Friday, May 16, 2008

Crabs are FAST.

Seriously. Have you ever sat on the beach and watched one of these suckers move? They've got those little tiny legs and those big flat bodies, and they do that freaky little sideways shuffle and, somehow, they manage to cover about 3 feet in about half a second, maybe less. Depends on the size of the crab. That's got to be the human equivalent of about 93 mph...or something. I'm guessing. I could be off. By 90 mph or so.

Okay, for those of you who would like some semblance of "official" information, Wikipedia says that ghost crabs (which are what we have in Hawaii and which you can see here-they're excellent at camouflage, BTW.), can travel at 10 mph. That's pretty impressive. I can't run 10 mph; well, maybe I could maintain that speed over small bursts of distance like the crabs do, but I certainly wouldn't want to have to do it all day, and I definitely couldn't do it while crab walking (like we used to do in elementary-school gym class-did anybody else have to do this, or was this just some weird little thing our gym teacher made up to amuse herself at our expense?).

In addition to their freaky speed, ghost crabs also possess mad digging skills. They dig themselves holes on the beach, and while they may not be able to out dig a badger, they are still kind of fun to watch (I don't have many hobbies, okay?) They go down into their hole, grab an armful (clawful?) of sand in their big claw, scuttle out to the edge of their hole, and fling the sand out and away from their hole. It's almost graceful, like a ballerina running to the edge of the stage and flinging an armful of rose petals across the stage. Except, you know, scuttley...and with sand instead of roses. And those weird beady eyes bouncing around on top of their heads.

Oh, AND they are really curious. If you flick some little piece of beach debris in their direction, they will scuttle over to it and check it out. They pick it up, move it around, turn it over and just generally inspect it. They also spook pretty easily, so it's a fine line between giving them something interesting to play with and scaring the bejeezus out of them.

I need to get out more, don't I?

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