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Red Crabs Scuttle Along in Annual Christmas Island Migration

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Red crabs traversed rain-splattered roads, crawled across forest floors, and even climbed up a “crab bridge” on October 29 as a part of their annual migration on Christmas Island.

New resident Simon Penn captured the migration on video.

“I’d heard of Christmas Island’s remarkable red crab migration and seen videos with Sir David Attenborough visiting the island just to witness it. But until moving here in 2021, I’d never seen it for myself. As the time approaches, the entire island community prepares in anticipation and speculates about when it will start,” Penn said.

Millions of red crabs headed toward the ocean once the wet season started in order to mate and spawn. Their migration patterns are determined by the lunar cycle, as noted by Parks Australia.

“In one location an amazing crab bridge allows them to climb up and over the road,” Penn said. “Locals carry rakes and brooms in their vehicles to sweep the crabs to the roadside so they can drive past. After the migration began at the end of October, the crabs are now making their way toward the ocean, where they’ll breed. The females will then shake their eggs into the ocean, where they’ll hatch. Weeks later the tiny baby crabs will return to shore.” Credit: Simon Penn via Storyful

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