The wonderful horror of hermit crabs migrating

The hills are alive with the sound of scuttling.

This video has popped up on lots of sites already, but I kind of love it and wanted to post here. Plus, it made me curious. Where are all those crabs going? And why?

The answers, upon reflection, are rather obvious. They are going to the sea. They are going there to get laid.

Yes, it's hermit crab spring break—set to an epic classical soundtrack—as thousands upon thousands of land-dwelling crabs travel to the ocean to meet other crabs and have sex with them.

Wondrous, isn't it?

Read more:
Hermit crab mating habits from the book Hermit Crabs, by Sue Fox
Annual migrations and spawning of the common land hermit crab; a research paper documenting this phenomenon as it happens in Puerto Rico. Crab love looks much the same all over the world.


  1. “The answers, upon reflection, are rather obvious. They are going to the sea.”

    Aren’t they going AWAY from the sea? Looks like they’re headed onto land in the video?

    1. The answers, upon reflection of the reflection, are rather obvious. They are going away from the sea. They went there to get laid. 

  2. Goodness.  Kuru, cranial tapeworms, and hordes of scuttling tiny monsters, all in one day.  This must be some kind of record for sheer discomfiting-ness, no?

  3.  1) I wonder what evolutionary pressure induced them re-use found shells instead of growing their own?

    2) I’m surprised there is not a giant cloud of seagulls swarming to pick them off that beach.

    3)fun hermit crab fact from wikipedia:

    “Several hermit crab species, both terrestrial and marine, use “vacancy chains” to find new shells: when a new, bigger shell becomes available, hermit crabs gather around it and form a kind of queue from largest to smallest. When the largest crab moves into the new shell, the second biggest crab moves into the newly vacated shell, thereby making its previous shell available to the third crab, and so on.”

    4) That is faux classical music at best.

  4. “The answers, upon reflection, are rather obvious. They are going to the sea. They are going there to get laid.”

    ’twas ever thus.

  5. Seems they could mate accidentally simply by all the times they crawl over one another.

    “Wait — why did we come here?”

    “I don’t know.  But I think I’m about to lay eggs for some reason.  I’d better go back.”

    1. Oh dear God.  I only watched the first minute, and thought the music wasn’t too bad.

      I just watched the second minute.  It’s really that bad.  But at least it wasn’t The Final Countdown.

  6. Cool video, but music fail.  The natural beauty of crabs scuttling around doin’ their thing is neither ominous nor exhilarating. The scenes do not need to be ridiculously amped up with pseudo-Wagnerian wankery.

      1. Ooh! And one of the hermit crabs can have a goatee, and be a tough but misunderstood loner with a mysterious past, who teaches the plucky young she-crab how to love again? 

  7. A few years ago, in northern Laos, I visited what, in the wet season, might have been a lovely waterfall in a forest, but during my visit was a dry riverbed.  The riverbed, and the forest all around was filled with many thousands of daddy-long-leg spiders, skittering audibly across the ground.  I’m sure the hermit crabs, underneath their bombastic score, are quite a bit louder, but I wish I’d had at least a tape recorder, if not a video cam, to share the subtle din of thousands of skittering spiders that haunts me to this day.

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