Man Grabs Crab Before Realizing What It Really Is

Crazy Discovery

“Don’t move, dude”, his friend choked as he slowly backed away from Mark and the creature.

Confused by his reaction, Mark slowly put his phone down and turned around. From the corner of his eye, he saw another claw swing towards him. It was huge and lined with sharp spikes. His heart pounded at the sight of them. What on earth were they?

 Mark Pierrot

It was another beautiful morning for 32-year-old, Mark Pierrot, as he got ready to go on a hike with his friend, David. They planned to find a secret hot spring hidden within the Christmas Island National Park. 

For as long as Mark could remember, he loved to explore nature. However, he had no idea that one day his passion would lead him to this shocking discovery.

Christmas Island

Despite its winter-themed name, Christmas Island is actually a small tropical island in the Indian Ocean, between Indonesia and Australia.

Mark moved to the island three years ago, adding one more person to its population of about 1,400 people. He didn’t initially intend to stay for long, but he fell in love with the place. Little did he know, the incredible secret it was hiding. 

Setting Out

Mark woke up early to another beautiful sunny day on Christmas Island. He got dressed and poured coffee, already looking forward to the fun Saturday he had planned with David.

He quickly ate breakfast and left with his bag packed and his face beaming. He was completely unaware that his day wouldn’t turn out quite like he had planned it in his head.

The Adventure Begins

As soon as Mark met David, they headed out on their adventure to find the hot spring that the locals told them about. 

It was the island’s best kept secret and only the people who stayed on the island long enough were told about its location. Mark saw it as a rite of passage but there was nothing right about what he’d soon encounter.

Blocked Path

It was about an hour into their walk along the coastline. 

The winding path was flanked with lush, vibrant vegetation and towering, mossy trees. Then, just ahead, Mark saw a large rock blocking their way. It stuck out like a sore thumb for several reasons.

Weird Placement

The placement was weird. Who would set the walkway planks all the way to the large obstacle instead of going around it? Or why not remove the boulder entirely? 

Also, the wood slats seemed to fit around it perfectly. Maybe it was a special feature or rare mineral? One thing for certain was, it was quite lovely. The bright blues and earthy browns set off a lightbulb in his head - something he probably shouldn't do. But the idea was too good to pass up.

Something Shiny 

Even a tiny part of the stone would make a beautiful necklace charm.

There was one spikey piece that looked like it would be easy to snap off, shove in his pocket, and be on their way. Mark reached down, his fingers barely grazing the surface. Something moved.

Seeing Things

He gave the surface a light tap.

All of a sudden, the entirely thing shifted, somehow got bigger and scurried into the brush! Mark let out an echoing yelp and jumped back, tumbling off the pathway and into the dirt. That was no boulder!

Looking Crazy

His friend whipped around. "What's wrong?!" Mark pointed to a clump of thick vegetation. "It moved! The rock-thing moved!"

David looked between the greenery and his friend like Mark had just sprouted five heads and started quoting Shakespeare. The shock fizzled away and was replaced with an overwhelming sense of curiosity.  He had to find out what it was.


Mark crept to the spot where the thing had escaped, pulling the low hanging branches out of the way.

There, in the shadows, was something that could have crept into anyone's nightmares. Long legs with jagged spikes poked out of a hard, bug-like body. Mark froze again, praying it didn't latch onto his face and lay eggs in his stomach. It moved again.

There's More!

A huge claw appeared.

The movements were jarring and erratic - like a scared robot backed into a corner. His reaction wasn't the most intelligent - more like a curious child finding something new. He grabbed a stick and tried to poke it. The claw opened.

Let's Poke It

It latched on to the wood and snapped it clean in half. Mark scuttled backwards, not wanting the same thing to happen to his hand. 

David jumped to the other side of the path, his eyes as wide as Mark's. The foolish poking, however, gave them a good look at the creature. "It can't be," he said, recalling an old memory and reaching for his phone. He had look this up online to be sure.

In Shock

It’s big, boulder-like shell swayed under the green canopy of leaves.  

It looked like a crab, spider, and alien had a baby. Mark had seen large crustaceans before, but they had only been about the size of something you would find at speciality Japanese seafood market or at Red Lobster. It couldn't be a crab. It had to be something entirely different?


Its shell was a mesmerizing display of colors. After getting a better look, he saw hues of orange, red, blue and black. Its huge legs grew out from its body in an impressive show of evolution and strength. 

Mark crept closer until he was right next to the creature and could get it framed in the camera lens. "It looks like something out of the dinosaur age or something," David commented, still keeping his distance. There were creatures on earth who were older than humans could dream or whose species had survived longer than imaginable. Was this one of them?

Making The Connection

Prehistoric crabs dated back to 95 million years ago. Mark remembered reading about their extinction when he was younger. 

But, more importantly, he remembered their strange features. He took note of its huge size, bent claws, big eyes that had no sockets, and leg-like mouth. His heart started to pound. 

Prehistoric Crab

Another bit of trivia pulled at his brain. In 2019, scientists in America, discovered a fossil of this prehistoric crab. Its species is called Callichimaera perplexa, which translates to "perplexing beautiful chimera." This is due to its vibrant colours and unique appearance. 

Was he really witnessing the reappearance of a lost species? There was only one way to find out. He took a deep breath, reached out and grabbed it by the back of the body.

Staring In Shock

I didn't squirm as much has he had expected, but it really didn't like to be picked up.

Mark called for his friend to take a photo of him and his new "buddy." His friend called him insane, but still snapped a picture. There were only two places it made sense to send the photo. One to his social media and the other to an expert. He scrambled with the email attachment and hit "send" like his life depended on it.

Picking It Up

Sure he had found a long lost species, if not the ancient Callichimaera perplexa, he quickly called the National Park center. 

The online interest immediately exploded. But what viewers halfway around the world had no idea about, was that there was something else hidden nearby - something that would soon show itself and make the two men want to run for their lives.

An Anomaly

The photo landed with crab expert Max Orchard spent over 22 years on Christmas Island National Park working with world-leading researchers.

You see, Christmas Island was something of an anomaly when it came to the numerous different species of crab that lived there. For Orchard, discovering a new species on Christmas Island wasn't too far fetched. So the email immediately got him excited. 

De-extinction Or Endangered

Because of his profession, Orchard knew that de-extinction was possible. Also known as species revivalism, this is the process where scientists can generate an organism that either resembles or is the exact extinct species. 

If this wasn't a case of de-extinction, Mark could have found a rare and endangered species. Although it's easy to think humans have discovered every creature on earth, that's simply, and sometimes surprisingly, not that case. 

Another One!

Meanwhile, Mark and David were about to get the scare of their lives.

“Don’t move, dude”, David choked. Confused by his reaction, Mark looked around and quickly spotted the source of his friend's fear. They weren't alone. Another one scurried out of the bushes. A meter-long claw swung at them.

A Fright

Mark yelled and dropped his phone. 

The two men raced onto a massive stone to get away from the swaying, clicking creatures - hoping the boulder they escaped to wasn't also another massive animal in disguise. There they sat for hours, waiting for  Max Orchard to arrive. 

Coconut Crabs

When Max Orchard came to the scene, Mark pointed him to the creatures that lay close them.

With a smile and loud laugh, Max Orchard told Mark that he knew exactly what they were. They were Coconut crabs, a species of crab that have lived on Christmas Island for decades. But Mark had picked one up. Was he in danger? 

Looking For Something

“The biggest one I’ve seen is about 4.5kg  and about one-metre across,” Orchard said, “No one really knows for sure how old they are. The 2-3 kg crabs are about 50 years old”. 

He told Mark that they are a gigantic cousin to the water-based hermit crab that we all know and love. Then, he asked Mark to show him his hands. 

A Warning

Although many people wouldn’t have dared to pick up one of these giant crabs, they are actually friendly giants. Orchard made sure that Mark didn’t have any cuts, otherwise a tetanus shot may be required - as with all cuts you may get from wildlife.

Although Mark’s hands were fine, Orchard did warn him of something else.


Orchard told him that they have a tendency to steal. He pointed to his phone that was now firmly within the claws of one of the crabs.

Gently, Orchard grabbed the phone from the unassuming thief and explained their odd behavior to steal and crush whatever unfortunate locals and tourists may have left behind. 

Sneaky Theives

They were basically like raccoons or mischievous monkeys, at least in the way they nab things.

Another term would be "incorrigible kleptomaniacs." They have been known to steal cutlery, pots and pans, bottles of alcohol, shoes, camp stoves, machetes, wristwatches, and countless other objects. The reason is actually pretty simple.

Nom Nom Nom

It's a survival instinct. They don't want to wait around and eat in places the predators could be lurking, so they do something interesting ... and annoying. 

The grab anything they can get their claws on, drag it back to their home, and then test if they can eat it! If they can't, they cast it aside. And, if you think a house on Christmas Island is safe from these guys, you're wrong!


These naughty crabs will go as far as to snap open garbage bins or even break into homes if they smell something good.

Mark and David didn't know it at the time, but their escape to the large rock wasn't really going to save them if the crabs had been aggressive in any way ... or at least very curious. Why? Even if the creatures are fairly gentle, they have an unsettling ability.

Look Up

Their many powerful legs allow them to jump and climb trees!

The reason they get their name "coconut" crab is because they can climb palm trees upwards of 6 meters high, so they can get their hands on the tasty treats above. Imagine walking through the forest and seeing one of these right above your head! But that's not all.

A Notorious History

Over the years, Max Orchard had responded to numerous reports of theft in the park. “When I first went to Christmas Island in the early ’90s, the army came over to do some training on the island. They had just been issued with new Steyr rifles with these plastic butts”, Orchard explained.

“I got a call from the commanding officer who said someone had been out there and stolen one of their rifles”. The culprit?

A.K.A The Robber Crab

You guessed it - the coconut crab (aka the robber crab)! They found the missing Steyr rifle sometime later. The crabs dragged it off and crushed it.

This peculiar behavior becomes especially funny once you learn their age. 


Coconut crabs are not only the largest land-based crabs on earth but they are also the longest living! They can easily live up to 120 years old so it is very likely that the crab Mark picked up was older than he was!

Although they’re not dangerous, their claws can still cause harm. But Mark was lucky...

Right Of Passage

Mark left the encounter completely unscathed. He also wondered why the locals didn’t tell him to watch out for them. When he asked, they said that they wanted him to find out more about the island himself.

It wasn’t long before Mark’s post of his exciting find gained even more attention online.

Online Stir

Mark’s picture of the mysterious and unique beast caused quite a stir. If you didn’t live on Christmas Island or have an interest in crabs, you would have never guessed what Mark was holding. 

Many believed, just as Mark did, that he had found a completely new species. Although, Mark didn't find a rare creature, perhaps this next man did...

Collective Surprise 

When he saw the look on the vet’s face, he knew he wasn’t overreacting. The shock was evident on the faces all around him. 

People whipped out their phones and snapped as much proof as possible. There was no way others would believe this unless they saw it with their own eyes.

Clean Freak

Nathen ran a tight ship, at least when it came to cleanliness. There was nothing worse than seeing garbage pile up around the neighbor's yards. 

However, when the sanitation workers went on strike, and the stinky bags started to multiply, he felt like he would have a heart attack. But his problems were just beginning.

Trash Strike

The rotting food stench was mostly held back by the hefty layer of plastic, but some still oozed out and filled the garage with a pungent stench. 

No amount of air sprays or scented candles could make the smell go away. It was a week into the strike when he began to notice something furry - and moving.

Imagining The Worst

Immediately, he imagined the worst-case scenario. What if the trash was hiding a family of raccoons that were waiting patiently to jump out at him and make his life hell, or even worse, rats. 

A number of rodent-infested scenarios came to mind as he avoided confronting his trash for as long as he could. But things always have a way of coming to the surface...


Nathan knew no kind of mold growth could bloom and take on sentient life. But considering the evidence before him, it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine that something very unusual was buried inside his trash. 

Given the lack of noise, Nathan speculated that the dirty fur that peeped through the trash pointed to the nightmare of a rat infestation. However, he wasn't even close to identifying the real culprit. 

Problems Everywhere

Nathan asked his neighbors if any of them were struggling with rodents, and as it turns out, he wasn’t the only one suffering. Even the cleanest neighbors had noticed the increase in vermin. 

The best solution, at least for him, was to pepper the area with mouse traps. He was hoping that would be enough to lure them out for good, but that’s where he ran into a problem.

Setting Traps

He took out an old cardboard box where he stored his mouse traps. All he had to do was grab them but it was a box full of random junk.

Taking out an old doll his niece was to love, he wondered why he kept hold of all these useless things. Finally, he found a bunch of traps and started to get to work. Completely unaware that this would be a wasted effort. 

Out Of Control

Nathan wanted this mysterious creature, he hoped was just a rat to come out on its own accord. He really didn't want to wrestle with the trash.

So, he set up an intricate network of traps and laced them with cheese and any other tempting food he could find. He was barely in bed that night when he heard the first snap. He dreaded what the morning would bring.

Anxious Breakfast

That morning, he hoped he'd wake up to a garage restored once again to its former glory. Sure, the trash would still be there but the unsettling living thing in there would be gone.

He poured himself some coffee and tried to eat breakfast but the anticipation of what was to come made his stomach queasy. Soon, the mystery behind the trash was to be revealed. 

What's Going On?

Nathen gripped his old baseball bat and opened the door. But what he saw scattered around the concrete was confusing. 

Plenty of traps had been set off, but no rats were insight. In the middle of the large pile of sweating bags, he heard a strange sound. But this time, it certainly wasn’t the squeak you would expect from your everyday vermin. 

Strange Sounds

It was a muffled, gurgling growl. Nathen hoped the sentient trash hadn’t fused with a rat to make some new monstrosity.

He pulled each bag away as slowly as he could, otherwise, the disturbing growls would start up again. When the last blockage fell away, he jumped back and braced himself for an attack.

In Plain View

The pile of fur was now left exposed in his garage. Nathan's eyes squinted as he realized it wasn't a rat. This thing was way too big. For a second he wondered if it was actually just trash. But then it moved. 

Nathan could just about make out that it had a snout. It was definitely some kind of animal but he had no idea what. He had never seen anything like this before.

Dirt And Fur

Now, the grey and black matted fur twisted and twitched as it tried to get away. 

Every part of Nathen’s neat-freak personality screamed to run away. There was no way he would pick up whatever that was. It was disgusting! But then the sounds changed to something he recognized. 

What was it?

The confused ball of dirty fur attempted to run circles around Nathan but it was no use. Its big and heavy fur covered its entire body.

Nathan plugged his nose at the stench before realizing that he had to catch the thing. Without further thought, he reached down his hands and quickly snatched a handful of fur in his hand. What was it? 

Drive To Vet

Nathan lay out a bunch of towels in his backseat, rolled down his windows, and made his way to the vet. Whatever this creature was, it needed to get checked out.

As he drove, he wondered how long it had been living in his trash. Certainly, since the strike, he thought. He couldn't wait to see the vet shave off all its fur to reveal its real form!

Professional Help

It wasn't long before they reached the vet. And now, the long, high-pitched meows became stronger. It was the sound that instantly changed the scene. 

Instead of calling pest control, he quickly dialed the closest veterinarian. It was perhaps out of his own curiosity, but he wanted to see what they were going to do with it. Was it a wild animal? 

Street Animal

The vet team gaped and snapped photos of the growling cat. The enamours mass of fur was mostly comprised of common fur matts. 

Nathan’s face went slack as they clipped away over seven pounds of fur and revealed what the cat actually looked like. It's appearance left nathan stunned.

True Self

It was clearly a street cat, and a beautiful one at that. The easy food and warm surroundings in Nathen’s garage must have attracted it. 

But when the last layers of fur fell away, he couldn’t believe his eyes. The feline was pure white! The transformation took another step after a thorough bath. 

Friendly Cat

The vet had never seen anything like this. The story was truly hard to believe. What was also perplexing was the cat's relaxing demeanor. It's like it knew it was getting help.

Usually, stray cats are aggressive and wild but this cat seemed to have a liking for humans. Nathan asked the vet to check it for a microchip. Perhaps if it actually had an owner, he could reunite them.

The Search

However, when the vet checked the cat for a microchip, there wasn't any. The vet speculated that perhaps this cat used to live in a home but had long since been abandoned. 

Nathan refused to give up just yet. He put up a post in his local area and asked if anyone had been missing a cat. But no one responded. The search for the potential owners of this stray was coming to an end. That's when Nathan began to think of something else...

Grumpy Face

The cat had a resting grumpy face that made it look perpetually angry, but the moment Nathen reached out to it, the cat jumped in for every scrap of attention. 

It seemed the little thing wasn’t only starving for food but also, love. A sudden, shocking idea popped into Nathen’s head, something he would have never thought possible.

Helping Hand

Pets meant stray fur and weird smells. It went against every fiber of Nathan's neat freak soul. But with each passing day, he was finding this cat harder and harder to resist.

There he stood, cuddling the now-white cat and wondering if he should just take it home himself and give it a better life. It had gone through life so dirty, maybe he could help in his own weird way.

Good To Go

Nathan spoke to the vet about his idea of adopting the cat and asked if there's anything he needed to worry about. This cat had just come from the streets after all.

The vet checked if the cat was neutered and gave him some flea medication and said he should be good to go. He also gave him a leaflet called, "My First Cat: An Essential Guide". 

Driving Home

The vet held onto the cat for another couple of days and then he was good to go. Nathan got a crate and the vet packed in the adorable cat with a sweet goodbye.

Before he knew it, Nathan was driving home with “Sinbad” nestled in his new, shiny crate. He couldn't quite believe the way this little cutie arrived into his life. 

Better Together

Yes, things wouldn’t be pristine at home anymore, but since he was getting something special in return, it was totally worth with. Sinbad would never know that dirty life again.

They quickly became the dream team. Nathan had no idea how lonely he actually felt before Sinbad came into his life. And as it turned out, he wasn't actually that dirty after all!