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Author Topic: Coconut Crab + others  (Read 4500 times)

Chris Johnson

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Coconut Crab + others
« on: September 16, 2011, 08:59:03 AM »

We know that it is found throughout the island and that it is a great delicacy that has been shared with western visitors. Why does there appear to be no evidence of remains at the seven site?  An obvious answer could be the fragility of the carapace but I don’t know, never been close enough to a Coconut crab.

What about the Hermit Crabs?  At least they would leave a shell behind and we know from the clam bushes that these are able to survive.

A castaway who had to hunt for food would surely be overjoyed that it came right up to them and pinched them so to speak.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Coconut Crab + others
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2011, 09:16:02 AM »

Why does there appear to be no evidence of remains at the seven site?  An obvious answer could be the fragility of the carapace but I don’t know, never been close enough to a Coconut crab.

Historically, westerners who are not familiar with Birgus latro are more concerned about him eating them than vice versa.  The Norwich City survivors were astounded when the rescuing native boatmen were delighted to find Coconut crabs on the island.

What about the Hermit Crabs?  At least they would leave a shell behind and we know from the clam bushes that these are able to survive.

Hermit crab shells are, of course, borrowed and are, by definition, recyclable.  The shell used by any Strawberry Hermits eaten by the castaway would likely be reclaimed by another Strawberry Hermit. 
BTW, although the Gilbertese do reportedly eat them, I would have no idea how to go about eating a Strawberry Hermit crab.  They're about the size of a jumbo shrimp but they have a much thicker shell. 
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Chris Johnson

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Re: Coconut Crab + others
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2011, 09:24:11 AM »

Why does there appear to be no evidence of remains at the seven site?  An obvious answer could be the fragility of the carapace but I don’t know, never been close enough to a Coconut crab.

Historically, westerners who are not familiar with Birgus latro are more concerned about him eating them than vice versa.  The Norwich City survivors were astounded when the rescuing native boatmen were delighted to find Coconut crabs on the island.

What about the Hermit Crabs?  At least they would leave a shell behind and we know from the clam bushes that these are able to survive.

Hermit crab shells are, of course, borrowed and are, by definition, recyclable.  The shell used by any Strawberry Hermits eaten by the castaway would likely be reclaimed by another Strawberry Hermit. 
BTW, although the Gilbertese do reportedly eat them, I would have no idea how to go about eating a Strawberry Hermit crab.  They're about the size of a jumbo shrimp but they have a much thicker shell.

Good points, the hermit crab is so obvious when someone else points it out. Suppose you’d have to use some form of probe to get the crab out of the shell like the French do with Snails and us Brits do with Winkles.

In desperation you may go for eating Birgus especially if you have experience of Crabs from the sea.  A bit like relating sea birds to chicken or game bird and making the edible connection.
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Tim Collins

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Re: Coconut Crab + others
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2011, 10:10:10 AM »

Earlier this year the Easter Bunny brought our five year old two hermit crabs (Crabby and Ringo). When they disappeared under the sand/dird in their terrarium to molt (much to our suprise) I was interested to read that part of the molting process actually involved consuming the shed skin as a way of taking in necessary minerals (calcium). I would presume other crabs would do this as well?

t
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