Drivers urged to watch out for crabs crossing roads

| 18/07/2014

(CNS): At this time of year the roads tend to be crowded by large numbers of crabs trying to reach the beach but he Department of Environment says that by driving slowly in these areas people can warn the crabs and give them time to get out of the way, or drivers can time to drive over or around them without hitting them. The police are urging drivers to take safety precautions during crab season, including parking vehicles at the side of the road with their parking lights and emergency flashers on, and reminding them not to rapidly swerve their vehicles to avoid running over crabs on the road as this evasive action could cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles and cause an accident. Left: Red Shank (Geocarcinus lateralis)

According to the DoE, the Cayman Islands are home to various species of land crabs which, although they have successfully invaded the land, are all still seasonally dependent on the sea. Most residents are familiar with “crab season” throughout July and August and this phenomenon is due to the fact that all land crab species cross the roads to get to the sea during the breeding season.

The reproductive cycles of, for example, the White Land Crab (Cardisoma guanhumi) (right: male with an obviously enlarged claw) and the Black Land Crab (Geocarcinus ruricola) (below)  — both traditionally harvested for food and the later of whose colour can vary from yellow to dark purple — are closely linked to seasonal weather patterns and lunar phases and migrations are often initiated by heavy rains. For the first few weeks of the migratory period the crabs increase their foraging and gain weight rapidly.

Males actively court females which then carry external egg masses on the underside of their bodies after mating. The eggs are carried for approximately two weeks prior to hatching and will eventually be released into the sea to ensure survival and larval development. The spawning migrations are typically completed within 1-2 days and the spawning takes place within 1-2 days of a full moon.


The White Land Crab is slow-growing compared to most other crabs, reaching sexual maturity only after approximately 4 years and large individuals may grow to over four inches across and over 1 pound in weight. This highlights the importance of letting the crabs reproduce when they embark on their spawning migrations. It is highly recommended that females are left alone if eggs are seen on the underside of their bodies (see picture right) so they can spawn and secure the return of many more juvenile land crabs. Females and males are generally easy to tell apart as males are larger and have a noticeably enlarged claw (cheliped).

For more information on the land crabs please visit the DoE website and the Land Crab Species Action Plan.

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  1. Love_the_crabs says:

    I was on the Island at the end of June, two years ago.  There was NO WAY to watch out for the crabs.  The road was literally covered with the crabs.  I didn't have the heart to run them over so we just stayed in for the day or two when there were enormous numbers of them.  The kids were riding bikes down the road and were purposely running them over…that made me sick!  Truly there were too many to drive without killing some of them, so I chose not to drive.  For those that have to drive to work, this could add a tremendous amount of time to their commute, because there was NO WAY to avoid them.  

    It was great to see that there is a very large population of the crabs.  When I was there I went land crabbing and these in the picture do not look like the monsters I was catching back in the bush (yes there is actual bush over East End and Northside.  It was great to catch these interesting crabs.  It was even more interesting to hear how the locals cook  and serve them.

    Good luck to the drivers and the crabs trying to cross the street!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Please do not kill the crabs with your cars. Ohwhat a waste. Let them live enough to get across the road. Then….they are mine…mine to catch and eat!!!!! Oh delicious crabs. 

  3. Concerned resident, says:

    Nothing is being said about the GREEN IGUANAS that are eating away the buds on fruit trees, eating away vegetables, messing peoples cars and homes, and making a mess on the roads too. They are beautiful creatures and a tourist attraction but they are lay many eggs and since a Conservationist was allowed to released 200 Iguanas in West Bay after Ivan in 2005 we have never had so many of them. Before 2004 everyone living on this Island could attest that there were no Iguanas to be seen. But after the release in West Bay, it is like every week an Iguana is seen in somebody's yard or fruit tree. I THINK THEY ARE A PEST AND THE CONSERVATIONIST WHO RELEASED THEM SHOULD BE NAMED AND BLAMED FOR IT. I can't believe our government allowed this to happen. We are culling lion fish, but what about the Green Iguanas. By time they are done, much of our wild life will be filled with them. THEY HAVE NO PREDATORS AND SO THEY WILL POPULATE THE ISLAND IN HUGE NUMBERS IF THEY ARE NOT CONTROLLED.

    • Anonymous says:

      They weren't released by a conservationist, they were pets who either escaped or were let loose by their owners.  I'm all for a cull, but consider that lionfish culling works so well at least partly because people can do it while diving, so it's fun for them, and lionfish are actually usuable, in that they're delicious.  Hunting for iguana would be hot, hard work, and Lord knows I don't want to eat them, so there'd need to be other incentives and some way to dispose of the bodies besides roasting them at the dump.  It's something we should be talking about, though.

      • Anonymous says:

         08:11.Do you know whether the iguana meat is delicious or not?  Those who have eaten it state that it tastes  like chicken.Maybe someone needs to create a market for it here,then perhaps tourists would come from all over the world to eat iguana meat .

    • Anonymous says:

      Better check your dates bobo. They was plenty before 2004. 

  4. Anonymous says:

    Driving in Cayman is the closest real life experience to Supermario kart.

  5. Anonymous says:

    "The police are urging drivers to take safety precautions during crab season, including parking vehicles at the side of the road with their parking lights and emergency flashers on"

    Why on earth do thepolice want you to put your emergency flashers on whilst you are parked?


  6. Anonymous says:

    When will we ever become educated and appreciate and respect our environment and all the creatures that help maintain the ecological balance? Well I guess I need to take a step back and as hard as it may be, appreciate the ignorant who advocate killing the crabs, because it let’s me realize the importance of education.

    • Anonymous says:

      You can add developers to the list of ignorant a as they are probably responsible for WAY more damage to the species and environment as a whole. 

  7. Anonymous says:

     Never mind the crabs look out for the people! DaaaaaaM

  8. Anonymous says:

    The mentality of some posters is astonishing to say the least! This is why there wild life is all endangered! no respect for anything, thats the problem with the world over today.

  9. Knot S Smart says:

    Such cutie pooty little red and black crabs…

    I like the sound of my tyres going 'Pop' and 'Crunch'…

    And the tyre shop likes fixing my flat tires too…

  10. Anonymous says:

    The bigger danger is people swerving to get more of them.  You score double points on a Friday.

    • Anonymous says:

      The bigger danger is people .        People please be carefull not to hit the crabs or car..  I know that alot of you dont know or remember when crab season came to get them to eat  back in the good old days . Dont kill the crabs because those days might come back . There is many good reasons why ,because you do not have the fish, couch ,lobster , whilk, that we had in the good old days . Also when you have to repair 2 tyers that might be takeing food from your baby mouth .

  11. Anonymous says:

    It is articles such as this that make me dream (and crave) island living. The simple things in life that people may take for granted and people in GC may not appreciate. Oh, how I would love having to slow down for crabs to cross to get to the sea.

    • man says:

      you're making me late for work !!!

    • Anonymous says:

      And in the real world, I just want to get to work and get home.  Crabs are not going to slow me down.

      • Fuzzy says:

        12:01.You say " Crabs are not going to slow me down.".Crabs might not slow you down but flat tires will.

  12. N.S. says:

    I use to remember the time when we had so many crabs crossing the road. What a sight. They looked like red leaves of Autumn on the road. You could walk through them like you would a rock garden and they would simply move out of your way. They are very peaceful creatures. And their wasn't much cars back then to needlessly run them over. I guess also people's heads wasn't so much in the clouds.

    • Anonymous says:

      Our roads are become a serious danger with the Potholes, Iguanas, Chickens, Tourists and now Crabs to avoid.

      I think we need to look into pedestrianising the whole of Grand Cayman.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Plenty of them that crawled out of the bucket are crossing the road everyday. 10 points for very one you splat.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Driving slowly?  Same number of dead crabs.  Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is really a shame that some of you that post the "crunch, crunch, crunch" posts can't take my drive to work just once to see if maybe then you would appreciate the crabs crossing the street. 

      I stop at the intersection where the garbage is blowing in the wind and bottles and trash lay everywhere you look. I drive through the projects where all you see are brick buildings, smell the stench in the gutters, and the burned out buildings that have yet to be knocked down. The noise of honking horns, blinking signs on building. Traffic everywhere- going nowhere. Cars without tires up on blocks or missing doors. Will I even have a car when I come out of work? Always a question in the back of my mind.

      Crabs crossing the street headed to the sea……peace.

      • Anon says:

        Thank you for that post. Hopefully some of our people will read it and realize what a wonderful place we live in. 

  15. Anonymous says:

    Is it April 1st? This government is such a waste of our money. We have a festering, rotting dump that is destroying our infrastructure and they feed us this crap about land crabs. LAND CRABS! For heaven's sake!

    And while I am at it, don't you maniacs dare release another batch of those damned genetically modified mosquitoes from that Oxitec bunch WITHOUTconsulting the people first, and no, East End is not a big petri dish.

    • Pit Bull says:

      Cayman should be proud of its contribution to British science with the testing.

    • Gut Check says:

      Agree COMPLETELY about the Oxitec GM mosquitos;  I believe they release them here because we are geographically isolated — thus if it went completely to hell, the hell would be contained.   That does not bode well for us — we were an experiment that (so far) has not gone to hell.

      Completely disagree regarding the land crabs which are migrating.    They are an important part of our ecology.   I think we should all do whatever we can to preserve them.   Yes, they reproduce in large numbers due to the huge attrition of the numbers.    Why should we not attempt to preseve their numbers?    They matter.    Slow the * down.   Please.