Millions Of Crabs Swarm Christmas Island

A sea of red crabs have brought Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean to a standstill, as their annual mating season gets underway.

Rain triggered the beginning of the crabs’ annual migration, according to ABC, a process that brings them from the jungles of Christmas Island to the waters off the coast, where they mate and spawn. The phenomenon lasts several weeks, as 14 different species of crab take over the island, 2,500 km northwest of Perth, Australia. Amateur photographer Gary Tindale, of Perth, noted the speed with which the migration begins.

“In the afternoon, storms came through and that evening the red crabs were out in force. The island had evolved into a red carpet; a sea of red as the crabs started heading down to the Indian Ocean,” he said.

Christmas Island Tourism Association marketing manager Linda Cash observed that the sea of red moving across the island is always a stunning sight.

“I have seen it for 10 years and every time I see it I am just totally amazed.

“The sound, you can imagine millions and millions of crabs sort of crawling across the island, so the sound is quite extraordinary.”

The island features unique networks of tunnels and bridges that were constructed to allow the crabs to safely cross roads.

“There are crab barriers too, they are just like plastic barriers that parks put along the road and the crabs can’t actually climb over it and it forces them to go into the crab tunnels,” Cash noted.

“Crabs will do whatever they need to do to get to their destination, so they will use the tunnels or the bridges if they are blocked by the barriers.”

The 43 Million red crabs of Christmas Island. Read about this phenomenon here: #wildlife

— Daniel Gennaoui (@DanielGennaoui) November 30, 2014

Earlier this year, photos that seemed to depict a massive crab in the ocean off Britain surfaced. As the Inquisitr previously reported, several graphic artists expressed skepticism at the images, noting how easily they could be manufactured using photoshop.

As the Daily Mail reports, an estimated 120 million crabs live on Christmas Island, which measures just 52 square miles. It is also home to nearly 2,000 residents, who face widespread road closures as the crab migration effectively shuts the island down.

[Image: Gary Tindale via the Daily Mail]