Behind-the-scenes of a natural phenomenon

The warm waters off Christmas Island are now swimming with millions of red crab eggs. The island’s annual wave of migrating red crabs ‘spawned’ this week, with the females dropping their eggs in the ocean. The spawning has just reached its peak and we expect it to peter off over the next few days.

The crabs time their spawning with a specific phase of the moon, each depositing thousands of eggs into the warm, tropical water. It’s a treacherous time for the next generation - the eggs drift on the currents for 3-4 weeks, and many are taken by ocean predators before they can emerge as baby crabs. We will keep you posted as the baby crabs start to emerge - some years very few survive, so keep your fingers crossed for them!

Locals and national park staff are now busy managing the return migration of the adult crabs, who are starting to march back to the forest.

There’s an enormous amount of behind-the-scenes work in preparing for the red crab migration on Christmas Island. Check out our YouTube video to see the hard work that goes into ensuring crabs reach the ocean safely in order to mate. Watch as park staff and friends erect 5 km of temporary crab fencing, clean under-road tunnels and direct crabs away from roads.

We’re now doing the same roadwork in reverse, to protect the crabs on their journey home and to open up roads once the crabs are clear.

Mike, Christmas Island National Park

More red crab migration stories

Succesful aerial-baiting on Christmas Island

Red crab migration begins on Christmas Island