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Christmas Island red crab migration underway


The red crab migration season has started on Christmas Island in Australia.

In footage filmed by David Watchorn over the weekend, crustaceans rush onto roads and infrastructure.

According to Parks Australia, every year millions of large crabs emerge from the forest and head into the water to breed. The migration begins with the first rains of the rainy season.

Although it is usually in October or November, it can sometimes be as late as January.

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In this handout image provided by Parks Australia, thousands of red crabs are seen walking down a road on November 23, 2021, on Christmas Island. The annual red crab migration begins with the first rains of the rainy season on Christmas Island, usually around October or November. Millions of red crabs cross the island to the ocean to mate and spawn.
((Photo by Parks Australia via Getty Images))

The exact timing and speed of the migration is determined by the phase of the moon.

The male crabs that lead the migration are then joined by the females.

In this handout image provided by Parks Australia, members of the public and Parks Australia staff remove thousands of red crabs from a road on November 23, 2021, at Christmas Island.

In this handout image provided by Parks Australia, members of the public and Parks Australia staff remove thousands of red crabs from a road on November 23, 2021, at Christmas Island.
((Photo by Parks Australia via Getty Images))

If it starts raining too late to meet their egg-laying date, some crabs will migrate the following month.

Once on shore, the crabs bathe to replenish moisture before the male crabs retreat to the lower terraces of the island to dig burrows.

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In this image provided by Parks Australia, thousands of red crabs are seen walking across a crab bridge on November 23, 2021 on Christmas Island.

In this image provided by Parks Australia, thousands of red crabs are seen walking across a crab bridge on November 23, 2021 on Christmas Island.
((Photo by Parks Australia via Getty Images))

The female crabs then join the males on the terraces to mate in or near the burrows.

Each female crab, which stays in the burrow for more than two weeks, can produce up to 100,000 eggs.

In this image provided by Parks Australia, thousands of red crabs are seen walking through a drain on November 23, 2021 on Christmas Island.

In this image provided by Parks Australia, thousands of red crabs are seen walking through a drain on November 23, 2021 on Christmas Island.
((Photo by Parks Australia via Getty Images))

The male crabs will take a second bath before beginning the return journey.

When the moon reaches its last quarter, the crabs gather on the shore, releasing their eggs into the water.

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Red crab larvae hatch from the eggs as soon as they come into contact with water.

The Red Crab Migration is Christmas Island’s biggest tourist attraction.

Fox

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