“Monstrous.” That was the only word Charles Darwin could find to describe the coconut crab when he first saw one for himself.
Reportedly, the natives of the Pacific Islands have trouble with these giant crabs. In search of coconut husks, they would reach their fingers into their burrows, trying to steal the food the crabs had left behind. The unlucky would end up finding more than just coconuts. The crabs would strike, and the men would find their fingers caught in the vice-like grips of their claws.
The most horrific story of all just might be the answer to one of history’s great mysteries. In 1940, researchers found a fractured skeleton on Nikumaroro Island that had born torn apart, limb from limb. It’s widely believed that this was the body of Amelia Earhart – and that she had been torn apart by coconut crabs
Earhart, it’s believed, crashed on the island and was left either bleeding or dead on its beach. Like the red-footed booby, her blood would have lured the coconut crabs living in the island’s underground burrows.
A team of scientists ran a test in 2007 to see what the crabs would have done to her. They left a pig carcass at the site where Earhart was believed to have crashed.
Just as they imagined might have happened to Earhart, the crabs crawled out of their homes and tore the pig to shreds. Then the crabs dragged whatever they could find down to their underground lairs and ate the flesh off of its bones.