Invertebrate of the Day: Madagascar hairy land crab

Madagascar hairy land crab

What is this? A monster of the deep? A prop from a 1950s scifi movie? Dinner?

None of the above! It’s a Madagascar hairy land crab!

These hairy land crabs live in mangroves, digging holes in the ground until they reach water-drenched mud. That’s where they rest during the day. But at night they emerge, making creepy little alien noises as they scurry about, hunting for prey.

Okay. Technically, the noises aren’t alien. At least not in the sense of “from a different world.” But they are alien in the sense of “outside my previous experience.”

And to be fair, they’re not that scary looking. At least not when your guide says, “Hey, over here! I found a hairy land crab,” and you know to expect something huge and sinister.

But when you’re hiking through the dark forest at night and you walk past what you think is an empty hole in the ground, but your flashlight beam catches on an arthropod the size of a small cat waving its numerous spiny appendages in your direction and your heart skips a beat because what is this thing, well … I, for one, will understand if you scream.

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