Fearless or foolish? Hoisting a coconut crab isn't everyone's cup of tea, but for this Australian, it's like a walk in the park when exploring Christmas Island!
The coconut crab, also called the robber crab, are the largest land-living arthropods in the world - capable of reaching an astonishing size of three feet from leg to leg. Found on Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean, these land-walking oddities are a fairly common sight. They are also a protected species.
Mark Peirrot decided to put fear aside this past January and hoist a few up for the camera. As you can see from the images, two hands were needed for one of the giant crabs.
Capable of climbing trees, these strong yet slow-moving creatures can break into a coconut using just their pinchers. It is reported that they can also lifts weights of up to 62 pounds. Now that is one seriously strong crab!
"I can see how people would find them creepy, but they are pretty timid creatures and it's funny how much people are freaked out by them," Peirrot said.
"I think this is a pastime lots of locals have had," he said of posing with them, "and I've handled them before so wasn't worried at all."
A fun fact about coconut crabs: they cannot swim. If immersed in water for long, they will drown.
So, who's up for the coconut crab challenge? Lift at your own risk.
Photos: Mark Peirrot