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Seabirds apparently have a surprising new predator to worry about. A researcher who worked on the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean in 2016 says he witnessed a large coconut crab attack a sleeping seabird, which then became dinner.
Mark Laidre of Dartmouth College says he first spotted a crab climbing a tree to a low branch where a red-footed booby, which normally weighs about 2 pounds, was napping in its nest. The crab broke the bird's wing, causing it to fall to the ground, then continued attacking it, breaking its other wing, reports New Scientist.
It was the first time this hunting of a large, vertebrate animal had been observed among coconut crabs, which are the world's largest land-dwelling invertebrates, reaching up to 3 feet wide and weighing up to 9 pounds.
The behavior might not seem surprising given the crabs' size—they're often the largest species in the coral atolls they call home, per the Guardian—but Newsweek explains they were previously thought only to be scavengers with a particular taste for, as their name suggests, coconuts.
originally posted by: JinMI
a reply to: silo13
No blood but that poor seagul. I don't think they're 'rats with wings' but many do. Sadly.
I shall avenge the poor seagull! I'll eat the crab and all his luscious relatives!
WHAT in the GREAT BLUE CRAB is THAT?'
originally posted by: burdman30ott6
a reply to: JinMI
Not land crabs. I can't imagine anyone enjoying a meal of land crab. Deep water crabs are delicious, though.
Tell me this also isn't going to be blamed on 'global warming'...
Crazy enough, this isn't the first time a coconut crab has been seen catching a red-footed booby, according to Laidre, who wrote up his findings in a paper published last week. Two years ago, a colleague of his witnessed a bird dragged into a crab's burrow, never to be seen again.
You have something against rats? I've had a couple for pets.They're awesome.
I don't look on gulls as 'rats with wings' but many do - Sadly.
They may also eat live animals that are too slow to escape, such as freshly hatched sea turtles. During a tagging experiment, one coconut crab was observed to catch and eat a Polynesian rat .