Baby Red Crabs Invade Cayman Islands By The Thousands

The beaches are red in the Cayman Islands as hundreds of thousands of baby red crabs have begun their seasonal migration across the island.

Tim Austin, deputy director of the Cayman Islands’ Environment Department, said:

“People living in the coast will have them everywhere. They get in houses, into your AC system. Anywhere there’s a gap, they’ll find it. They’re trying to get somewhere where they’ll live happily.”

The Associated Press reports that the baby red crabs will be covering the island for about a month as the crabs seek safety among the rocky shores and wetlands to lay eggs.

The crabs don’t come every year, it depends on ocean conditions, tides, and the wind, and a locals believe that the migration may signal a strong hurricane season.

Austin told the Compass:

“The hurricane connection is interesting … No one’s really looked into it, but it’s not completely impossible. If you think about the fact that ocean currents are responsible for hurricanes and that they influence the crabs coming back to shore, it’s not impossible that there’s a relationship, but as to what that relationship actually is, I’ve no idea.”

But a possible hurricane isn’t the only thing that Cayman natives have to worry about. James Gibb, research officer with the Environment Department, says that the adult crabs can give people flat tires on the roads.

Gibb said:

“Crabs will see the cars coming. They’ll hunker down and put their claws up… A colleague of mine went through four tires five years ago… You’re closer to nature. When stuff like this happens it’s interesting. I feel bad for living in a house that’s in their way.”

Here’s a video about a red crab invasion that occurred in Cuba a few years ago.