from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A large terrestrial hermit crab (Birgus latro) that can climb trees and that feeds on carrion and vegetation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A species of crab, Birgus latro, that lives on land in the Indian Ocean and the central Pacific Ocean and feeds on fruits, nuts, seeds and coconut flesh.


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  • Rumoured to be drawn to shiny objects. The good folks on Christmas Island didn't mention it.

    March 28, 2011

  • I should add that I'm basing that only on the pictures--and I've never seen a blue tick.

    March 28, 2011

  • They look a bit like giant deer ticks, but I am fond of creatures that are drawn to shiny objects.

    March 28, 2011

  • Scary. It was very big. Like, uh, a basketball.

    Local Malay name was udang gostan from udang, prawn or crab, + gostan, probably a corruption of English marinerspeak go astern, i.e. the 'crab that walks backwards'.

    March 28, 2011

  • Was it adorable or terrifying?

    March 28, 2011

  • I was introduced to one as a robber crab.

    March 28, 2011

  • "It is also known as the robber crab or palm thief, because some coconut crabs are rumored to steal shiny items such as pots and silverware from houses and tents."


    March 27, 2011