Family Barbecue Invaded By Cannibalistic Coconut Crabs

by : Cameron Frew on : 24 Sep 2020 14:21
Family Barbecue Invaded By Cannibalistic Coconut CrabsFamily Barbecue Invaded By Cannibalistic Coconut CrabsAmy Luetich/Christmas Island Tourism/Facebook

When one Australian family tried to rustle up a BBQ, they quickly faced an invasion of massive cannibalistic coconut crabs.

Think back to opening to The Lost World: Jurassic Park. As a wealthy group descend upon the island, a little girl wanders off to explore. Soon, she comes up against near-hundreds of flesh-eating, nippy dinosaurs.


This is exactly like that. Well, not exactly. This family had to deal with an abundance of coconut crabs – the largest land crustacean in the world, measuring up to a metre wide – but they’re actually relatively harmless, and don’t have a taste for humans like those little dinosaurs did.

Coconut Crab 2Coconut Crab 2Amy Luetich/Christmas Island Tourism/Facebook

Amy Luetich and her family, along with a few friends, were camping on Christmas Island, a picturesque location off the west coast of Australia. When they tried to fire up the barbeque, the enchanting smell of meat brought in some unwelcome visitors.

The deputy principal explained to Studio 10


It was really interesting. We were having a barbeque with about three other families. When we got there, we noticed that… more than normal, there were about 20 [crabs] sitting underneath a tree.

We lit our campfire, and as soon as we put some sausages on… the smell of the sausages attracted so many of them. They all just came out of nowhere.

Amy’s son Jacob counted 52 crabs in total. She told the MailOnline: ‘We have camped in that area a few times and we have never seen so many robber crabs… they started to climb up to the table, and another climbed onto the barbeque.’

Fortunately, Jacob was more than happy to help with moving the crabs away from where they were eating. ‘We kept our tents away from where we had eaten, but one of the families said the whole night they could feel one tapping on the outside of their tent,’ she added.


Amy’s photos were also shared to a Christmas Island Tourism Facebook page, which wrote: ‘Robber crabs behaving badly!’

Robber crabs behaving badly! 😝 a couple of local #christmasisland families had a few extra mouths to feed at their BBQ…

Geplaatst door Christmas Island Tourism op Zondag 20 september 2020

It went on to explain that the crabs ‘have an incredible sense of smell and for slow moving creatures they sure move quickly when there’s food around… would you like to share your picnic with these guys???’ Coconut crabs have been known to practice cannibalism, too; older crabs prey on younger ones when they molt, so the crabs will block the entrance to their burrows with their claws.

The photos have racked up thousands of shares and comments – albeit, many from people who are concerned about whether the crabs are dangerous. Fortunately, the page replied, ‘They definitely don’t attack, they are actually quite timid animals, until there’s sausages involved!’


While robber crabs are considered somewhat of a delicacy across the Pacific, they’re a protected species in Australia due to being endangered.

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Animals, Australia, Sealife


Studio 10/Facebook and 2 others
  1. Studio 10/Facebook


  2. MailOnline

    Get your claws off our food! Family are suddenly surrounded by huge cannibalistic robber crabs while trying to enjoy a camping trip on an isolated Australian island

  3. Christmas Island Tourism/Facebook