The coconut crab has a pinch that is stronger than the bites of many apex predators in the world, scientists have found.
Scientists have made an amazing finding about a huge crab that lives on remote islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans: namely, that it has a tremendous pinch, much stronger than scientists realized. In fact, the force of its pinch is as strong or stronger than the bites of many of the top predators in the world.
The coconut crab lives on Fiji and other remote islands in the area. It can grow to a span of 3 feet and weight upwards of 9 pounds. But its the claws that are truly fascinating, exerting a tremendous force of 3,300 newtons, or 4.5 times more powerful than a human grip and on par with the bites of hyenas, lions and tigers, according to the study, published in PLOS One.
Coconut crabs are nothing to be scared of. Not only do they live in remote areas, but they also move very slowly and aren’t agreesive, dining on vegetation, including coconuts. They will occasionally eat small animals if the opportunity presents itself. Just don’t put your fingers anywhere near its claws if you want to keep them.
“Coconut crabs are the largest terrestrial crustacean and are remarkably strong, lifting up to 28 kilograms,” the PLOS statement reads. “The crabs use their claws to fight and defend themselves, and to eat coconuts and other foods with hard exteriors. While decapods exert the greatest pinching force relative to their mass, the pinching force of coconut crabs was unknown. The researchers measured the claw pinching force of 29 wild coconut crabs from Okinawa Island, Japan.
“The researchers found that pinching force increased with body mass. Based on the crabs’ maximum known weight, the maximum pinching force of their claws was projected to be 3,300 newtons. This exceeds both the pinching force of other crustaceans and the bite force of all terrestrial animals except alligators. The crabs’ “mighty claws” let them monopolize coconuts, which other animals are unable to access. In addition, suggest the researchers, being able to hunt other animals with hard exteriors could help these crabs maintain their large bodies.”