans and as they
grow they’ll they’ll eventually wash up near rocky shore where they drop to the
bottom and grow once they have their legs and their claws and they’re old
enough they’ll crawl out of the ocean onto shore for their new terrestrial
life where they will look for an open shell that they can crawl into for
protection and carry on their back the same way that hermit crabs do but once
they outgrow all the local shells they’re on their own walking around in
the bush unprotected coconut crabs mature in five years and can live up to
sixty years and they don’t get much bigger than this this is about the
biggest crab I’ve seen on Chagos other islands they do get
bigger like out in the Pacific and I have seen pictures of some extremely
large coconut crabs but not here not in these islands so there must be different
species this guy isn’t very big right now it’s about five o’clock in the
afternoon it’s been raining today so it’s dark these guys are out feeding
normally they don’t come out during the day but there’s so many coconut crabs on
this island they’re just everywhere so it’s not unusual to see them during the
day coconut crabs across the Pacific and the Indian Ocean and many places are now
endangered they’ve just been wiped out by humans so they’re protected it’s best
just to leave them alone maybe feed them a coconut now and then in other areas
say like through the Pacific you would have to put bait out Thai out coconut to
a tree and lure the coconut crabs out at night so I’ll show you how to do that
right here if you don’t see any coconut crabs around during the day which
normally you don’t they’re all hiding they only come out at night in most
places but there’s an abundance of them on this island so we do see them in the
morning and occasionally during the day but you can take an open coconut you
open with your axe right in half take out some of these fibers just lift them
up just enough to pass a rope under so now you can tie this to the trunk of
a tree before sundown when it’s convenient for you that you can see well
and then come back oh maybe two hours after dark and you’ll find coconut crabs
trying to drag this away back to their house well here’s some evidence that
coconut crabs actually do break into coconuts there’s a lot of fibers here on
the ground surrounding a hole that goes into the ground and here’s a broken open
coconut rather old but still it’s evidence had been wondering how in the
world can a coconut crab get into a hard nut and it’s not like a rat that has
teeth and they can just bore a hole right in there is the size that their
own body then they slip in and eat all the meat but it looks here as though
this crab did not go in through the eyes he made a hole actually through the
softer mouth area and then enlarged debt and here’s another old shell the eyes
intact and the mouth is gone so that must be how they get inside sometimes
you just nibble the way on the whole shell but it would have to be the larger
crabs that do this that are strong enough big enough and this guy living in the hole is a big
coconut crab bigger than what I’ve normally seen out here he’s just daring us to come any closer
that’s alright a cruiser I recently talked to who’s been living for years
and the tropics around the world so that yes in fact coconut crab meat does taste
different from region to region in the Pacific they aren’t so great in the
Indian Ocean they’re very nice the claws and the legs
nice white meat and it tastes like any other oceanic crab but certainly not
like coconut so have a happy life there mr. crab also I have seen coconut crabs
out on the beach at night and they much smaller ones and they’re sifting through
the sand for little bits of whatever but they’re foraging like any other crab
would out on the beach so here’s a baby coconut crab they’re
cousins of hermit crabs and they start out life just like a hermit crab and
they’ll live in small shells and as they grow bigger they find a larger shell to
live in until there’s just no more shells around big enough to house them
and this is about as big of a shell I’ve seen here in Chagos so it won’t be long
before this guy is out of his home and he’s going to be traveling around in the
jungles here without a fortress on his back and if there are no other shells
available why not a coconut shell what a perfect fit so coconut crabs throughout
the tropical regions are protected in some areas and the Pacific in somewhere
is they are not same in the Indian Ocean so it’s best to check and see what the
regulations are wherever you are sailing thanks a lot for watching I hope this
video has been helpful to you and if it has please give it a thumbs up and a
subscribe on the screen down below thanks a lot for watching and we’ll see
you soon

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