Christmas Island school students spend hours protecting iconic red crabs

A poster made by a student saying "Don't Ever Kill The Crabs"

Crabs in computers, drains and salad bowls

Ms Preston said baby crabs were often found in peculiar places during their journey back to the forest.

“I remember an IT guy up on the island was replacing the hard drive in my computer and when he pulled the back off the computer there were about seven or eight dead baby crabs in here,” she said.

“You’ll be having a shower and sometimes they are coming up through the drain and they will start climbing the walls in the shower.

Crab cadets teach students about conservation

Caring for the crabs is part of everyday life for many island-dwellers, and in 2022 the school will introduce a new program to teach students about conservation, sustainability, tourism and rehabilitation.

Christmas Island resident Jacob Tiernan-Luetich crouching next to the crabs.

“We hope to get students out in the jungle, collecting seeds and propagating them so that they can rehabilitate some of the mined land.”

Christmas Island crab migration 2020

“They all have to congregate on the coast at the right particular phase of the moon and the right tide to be able to cast their eggs into the seas,” he said.

“It’s an incredibly well-synchronised event.”

Mr Bray said if it rained too close to the spawning date and there was not enough time to migrate, the crabs held off migrating until the next month.

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