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Hermit crabs and Belize blue crabs

On the island we have two types of land crabs who scavenge for food. The ubiquitous hermit crabs can be seen night and day on their ceaseless wanderings in search of food, but the Blue Crabs are seen only at night.

The Blue Crabs live in burrows and hide during the day. The burrows often go below the island’s shallow water table, but crabs have gills and can breathe both underwater and on land so they dig deep hiding spots in the ground. At night they come out to forage, and although they have a fearsome appearance with their huge claws, they are quite shy. But they do startle people when suddenly encountered in the dark along the island paths!

Hermit crabs do not make their own shells, they have to move into another shell made by a different creature. We have also seen them move into champagne corks, film canisters, small plastic pipes, little medicine bottles, and other hollow debris. We often hold hermit crab races, which, believe it or not, can be the highlight of the week!

All photos by Iris de Keijser

[click on each photo to see the full image]