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The robber crab is also called the "coconut" crab because it sometimes feeds on coconuts. It is also known as the "terrestrial hermit" crab because of its habit of living in shells when it is young. Still, it does not belong to the same family as the true hermit crab.
Although the robber crab hatches in the water, it spends most of its life on land, where it lives in rocky crevices or shallow burrows.
The robber crab climbs trees to escape predators or to find shade when it is very hot. The crab has no special adaptions that enable it to climb. It simple grasps the trunk with the sharp, pointed claws located on each leg and hauls itself up. The crab climbs backward down tress, and it can walk backward on land as well.
Robber crabs feed on carrion (dead animal matter), as well as various types of fruit. They located food primarily by smell, sometimes from several yards away. They even consume the remains of other robber crabs. Sometimes they chase other crabs to their burrows, where they pull off and eat the claws that the crabs use to defend themselves.
Did you know?
- The robber crab has become so adapted to living on land that it will drown if it is submerged in water for more than a few minutes.
- The robber crab grows much larger than the hermit crab, possibly because it does not need to find a shell to accommodate its growing body as it matures.
- The world's largest crab has a leg span of over six feed. It lives deep in the ocean and never comes to surface.