FAMOUS FOR ITS COCONUT CRAB
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.