I love crabs. Somehow, despite being locked away inside their hard robot-like exoskeleton, they have personality. Often sneaky, and definitely feisty, the Caribbean Land Crab (Cardisoma guanhumi) is no exception. They live in burrows close to salt ponds or on other ‘damp’ habitats, digging down to the water table where they maintain their connection with water. This particular image was taken on Andros Island in the Bahamas, where they are common. At the time I was working as Chief Scientist on a volunteer project out there, and sleeping in large army tents. These bold nocturnal foragers had burrows under the tent, and I could often hear them rustling under the ground sheet. One of my most memorable encounters was when I woke up face to face with a large male similar to the one in the image. When I grabbed my torch and turned it on I saw that it had a pair of my boxer shorts in its claws, which it tried to take with it as it departed back into the darkness. Some of the volunteers told stories of similar encounters, one where another large male was found emptying their suitcase, and another where an inquisitive claw had tapped on someones cheek, seemingly to say good evening. Curious creatures indeed.
This species is also known as the Blue Land Crab, and is found along the Atlantic coat from Brazil, throughout the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Bahamas, to Florida.
Originally posted on Instagram @sea_anguilla with the text: A large male Caribbean Land Crab browsing the undergrowth at night. These crabs are not as common in Anguilla as they are in other parts of the Caribbean. On some islands there is actually a ‘catch the crab’ season where people hunt around for them at night with torches. In Anguilla they can be found in burrows close to salt ponds in areas such as Katouche and Little Harbour, although they are more often red and blue in colour rather than plain white as pictured here. Males have one large claw, but be careful…..they may run off with your underwear!