Once at an indoor-outdoor bar in Puerto Rico I spotted a giant land crab crawling on the wood beams above my table. I’d never seen anything like it: It was smooth and bulky with a sort of blue-black shell. However, compared to a fully-grown coconut crab, my Puerto Rican crustacean was small potatoes.

A coconut crab doing it's thing. Pic: fearlessRich (Flickr CC)

A coconut crab doing it’s thing. Pic: fearlessRich (Flickr CC)

Coconut crabs are only found on islands in the Indian and Pacific oceans. They don’t have natural predators and subsist on nuts, seeds, carrion and whatever else they find lying around. Like other carrion eaters, such as hyenas and vultures, they’ve got an incredibly powerful bite, or to be more exact, pinch. I guess you need nutcrackers for hands if you’re a crab who eats coconuts.

Coconut crabs keep growing throughout their lives, which can last as much as 60 years. This makes them the largest land-based arthropod in the world. I’m guessing the largest in the sea is the Japanese spider crab, which is a total cheeky freak of the deep.

Check out this specimen on Christmas Island:

Now I’ve seen some pretty weird things in my life, but I’ve never encountered an animal with two heads. But the San Antonio Zoo in the great state of Texas now has one. To be fair, it’s really two turtles with one body, as we all know the soul is firmly nestled in the brain, right under the hypothalamus.

In a fit of 90s Hollywood nostalgia they’ve gone and named the turtles Thelma and Louise.

From ITV News:

The right side was looking around very curious and the left side was trying to bite me. I have to put my vote on the left side, seems a little dominant.

–Craig Belke, Curator of Reptiles, Amphibians and Aquatic Animals, San Antonio Zoo

Which one would that be, Thelma or Louise? I’ve never seen the film and I can’t be bothered to watch it just to find out which turtle head you are referring to.

Check out the Two-headed Turtle of Texas below:

Anyway, back with more freaks next week. This could become a regular thing.

About The Author: Graham Land

Greenfudge editor and London-based writer Graham Land grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, where he was part of the local hardcore punk scene, playing in several bands. Through this musical movement he became involved in grass roots interests such as anti-racist activism, animal rights and Ecology. In 2000 he relocated to Europe, eventually earning an MA from Malmö University in Sweden. He has also lived in Japan, Ireland, Portugal and Greece.


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