Some think this is how Amelia Earhart died.
Imagine snoozing on the beach, under the stars, only to be woken by a dog-sized crab chomping on your leg. It’s fodder for a horror movie.
Luckily for us, coconut crabs—which can climb trees and grow to over three feet long — mostly eat coconuts, not humans.
Still, they’re effing terrifying: Recently, while on an expedition to the Chagos Archipelago, a group of small islands in the Indian Ocean, a Dartmouth College biologist saw a coconut crab emerge from an underground nest, climb a tree and kill a bird.
The bird — a red-footed booby — had no chance. It was killed in minutes. The biologist, Mark Laidre, said a handful of crabs soon arrived to prey on the remains — and then all traces of the bird was gone.
Here’s Laidre’s video from the incident:
Laidre said he found one island that was overrun with thousands of these massive crabs, which can produce 740 pounds of force to tear through solid matter.
One unlucky researcher studying the arthropod said he “felt eternal hell” when he was pinched.
To add onto the nightmare, some say coconut crabs overpowered and dismembered Amelia Earhart, carrying her bones down into their underground lairs.
While Amelia Earhart’s fate remains a mystery, one thing’s for sure: Coconut crabs are some type of monster.
Charles Darwin briefly wrote about the “monstrous” arthropods and scientists named coconut crabs as the largest terrestrial invertebrates on the planet. In addition to coconuts, the hermit crabs are known to live off fruit, corpses and their own exoskeletons.
Freaked out yet?