Coconut Crab Physical Features

The body of a typical hermit crab is soft, asymmetrical, and spiraled, whereas the body of a coconut crab is firm and symmetric (aside from its claws). The left claw is larger and is used for crushing. The smaller right claw is meant for accurate snipping and cutting.

Their most vulnerable section on their body is their abdomen, which they keep curled underneath. Rather than using a shell for protection from competitors and desiccation, they hide in burrows, which are usually found under roots of trees and logs.

The coconut crabs lack of shell also determines the hours that they are active. Because they have no shell, they are forced to keep out of the sun so as to not dry out. During the day, the crabs rest in their burrow or under vegetation and go out at night to scavenge for food.

As their size increases, so must the size of their burrow. The coconut crabs have little constraints in terms of growth because they do not have to carry a heavy shell. They can weigh upwards of seven pounds and measure up to three feet across (leg to leg). They are capable of growing in strength because they do not carry a shell and have few natural predators aside from each other. The coconut crab is the largest terrestrial arthropod in the world.