Getting Crabs in Costa Rica

OK, maybe the title shouldn’t really say getting crabs, but rather chasing crabs. Still, you get the picture.

I’ve loved crabs ever since I went on a family vacation to South Carolina as a teenager and one of the local residents taught me how to grab a crab on its bum without getting pinched. That piqued my interest and made me realize I enjoy catching crabs. Heck, I enjoy just observing them and learning about them. They’re such curious creatures and it’s as much fun to watch their tiny mouths munching away on a tasty morsel as it is to see them quickly flinging sand and scurrying to safety inside a freshly dug hole on the beach. I’ve been able to spot a number of crabs during the day, but always have great luck at and shortly after sunset.

The first night I was in Costa Rica, of course I scoured my beach in Guanacaste Province for crabs. The black, volcanic sand sparkled like diamonds in the moonlight and when my eyes focused, I saw them… and heard their shells quietly clacking. Dozens and dozens of hermit crabs everywhere. Some as tiny as a pinkie fingernail and others taking up the palm of a hand. I have more experience with traditional hard-shell crabs that meander sideways, rather than those that carry their invaded-shell-homes on their backs, so it was fun to find myself in the middle of all the hermit crabs. In this video, focus on all the little “rocks” on the beach and realize that they’re hermit crabs slowly making their way across the sand. I promise you, there were no rocks. The last crab in the video is a Halloween, or moon, crab. I loved its purple and orange coloration. They tend to eat plants and “leaf litter,” and that’s exactly where I found it… having a snack among leaf litter! Enjoy these skittish crustaceans and next time you set foot on a beach, be sure to take a better look before you step!

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