Man Grabs Crab Before Realizing What It Really Is

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Crazy Discovery

“Don’t move, dude”, his friend choked as he slowly backed away from Mark and the creature.

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Confused by his reaction, Mark slowly put his phone down and turned around. From the corner of his eye, he saw another claw swing towards him. It was huge and lined with sharp spikes. His heart pounded at the sight of them. What on earth were they?

 Mark Pierrot

It was another beautiful morning for 32-year-old, Mark Pierrot, as he got ready to go on a hike with his friend, David. They planned to find a secret hot spring hidden within the Christmas Island National Park. 

For as long as Mark could remember, he loved to explore nature. However, he had no idea that one day his passion would lead him to this shocking discovery.

Christmas Island

Despite its winter-themed name, Christmas Island is actually a small tropical island in the Indian Ocean, between Indonesia and Australia.

Mark moved to the island three years ago, adding one more person to its population of about 1,400 people. He didn’t initially intend to stay for long, but he fell in love with the place. Little did he know, the incredible secret it was hiding. 

Setting Out

Mark woke up early to another beautiful sunny day on Christmas Island. He got dressed and poured coffee, already looking forward to the fun Saturday he had planned with David.

He quickly ate breakfast and left with his bag packed and his face beaming. He was completely unaware that his day wouldn’t turn out quite like he had planned it in his head.

The Adventure Begins

As soon as Mark met David, they headed out on their adventure to find the hot spring that the locals told them about. 

It was the island’s best kept secret and only the people who stayed on the island long enough were told about its location. Mark saw it as a right of passage but there was nothing right about what he’d soon encounter.

Blocked Path

It was about an hour into their walk when Mark first saw something blocking their path. They were walking through the coastline path that was flanked with vegetation and trees on both sides.

At first, he thought it was just a big boulder, but as he got closer, the huge shape quickly scurried away. That thing was no rock.

Seeing Things

Mark stood frozen in wonder. What on earth did he just witness? He looked to David who seemed to be completely oblivious to what just happened.

With his curiosity peaking, Mark followed suit. He needed to see what that thing was or if his imagination was just running wild. But he should have stayed put.

In Shock

When he finally caught up with it, he couldn’t believe his eyes. It’s big, boulder-like shell stuck out against the foliage like a sore thumb. Its striking colors were like nothing he had ever seen before. The creature resembled a crab but Mark knew that this was no ordinary crab.

Still, overcome with curiosity, he approached the strange creature.


Its shell was a mesmerizing display of colors. It had hues of orange, red, blue and black and its huge legs grew out from its body like a show of strength.

Mark crept closer and closer until he was right next to the creature. With astonishment, he saw small sharp spikes line its legs, and that’s when it clicked. Mark’s eyes popped as he realized what he might have found.

Making The Connection

The prehistoric crab dates back to 95 million years ago. Mark remembered reading about their extinction when he was younger but more importantly, he remembered their strange features. 

Mark looked at the crab again and took note of its huge size, bent claws, its big eyes that had no sockets and its leg-like mouth. His heart started to pound. 

Prehistoric Crab

In 2019, scientists in America, discovered a fossil of this prehistoric crab. Its species is called Callichimaera perplexa, which translates to "perplexing beautiful chimera." This is due to its vibrant colours and unique appearance. 

Mark immediately whipped out his phone to take a picture of it. Was he really witnessing the reappearance of a lost species? There was only one way to find out. 

Staring In Shock

Sensing the creature was harmless, Mark bent down on his hunkers and called for his friend. David soon appeared out from the bushes. “I’ve been looking”, he said as he took in the huge beast. 

“What on earth is that?”, David said. Without thinking, Mark threw him his phone and asked him to take a picture. What he did next would shock the world.

Picking It Up

Mark swiftly picked up the giant crab with his bare hands and posed with the mysterious creature that suddenly seemed so gentle. But Mark had no idea what he was dealing with.

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Sure he had found a long lost species, if not the ancient Callichimaera perplexa, he immediately called the National Park center. That’s when the interest in this beast really started to build.

An Anomaly

Crab expert Max Orchard spent over 22 years on Christmas Island National Park working with world-leading researchers on the variety of crab found on Christmas Island.

You see, Christmas Island was something of an anomaly when it came to the numerous different species of crab that lived there. For Orchard, discovering a new species on Christmas Island really wasn't too far fetched.

De-extinction Or Endangered

From his profession, Orchard knew that de-extinction was possible. Also known as species revivalism, this is the process where scientists can generate an organism that either resembles or is the extinct species. 

If this wasn't a case of de-extinction, Mark could have found a rare and endangered species. Although it's easy to think humans have discovered every creature on earth, that's simply and sometimes surprisingly, not that case. 

Another One!

Mark hung up the phone and posted his picture online with the caption “anybody know what this is?”. But as he was typing, David nervously began to call out to him. 

“Don’t move, dude”, David choked. Confused by his reaction, Mark looked around. Sure enough, he saw the cause of David’s distress. Just behind his foot another 3-meter claw swung into his forevission. 

A Fright

Its unexpected presence gave Mark a sudden fright and he dropped his phone. Mark stepped back in astonishment at not only finding one of these species, but two! Were they in danger? 

Mark reasoned with himself that the creatures were friendly and decided to stay with them and wait in nervous anticipation for the crab expert, Max Orchard to arrive. Did he really find a long-forgotten creature? 

Coconut Crabs

When Max Orchard came to the scene, Mark pointed him to the creatures that remained resting beside him.

With a smile, Max Orchard told Mark that he knew exactly what they were. They were Coconut crabs, a species of crab that have lived on Christmas Island for decades. But Mark picked one up - are they dangerous? 

Looking For Something

“The biggest one I’ve seen is about 4.5kg in weight, and about one-metre across,” Orchard said, “No one really knows for sure how old they are. The 2-3 kg crabs are about 50 years old”. 

He told Mark that they are a gigantic cousin to the water-based hermit crab that we all know and love. Then he asked Mark to show him his hands. 

A Warning

Although many people wouldn’t have dared to pick up one of these giant crabs, they are actually friendly giants. Orchard made sure that Mark didn’t have any cuts, otherwise a tetanus shot may be required. As with all cuts you may get from wildlife.

Although Mark’s hands were fine, Orchard did warn him of something else.


Orchard told him that they have a tendency to steal. He pointed to his phone that was now firmly within the claws of one of the crabs.

Gently, Orchard grabbed his phone from the unassuming thief and explained their odd behavior to steal and crush whatever unfortunate locals and tourists may leave behind. 

A Notorious History

Over the years, Orchard had responded to numerous reports of theft in the park. “When I first went to Christmas Island in the early ’90s, the army came over to do some training on the island. They had just been issued with new Steyr rifles with these plastic butts”, Orchard explained.

“I got a call from the commanding officer who said someone had been out there and stolen one of their rifles”. The culprit?

A.K.A The Robber Crab

You guessed it - the coconut crab (aka the robber crab)! They found the missing Steyr rifle sometime later. The crabs dragged it off and crushed it.

There have been a number of reports of these crabs stealing shoes and camera’s of tourists and locals that pass through and carelessly drop their things or leave them behind. This peculiar behavior becomes especially funny once you learn their age. 


Coconut crabs are not only the largest land-based crabs on earth but they are also the longest living! They can easily live up to 120 years old so it is very likely that the crab Mark picked up was older than he was!

Although they’re not dangerous, their claws can still cause harm. But Mark was lucky...

Right Of Passage

Mark left the encounter completely unscathed. He also wondered why the locals didn’t tell him to watch out for them. When he asked, they said that they wanted him to find out more about the island himself.

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It wasn’t long before Mark’s post of his exciting find gained attention online.

Online Stir

Mark’s picture of the mysterious and unique beast caused quite a stir online. If you didn’t live on Christmas Island or have an interest in crabs, you would have never guessed what Mark was holding. 

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