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There's A Massive Migration Of Crabs Happening In Cuba

Pretty incredible, slightly terrifying.

27/04/2017 4:07 PM AEST | Updated 27/04/2017 4:10 PM AEST

It's that time of year in Cuba again: crab migration season.

After the first spring rains every year, thousands and thousands of crabs scuttle, en masse, from the Cuban forests, across the island, aiming to reach the ocean.

Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters
Thousands and thousands of them.

The gecarcinus ruricola and lateralis are a species of terrestrial crab and are black, red and yellow in colour. They emerge at dawn and dusk during the days of the migration and reek havoc on anyone or anything that dares to exist on the island while they embark on the great move.

The crabs shuffle sideways through houses, over cars and carpet the country's roads. Reuters reports that the sharp smell of crushed crab fills the air and the crab's sharp shells puncture tyres as humans try to go about their daily lives.

Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters
A very crabby carpet.

Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters
Inspiration for a crustacean themed sequel to Alfred Hitchcock's 'Birds' maybe?

Each year, the crabs head for the Bay of Pigs, famous for an invasion quite different to this one. In 1961 U.S.-backed, anti-Castro forces landed at the Bay in a failed attempt to unseat the dictator from power.

Once at the Bay of Pigs, the adult crabs release eggs into the water that hatch a few months later.

These kind of migrations occur in other parts of Cuba, as well as in places with similar climates like Australia's Christmas Island.

It's not all bad for locals however, as those in the mechanical industry have the chance make a bit of cash from the crab's move. Reuters reports that tourists are willing to pay up to $10 to get their tyres, that have been punctured by crab shells, fixed. As the average state salary in Cuba is $25 a month, it seems the crabs are helping some of the locals make a little extra dough.


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