A coconut crab has been filmed methodically stalking, killing and eating a seabird in behaviour that has shocked scientists in a calculated attack that has been described as ‘gruesome.’
The deadly crab climbed a tree and crept up on a sleeping sea bird in its nest on the remote Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean.
It then plunged its powerful claw, which has the strength of a lion’s jaw, into the bird, breaking it’s wing and sending it crashing from the tree to the sand below.
The killer crustacean followed the injured, struggling bird and broke its other wing as the bird lunged about desperately and squawked in terror.
Once the bird was lying helpless on the ground, five other coconut crabs arrived and tore the bird apart.
Researcher Mark Laidre from Dartmouth College, New Hampshire in America, filmed the macabre sight which may shed new light on the behaviour of this species and he spoke to New Scientist about the incredible discovery.
‘It was pretty gruesome,’ Mr Laidre said.
Mr Laidre now plans a follow-up study to investigate whether this new form of hunting is widespread on the island
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