Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | ESCAPE -

Co­conut crabs are an amaz­ing look­ing crea­ture, and are an en­dan­gered species and are also loved for their taste in a dish of the same name.

Co­conut crabs can grow up to one me­tre, and are thought to have been given their name from their lik­ing of climb­ing co­conut trees. They do eat co­conuts, how­ever they pretty much eat ev­ery­thing else too, even them­selves.

Not too many Van­u­atu restau­rants still of­fer tra­di­tional co­conut crab on their menus, since the plight of the en­dan­gered crab has been pumped into the main­stream. How­ever many restau­rants do of­fer a dish of the same name, but with a dif­fer­ent crab as its meat source.

This is the co­conut crab dish many vis­i­tors rave about, the co­conut cream flavours on a freshly cooked crab are sim­ply divine.

Co­conut crabs are ac­tu­ally su­per-sized ver­sions of cute and cud­dly her­mit crabs.

Be­lieve it or not, Van­u­atu co­conut crabs start off life just like a nor­mal her­mit crab, tiny and cute with a shell on their back. Af­ter about a year or so they un­dergo a re­mark­able trans­for­ma­tion. They ditch their shell and their whole body hard­ens like Iron Man in a process known as re­cal­ci­fi­ca­tion.

The big­gest Van­u­atu co­conut crabs can be more than 50 years old so if they are over-har­vested or if rats kill them when they’re young and vul­ner­a­ble, it takes a co­conut crab pop­u­la­tion al­most a life­time to re­cover. Van­u­atu Post re­cently fea­tured the life­cy­cle of the Van­u­atu co­conut crab on their stamps in a bid to pro­mote the con­ser­va­tion of these rare crea­tures.

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