Amazing Animals

Wildlife Footage Shows Moment A Coconut Crab Attacked The Wounded Bird It Was Hunting

Just when you think you've seen nature's craziest stuff, a video like this comes along...

Screenshot via YouTube (Coconut Crab Conservation)

Nature is mad, isn’t it? Like, it’s genuinely insane.

In the hustle and bustle of our day-to-day life, we’re guilty of forgetting just how crazy nature can be. And then sometimes, out of nowhere and like a bullet straight from the blue, it’ll fire something our way that makes us rub our eyeballs in disbelief till they’re bloodshot raw.

Usually, these “nature is bonkers” realisations will happen when we’re watching a programme narrated by the one, the only, Sir David Attenborough. See Blue Planet II. Other times, these realisations will occur when we’re just casually browsing the internet on a weekday and stumble across, I don’t know, a video of a coconut crab literally eating a bird.

Bird-eating-crab. Bird-eating-crab. Bird. Eating. Crab.

The shocking footage was shot by researcher Mark Laidre while he was visiting the Chagos Archipelago. Laidre watched on as the coconut crab, which have a one metre leg span when fully grown, climbed a tree to a low-lying branch where the bird (a red-footed booby) was napping. The crustacean then approached the bird, broke the bone in its wing and sent it falling to the ground below.

Picture via Getty Images

After that, the coconut crab (so named because of its ability to crack open coconuts with its claws) descended down to the maimed bird and broke its other wing; thus sealing its fate once and for all.

According to the event’s description in the ‘Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment’ journal, another five crabs were soon on the scene and joining in on the feast. A bit like them uninvited house guests at Christmas feasting on the leftovers, we imagine.

The coconut crab packs an astonishing 3,300 newtons of force in its claw. Despite this, it was thought that the crabs were not actually active hunters with academics instead believing that the animals sustained themselves by eating the inside of coconuts and bits of carrion they came across on beachy atolls.

On the back of this video, Laidre is planning to set up remotely activated cameras on the islands to see if the crabs really do hunt birds or if this incident was just a freakish one-off.

Screenshot via YouTube (Coconut Crab Conservation)

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