Baby red crabs make impressive entrance!

Baby red crabs cover the rocks

They're everywhere! | Photo by Indian Ocean Experiences

Rangers keep an eye on the crabs - and grab a photo or two | Photo by Indian Ocean Experiences

On Christmas Island we’ve been delighted to see millions of baby red crabs emerge from the ocean and march inland to the rainforests.  The natural phenomenon is always a breathtaking sight to witness but this year has been especially impressive! The baby crabs formed a dense carpet on the beaches, sea-cliffs and rainforest floor - and several long-term island residents think this is the largest return of baby red crabs since the 1990s.

The high number is likely to be due to a combination of factors - including the intensity of the spawning in December and the right sea swell and wind conditions.

Protecting the crabs on their migration is a huge effort.. Each year we bait colonies of yellow crazy ants, close roads, open crab crossings and get out and talk to the community about how they can help to protect the island’s keystone species. Without these efforts, the numbers of baby red crabs that returned over the last week would have been significantly reduced. Thanks to all the locals who helped us out!

It will take three years for the babies to grow to maturity. They’ll spend their time in the rainforest, foraging and hiding from predators - until they are ready to take part in the migration themselves.

Sam, Christmas Island National Park